Neither Inside, Nor Outside

 In a country where oblivion is who gathers the remains of the city, where the blanks of collective memory decide about the changes in power and the markets, the work of LIHIE TALMOR functions as a film of the subversive unconscious.

Her works fix and retain, in a sort of miniature map of the semiotic memory of the group, the tiny settings of conscience, the meticulous task of separating and uniting, holding back and liberating. There, where the individual is alert, attentive to what he sees and to what happens, in that space of tension where the accent of conscience is formed, LIHIE builds small texts which work as nodules, hinges, transit structures representing nothing but the very gesture making them, the accumulation that makes words and actions probable.

The work of LIHIE TALMOR is not a window refracting reality as its reference, nor a simulacrum writing substituting reality under the illusion of a collection of topics. In her works, "the city", "the body" and "the memory" are inclusive; the constructive shapes of the pieces permeate from inside and cannot be described from outside, as if "the city", for example, was the containing horizon of the traces. We are not before lines, denoting volumes describing a course that can be outlined; here, the place where matter is curved and the material is hollowed works as "the double figural" of an atavistic operation, secretly linked to collective gestures, to ways of delivering, of placing, of organizing. However, more than in the sedimentary levels of memories, which undoubtedly permeate the decisions on technique and image fixation, the work of LIHIE is organized somewhere else.

Against the idea of a work that stems from an "intimate inside" I would like to propose a different reading, in which LIHIE's works appear as if  "delivering externals". The act of disposing of an "inwardness" is here distributed. The ego is dispersed and one cannot find an "intimate" background referring to the being, to its existential dilemmas, to its private obsessions. Even though the works are charged with strong introspection, it is also true that they disintegrate the pulsional contents of the self and crystallize in "useless" structures personal and alien, original and gregarious, unique and promiscuous.

We are before a unique figure within the visual universe in Venezuela, somehow because, as opposed to other artists, where craft is believed  to be something by itself, LIHIE's work makes good use of the biographic and psychographic contents of techniques and of image fixation.

LIHIE knows that in art there is not such thing as neutral spaces, she works on an over-codification of art history. In Venezuela one sometimes feel that the artists have not done with modernism and are trapped in the instinctive spontaneism of late modernism. LIHIE's works, on the contrary, evidence an awareness of intertextuality and offer a diagonal, more impure reading of the cultural field where they are created.

We intuit that the work of this artist is setting the bases for a rich discussion about the relationships between "power" and "forgetfulness", in an autocratic cultural context permeated only by certain groups and the way they delay the emergence of a Venezuelan contemporary art more attuned to the present situation of the country, as well as capable of offering new options to the rich intercultural dialogue that is presently leading the concert of Latin American plastic arts. In this sense, as well as being original and strong, the work of LIHIE evokes the most active and committed side of art made in our country today.

 

 Abdel Hernández
Presentation text for the catalog of the exhibition
"The Creativity of Evil"
Sofía Imber Museum of Contemporary Art of Caracas
May-August, 1996