HACHE, Buenos Aires, Argentina / September 11 to December 31, 2021
Gestures, Captions*, Architecture
Two deep-red spaces separated by a wall open up to the imaginary of the house and the fire. Shelter and heat are both tied to the familiar, to what is known, as protection. A minor twist, however, can quickly turn them into just the opposite.
Everything doubles and resonates in the other. Paintings and texts—images and objects apparently hanging on the wall—seem to encode the coordinates of a story. The sculptural structures and bodies of the performance as supports of a larger staging also seem to suggest the lines of a plot. While the paintings are reminiscent of backdrops held up from behind, the texts with actions suggest the script of a play. The structures and bodies—avatars of the house that is also their avatar—seem a little like phantasmatic figures on (or off) stage. None of this comes together to compose a linear or certain drama. The resonances crescendo precisely because those structures and bodies come before one another as fragmentary indexes of a slippery and secret story.
At the same time, everything moves away from its other. The geometric shapes that in the paintings seem to represent the shadows of bars do not line up with the whimsical grid of the structures that divide each space in two. Nor do the actions of the performance line up completely with the actions that can be read in the texts as captions**. That misalignment forms part not of a disconnection but rather of a way of envisioning time. That which we are seeing here and now is simply a snippet of a longer—or perhaps more fleeting—passage of the life of the scene.
This installation, like Leila’s earlier works, is an impure territory; paintings, sculptures, objects, and performances do not enter into it immaculate but rather already transformed into something else. Theater is brought in to these works more directly than in her other works. The installation has certain theatrical and architectonic qualities part and parcel of a proscenium. While these texts are infected with Joan Brossa’s Teatro Irregular, inhabiting the dream-like and odd universe that that Catalan artist also drew on, Leila generates an atmosphere and voice entirely her own. The stage action also recalls earlier works, but this time—perhaps because this piece involves a duo or perhaps because the texts themselves are present—the artist is more pressed to get out of herself to come into contact with that which inhabits that other space beyond the script.
Explore the space, inhabit the images, hear the sound of words while reading to oneself, letting the choreographies and gestures—one’s own and other’s—set the pace of the experience of multiple times. A theater, a house, a fire.
María Fernanda Pinta
Buenos Aires, July 2021
*Translator’s note: The Spanish word leyendas in the original has two meanings: a narrative form easily to translated as legend, and a very short explanatory text like a caption.
**See note above.