“I woke one day to see you, mother,
floating above me in bluest air
on a green balloon bright with a million
glowers and bluebirds that never were
never, never, found anywhere.
nut the little planet bobbed away
like a soap-bubbles as you called: come here!
snd i faced my travelling companions.”
( Sylvia Plath, “The Disquieting Muses)
One of the recent exhibitions Lourdes Fisa presented in Barcelona was titled Fragilitats/Fragilities. Now she is offering us her latest paintings under the title Fortaleses/Strengths and she dedicates the show to the Mother and the Earth, e.g. to the origins. It is an exhibition where the artist recognizes the maternal language, the feminine voice, all in all to pay homage to women and artists.
The names of her exhibitions have a revealing character. They are like the first verses of a long poem of colours and textures, a journey travelled as a woman and as a painter who lives this world in constant process of transformation with intensity: La ruta de la seda/ The Silk Route, En Chemin /On the way, Camins de Descoberta /Paths to be discovered, Exodo/Exodus, Travesía /Cross-street, Laberints /Laberynths, Recorreguts Journeys, El Rastro Invisible/The invisible track…
The titles of her public presentations, in the moment when the work abandons its shelter in the studio, are words which evoke the journey in the time, the inner search, the process of the journey, the emotional drift and all that is related to the desire and the challenge of a personal adventure with a feminine voice. The poetess Sylvia Plath, one of whose poems is the heading of this text and of which I am borrowing the title, also speaks in her verses “journeys” with words that draw images from the syntax of sensations, weaving her own symbolic image-world with the eyes: I close my eyes and the world dies…
Lourdes Fisa has an intense look and her hands are worn out. That was the first impression I got of her when we met in her studio in Manresa, talking about her work and her travels. When I saw the pile of paintings and papers with drawings while I was listening to her expounding the creative process of her work, I finally understood how the look and the elaboration are fundamental in her production as a painter, draughtswoman and printmaker. She works with her hands and her eyes just like an energetic palpitation of the heart which does not fail. This evocation of the artist’s personality makes me think of another artist, Louise Bourgeoise and her sculptures with dismembered eyes and hands, made out of a process of curing the spirit: precisely where the fragility is seen as fortitude. I don’t see an aesthetic bond between the two artists, but yes, there is a shared fortitude, an autobiography of kindred spirits.
I am pleased to verify that the plastic expressiveness of their works is neither made of solemnity nor of grandiloquence or ecstasy: it is woven of layers of colour, threaded by the trace, hurt by the erosion of the surfaces, provided with fragments and moulds. The artist knows that her work is not purely a chromatic object or a surface with drawings, but an attentive comprehension of life, a going and coming about the individual experience and completely determined by the genre. A not abolished language, that of the woman artist, who administrates her power in an autonomous way. Lourdes’ works, the technical skill they show and the visual impact we perceive, search for an alternative significance which recreates a more transcendent vision of the artistic experience.
The materials and the images of this precious collection of works she now presents us do not serve to explain stories nor fantasies either: they are the trace of an action and the sediment of a memory, they are the conscience of reality.
To Dana Mixed technique on fiberglass 60×150 cm
I think that Lourdes Fisa’s paintings are real performances in the intimacy, in the solitude of her studio. Their power lies precisely in what we, as observers, do not see, but it definitely is the most passionate moment of the work, the most corporal and profound. When she explains the process and the difficulties to work with glass-fibre or doing the printing, it is an intuition which backs up her words. The same happens when she points out the necessary energy in order to materialize the emotions, the time and the effort in doing the installations, the nearly physical pain of the creation. The observer, when perceiving the transparency of the resin-layer or the linen canvas in the perfect definition of its perimeter, senses this power of execution, the physical eagerness of the journey the artist undertakes with every single work, with every creative resolution.
At the same time, the creative act, the process of her painting is a wide field which is nearly impossible to be contained in one work, and only in the ritual of the public exhibition, within the space of the gallery, it adopts a more serene form. On the other hand, the studio is a battlefield where the residuals of confrontation, the muddled up folds of the materials, the tools and the books accumulate. It is like an inner landscape, where the working-place unleashes the always moving force of subjectivity of the daily creativity.
The movement of the body Mixed technique on fiberglass 174×79 cm
The works we see, being the most recent ones, have to be considered as a collage of materials and reminiscences. I understand the layer of colour and the printed elements, like the texts which complete her pictorial work, as a sediment of the memory. And on this occasion, the memory tells us about a landscape and a body, but it also honours the figure of other women artists like Frida Kahlo, of women dedicated to science like Marie Curie, and of all those protagonists of a history of silences and oblivions, a history of strong women whom we now want to recuperate by means of the trace of the images.
Throughout her evolution as an artist, Lourdes Fisa has accomplished an own graphic architecture, a personal iconography and a singular methodology. Her paintings are a universe full of symbolic registers: The colour, the agility of the gesture of her brush, the painted words, the paper-cuttings or the transparency of the material, they are all recourses to be read in depth and with complicity. Searching for an aesthetic perfection, these works cannot be considered just practical pictorial exercises when a certain spirit behind it is missing. The experience of the existential journey is never perfect, and for the artist the consciousness of perfection is not indispensable. The representation of the moments of restlessness does not pursue the perfect resolution and encounters in the observer a good ally to maintain the dialog.
The beauty of Lourdes Fisa’s paintings is not constructed by perfection, a quality which she does not want to represent precisely because it’s immaterial. On the contrary, it is the material world of her work as well as the action of painting what fascinates us. That what we are seeing is a visual choreography in different temporal sequences, picture by picture, but with one and the same spirit: everything is conscience of the reality.
“And this is the kingdom you bore me to,
mother, mother. But no grown of mine
will betray the company i keep”
Sylvia Plath, The disquieting Muses
Text from the catalog Fortaleses. Galery Trama 2010