Critical texts by author
by John Grande
Matilde Marin’s works addresses landscape forms, as imagery, altered and manipulated by human activity and this could be in Venezuela, Switzerland or the USA, all places where Marin has lived and worked as an artist.
At present she lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While landscapes are eternally changing, for Marin it is the intensity and radical speed of that change, and the largely unobserved nature of that change that becomes a point of departure for her recent artistic practise. Marin positions herself in relation to the landscape as a silent witness. She is someone whose photo and video-works capture distances, a seemingly eternal silence amid the space(s) of the environments she reconfigures into an art. The art can express this sense of self and other amid a seeming emptiness of self and other either as a series of sequential photo-works, or as singular documents, and then there are the videos for which she has achieved recognition internationally.
As art, these photo-works are an experiential reification of what Marin refers to as “the poetics of the real”. Indeed it is the physical in microcosm, or macrocosm that brings out a universal energy that s manifest throughout our world, and in nature, in ourselves that we sense in looking at these vision fragments of what is an ongoing and experiential continuity we refer to consciously as landscape.
The nuances in the photo-works parallel the subtleties that exist in these real life environments and that we participate in as living elements.
As Marin says:
“My latest piece of work is about a journey along Rivadavia River in the south of Argentina, as this river is preserved my work is a record of what should go on existing. I believe that this is the right time to become aware of our environment and the ways to avoid its destruction.
I call it the time of sensitiveness but sometimes I agree with the philosopher Guatari, I feel this possibility is very difficult to attain.”
While these works could be compared to various North American photographers such as Ed Burtynsky, Mark Ruwedel, or David Maisel for the austerity of the spaces they document, Marin;s has a distinctively South American accent, for these works shift ever so slightly from becoming pure raw document, towards a poetics of space, and this is captivating. It also links the image to a gestural vocabulary that is intimate, endearing, and internalized, even though the evidence is external, extemporal.
Very visual, Marin’s art uses the distance that we have from a subject to engender a feeling for what indeed a landscape is or potentially can be conceived of as. These works are indeed about nature, but nature here becomes a fulcrum, an all consuming presence, as it was for Ansel Adams, for instance. The artist is an itinerant witness to it all, infusing what is not ordinarily recorded, or encapsulated, into photo and video form.
Itineraries, produced by Marin in several areas of South America, involves largely uninhabited zones that are transversal, and unaccommodating, ultimately intense in their beauty. These are not landscapes we seek out, but landscapes that encourage contemplation. Who is witness to what? And when and where are these places? Are they ultimately the product of a consciousness, of an historical phrasing that itself is endlessly rephrased. As we sense an archaic, seemingly eternity in these work, we come to question what evidence truly is, or potentially can be. Environments thus become paces that surpass, even transcend our human presence.