Vessels 24

Vase, Chorus series. Unique edition


18 x 17 x 14 cm

Maria Walker’s VESSELS works with the expansive notion of deformation by electricity – electroforming baths – copper molecules attach themselves to the sculpture, explode and deform. The structure dissipates, and only traces of the original form remain: vessels filled with the containment of deformed faces.

The oeuvre proposes the dissatisfaction of not reconstructing a single truth, of a single face – the Barthian notion of face. We are before a face expanded in its quantity, multiplied and deformed – already remembered.

The artist decides to interpret the notion of oblivion in her country’s most exported material: copper, as if what is essential is not the material but its ability to deform. Why choose to deform something when the image is already assembled? It is a double deformation, melting a national identity and a choir of faces – undefined in their gender. Questions that arise from these vessels: How do you put materials together in order to forget? How do you export and bring the pain back to copper? This is a work of art about pain, which solidifies pain going back to a face that is returning to pain.

The cumulative factor suggests that repetition is the only form of oblivion. The performative quality of the artwork lies here: in the extreme and constant action of reassembling and deforming repeatedly. The artist undermines the thesis that there is danger in the present. This series of works is dangerous for the melancholy that lies beneath the following question: What can a face do to a face just by being remembered? The gesture we see in the devices is a choral rictus. It reminds us of Bacon’s faces through its sonic traits. In these vessels, the eyes and mouth possess the same features. It is as if cries of pain didn’t only originate from the mouth, but can also be shouted using all facial muscles, providing sonorous materiality to the vessels, like an archive of screams.

text: Nicolás Lange / dramaturge – writer – art curated

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