'The Mirror' (Exercises to be another)
Continuing the artist’s exploration of man’s anxiety to belong, Bernardi Roig’s solo exhibition unfolds for the viewer an unsettling experience with his obsessions.
Bernardi Roig confronts the actions we take based on outside pressures and influences, and those images in our heads which we are unable to explain to others through our known human faculties. The artist’s new works labor under a shadow of two key queries: how does one confront iconic imagery which is still relevant, and how is it possible in a world overflowing with images, to create a new and lasting image, an image that pushes us to the edge of what is possible. Deeply influenced by literature and film, Roig’s work has followed a path swayed by narrative and a theatrical concept of plastic space.
The narrative starting point of the exhibition is a sculpture consisting of two white figures facing one another, separated by a strong fluorescent light which is hanging from the ceiling. One is the distorted reflection of the other, like the image a mirror returns to us not of our true self but of a “likeness” which is a false construct. Roig calls into question our interpretation of a “portrait.” Neither a mirror nor cinema can capture what is reality; we see only an interpretation of that which is captured in the confines of that medium.
Flanking this sculpture the Artists has created fourteen large charcoal drawings, consisting of seven male portraits, reinterpreting the Portrait of Monsieur Bertin by Ingres, and seven female portraits, reinterpreting the Portrait of Gertrudis G. de Avellaneda by Federico de Madrazo. These fourteen drawings reference our ideas of personal identities, revealing how any representation of identity contains the latent experience of its creator.
The exhibition is brought to a close with a video-sculpture (La invisibilidad de la memoria) where a figure hanging from the wall is crushed by a geometrical structure that brings to mind Sol Lewitt, the logos and Cartesian discourse, and by a video screen playing an endless loop of a film fragment which slowly distorts the image through layers of white tissue, referencing a film’s ending “fade to black.”
A mirror is not an exact reflection of reality, but a distorted conveyance which readily offers back to the viewer an interface with his own preconceived prejudices, strengths, hopes and experiences. In this exhibition Roig encourages confrontation with our personal demons; he is trapping and deforming our image, placing us behind his stage, as if we were waiting for the characters in a play to appear. Our gaze is always hindered, frozen or pierced by artificial light.
Opening Reception on December 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday, from 10 am to 6 pm.