Dirty, 2021
Seven back-projections on parchment paper | Variable dimensions




Dirty
, 2021




Detail from Dirty, 2021




Detail from Dirty, 2021




I am still not sure how long we will stay here and where we will go then
, 2021
Two inkjet prints on cotton paper




Partial view from the show J'avale la vague qui me noie le soleil de midi at Leal Rios Foundation, 2021




Le ciel arachnéen, 2021
Inkjet print on cotton paper




Partial view from the show J'avale la vague qui me noie le soleil de midi at Leal Rios Foundation, 2021




Partial view from the show J'avale la vague qui me noie le soleil de midi at Leal Rios Foundation, 2021




Découvre le ciel dans le bas, 2021
Inkjet print on cotton paper




Daydreams (I), 2021
Inkjet print on cotton paper





Daydreams (II), 2021
Inkjet print on cotton paper





Daydreams (III), 2021
Inkjet paper on cotton paper





Daydreams (IV), 2021
Inkjet print on cotton paper




Les fleurs soient toujours éphémères, 2021
Inkjet print on cotton paper



Almost blue, 2020
HD video, color, sound,  5'26'' (loop) | Variable dimensions


«(...) The exhibition is inspired by George Bataille’s famous book Le bleu du ciel (1935) and by Chet Baker’s interpretation of Elvis Costello’s Almost Blue (1987). Working with negatives found by chance in flea markets to produce a series of works that are presented in a variety of formats — photographs, projections, and video — the artist suggests a phenomenology of the conditions for the apparition of images. And with it, an exemplary manifestation of what Heidegger called, in his famous text, The Origin of the Work of Art, the “ontological struggle” of art; the capacity to detect “an opening of Being” and to help us grasp and deal with our finiteness. The reference is not lost here, and AnaMary Bilbao’s exhibition is heir to a line of thought that was inaugurated by Nietzsche and continued by Walter Benjamin, Bataille, Maurice Blanchot and Georges Didi-Huberman, focusing on the key issues of indeterminacy, the end of the absolute or the aporias of time and representation — which, ultimately, brought with them the overcoming of metaphysics. And who better than Bataille to serve as a guide, he whose writings — like Bilbao’s own works — negotiate the interstices between the sublime and the casual, the spiritual and the disturbing, the eternal and the ephemeral. An inversion of values, as Nietzsche himself would say, that we find, for example, in the empty sky the French author chose to title his book. A sky that is no longer the reflection of the transcendental but an abyss of unrelenting anguish, an inversion that is perfectly recognizable in the quotes projected in the series Dirty (2021) or in the paradoxical title of another series: Découvre le ciel dans le bas (2021). An inversion that can also be found, albeit more prosaically, in the passage from negative to positive and in the apparition of a blue that is no longer — as it is in pictorial tradition — the symbol of the “immense”, the “pure”, and the ideal, but appears “grey”, “blackened”, “arachnid”. A void that generates “vertigo”, as the artist explains; the same ambiguous feeling that Poe referred to as the “Imp of the Perverse”. This “double gesture of erasure and creation” in AnaMary Bilbao’s work  has been mentioned before, and rightly so, but the truth is that this double gesture is a single gesture, a founding gesture. An attempt to overcome the limiting dichotomies of metaphysics. In the same way that light causes or presupposes obscurity, as we see in her first video Lighted by a Searing Light (2018), emptiness is the condition for the emergence of being, for the apparition of those flowers we see in Les fleurs soient toujours éphémères  (2021). There is no absolute, there is no wholeness — as Kurt Gödel has demonstrated so perfectly — there is no single interpretation . This much is obvious in the diversity of the series Daydreams (2021), in which the artist plays with the same hermeneutic freedom of the visual narrative that was so fruitful in the best cinema by JL Godard, Guy Debord or Chris Marker — there is no certainty of a trodden path, as we can see in the work I am still not sure how long we will stay here and where we will go then (2021). Between dream and reality, apparition and memory, fiction and evidence, images open the possible: indeterminate like the liquid, which Bilbao imagines poison, ingested by the indefinite protagonists of Daydreams. It is impossible not to think about the Derridian figure of the pharmakon, poison and salvation at the same time, a perfect example of this différance we recognize at the core of AnaMary Bilbao’s aesthetic and conceptual work. Bilbao proposes an aesthetic ontology that perfectly crystallizes the contradictions inherent to the postmodern era: resurgence and disappearance, representation and dream, narrative and visual overload. (...)» By Aurélien Le Genissel (find the full essay here)


Acknowledgments:
André Cepeda e Sara Coelho, Natxo Checa, Joana Leão, Rui Toscano e Miguel Rios.


Views of the exhibition “J'avale la vague qui me noie le soleil de midi” at Leal Rios Foundation (May 20 to September 19, 2021) | All photos of the exhibition: Bruno Lopes | Courtesy of Leal Rios Foundation
© 2021 AnaMary Bilbao – All Rights Reserved