CLAUDIA CASARINO ‘Illuminating Absence’

Artist: Claudia Casarino

Exhibition title: Illuminating Absence
Curator: Gabriela Salgado
Dates: 25.01.2018 to 27.05.2018
Place: CAAM – Los Balcones 11. Planta 1. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Spain.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 9pm. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Produces: CAAM, Cabildo de Gran Canaria

Free admission

Extending until July 15, 2018

The work of Claudia Casarino is being presented for the first time in the Canary Islands with the exhibition Iluminating Absence, conceived from the interweaving of four fundamental themes in her work belonging to the period between 2000 and 2017. From a theoretical point of view, it is based on the thoughts of the Cameroonian philosopher Achille Mbembe, and in particular, the ideas explored in his work Critique of Black ReasonEssays on contemporary racism (2016).

In this essay, the author defines resistance to the influence of ‘necropolitics’ as the struggle of human bodies to make themselves visible when faced with the absence and silence imposed by power, “because power today works by producing absence: invisibility, silence, oblivion”, says Mbembe.

Walking towards the light

Since the start of her artistic work, Claudia Casarino has talked about a feminist questioning of the oppression imposed by power. This position is linked to the experience of growing up during Alfredo Stroessner’s dictatorship in Paraguay, recognised as the longest dictatorship in Latin America, leading her to express a unique form of visual poetics that sheds light on the traces left by the state of emergency and the recision of civil rights.

It is well-known that in the twentieth century Latin America was afflicted by multiple military dictatorships. Nowadays, a similar oppression is deployed globally, as we can see in expanded militarisation, forced migrations and the impunity of corporate power. This situation leads to a deregulation of the political sphere provoking a state of dispersed dictatorship and an economic neo-liberalism which has a highly destructive effect. Such are the contemporary evils that are clearly defined in the concept of ‘necropolitics’ coined by Achille Mbembe.

It is from here that Claudia Casarino’s work takes on global resonances, redirecting her gaze from Latin America to a global situation and from historical circumstances to our turbulent present.

Since the late 90s, Casarino´s work has delved deeper into the issue of power by proposing another form of emancipation, illuminating the object of the oppression from the other side of the mirror. In this sense, her artistic works become devices that focus on the body that has been made invisible, moulded and violated by the patriarchy, becoming particularly relevant in the context of feminicide – the sinister sacrifice of millions of women.

By using different plastic media, the artist addresses the issue of migrations and exiles offering us images of great delicacy which evoke displaced, mutant and rearranged bodies.

Finally, cotton, a material often present in the work of the artist, is used to trigger resonances that refer to Latin America as the breadbasket of the world since the dawn of the colonial period. It is from this angle, and by way of the pieces constructed with cotton dresses, that the work states the importance of this material as a metaphor for Paraguay and its role as producer of raw materials in the framework of colonization and, later on, capitalism. In turn, the use of dresses and shirts brings echoes of the global migration of garments and gives rise to associations with human migration, a condition that, although it goes back to ancient times, loses none of its dramatic intensity, especially in this 21st century, afflicted by political and environmental disasters without precedent.

Gabriela Salgado




Visit with the artist and curator

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