Vidal Olivia Malena
Fine Art, 2017
Reaction is a series of paintings and collages (120 in total) based on pages from a fashion magazine. These magazine pages, on which my art is so to speak overlaid, were not selected or ‘curated’. Rather, they all come from one and the same volume which I picked randomly and engaged with at a fixed rate of one page per day from the first to the last. This ritualized practice was conceived as a form of exercise or training. I was made to rapidly respond to any kind of visual or textual form and appropriate it, each new page coming as a surprise. I saw myself as a karate fighter confronted with an adversary, who must react to any assault with a more powerful counter-attack of his own. The element I wanted to explore was not the blow in itself, but the counter-attack specifically. In other words, how my artistic personality reacts to the most eye-catching images of the everyday. It always struck me that creation is an anagram of reaction. Therefore reacting, perhaps, may be regarded as a creative form in itself.
My “reactions” to these pages is not an attempt to sublimate them, but rather to disquiet them. These images that, couched in shiny glazed paper and often retouched, epitomize aesthetic perfection. My interventions on them attacks this veneer by touching it, scraping it, and covering it with a thin crust — a crust which is my art. The supermodels receive a new layer of make-up on. Moreover, my approach is concerned with the question of how much time is spent looking at this kind of images. For most people flicking through a fashion magazine, the eyes will often linger less than a second on each page. By transforming these pages into my art, I hope to multiply this attention span by three, ten, even a hundred. The paradox behind this act is that I increase the visual longevity of these page as I obfuscate or altogether remove much of the information they carry.