Cecillia Avendaño Bobillier

An exhibition catalogue from Cecillia Avendaño Bobillier solo exhibition with Reverse, a non-profit multidisciplinary workspace in New York. Including text by Fernando Mendoza Bravo and Sergio Rojas:

Blow is an aesthetic reflection of the dominant imagery, exposing its paradoxes and aporias. Indeed, in the present context characterised by a thickness of mediations that proliferate with the developments and requirements of the technologies and the image markets, the consumer is engaged in developing symbols of sovereignty that sometimes seem to come from an existentialist comic. Identity has been depersonalised in its series of possible performances.
The representation designed to capture the consumer’s fictions causes fascination with the image-subject frozen, facing him to the narcissistic sovereignty of a body that will never be owned or deciphered by an interpretation. In this sense, the “feminine” would be an icon of desire in a period of image marketing, in which the relevant thing is that, for a moment, the image itself is desired. Perhaps, because of this, the portraits of Blow repress the sexuality of these bodies with innocent clavicles, subject to the hygiene of modelling, so the look stops in the kitsch mystery of a story that is still to come.

Julia Kristeva states: “ A women cannot ‘be’, does not even belong to the order of being”. Consequently, the practice of criticism in art consists not in producing new patterns, but saying “that’s not it”. Blow operates as an alteration, a vibration in the dominant imagery, to think critically about the aesthetic resources of identity in a society in which the fear of death and the cult of a standardised beauty merge into a single spiral of insignificance. Consumers do not want to be beautiful, but consume and collect stories monstrously beautiful.

In Blow bodies in the pictures say ”I am an image”, born in the building process of images (combining eyes, mouths, skin, hair), portraits with no other reference than the frozen desire that is satisfied by them. The aesthetics of their personalities reminds us of the comic, or more precisely, of the design of heroines in manga comics or in video games: solitary identities that have solved their stories within the formatted action of a saga. The viewer can accept the game, and attribute to these bodies with no memory a perversion of a story.

In each of these portraits we see the face and body of a girl-women. This is not the image of a teenager, but a women who’s anatomical development has been frozen in order to remain in time. Blow suggests a vanitas in the opposite direction, because it is not about “passing time”, but about the monstrosity of a beauty that has had to give up the desire; it is not the decrepitude of beauty in the proximity of death, but the mask of beauty as death. A social mask of desire that is born in a body, but that is not directed to something else other than the image itself. […]

In these pictures we assist to an aesthetic of hyper-reality whose effect is the distortion of the human. It would seem that the context of this complex relationship between nature and artifice is not simply what is called “the era of the picture” or simulation, but the time of the conscience of the image. the mannequin has always referred us to the insipid beauty and to the feeling of death contained in any desire for eternal youth: the death in the image. It is not the “image of death”, but dying of image. Thus, in these portraits are together the craft of building and the nature as degeneration. The operation is expressed most radically in the fact that the portraits are breathing devices.

Breathing is considered a “vital sign”, and as a sign it has a reference: a living body. The surface of the picture shows the double movement of inhaling and exhaling. But while breathing means living body, living is not to breath. Unless life has no other sense than to be seen. Perhaps, they breathe as someone who sleeps, waiting for a good story. Here is present the zombie aesthetic that we suspected from the beginning, […] as spectators at the gallery facing the stares of those cheeks whose secret is that there is no secret. There, on the surface, frozen on the screen of the picture, the mannequin looks from the “other side, rehearsing a seduction with no flesh.” – The Secret Breathing of Stares, Sergio Rojas

Cecillia Avendaño Bobillier, Blow, exhibition catalogue, Reverse, New York, 2014

Content may only be used for education and research purposes. All rights remain with the original copyright holder; reproduction for commercial use is unauthorised.