Chapter IX: She was not afraid

Client:Curated by Alma de Casa

Curatorial Text

It’s what the animals in Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” (1894) admired in Man, and asked the young Mowgli about: the red flower; how to control fire. Fire is the admiration of all beasts, primitive admiration. Prior to reasoning and understanding emotions, cavemen already knew how to make fire.

Andrea Ybarra opens this exquisite corpse with a kind of ultrasound triptych that evokes an imminent birth, the aquatic environment of gestation. Paula Kass takes that “small flame” and shows it as a visual capture of an even smaller flame, a wick, we don’t know if it begins to burn the moment the scene starts or if it is just our perception. That little wick is extrapolated by Laila Torres Mendieta to the ungraspable magnitude of Planet Earth (or another that seems like it), a celestial body that amalgamates eternally present invisible inner fire. We find that burning in the looks of Malena Chueco’s portraits: an image consumed by the same fire that radiates out.

Tony Martínez, with crepitating music that gradually intensifies, takes us out of that interior that burns into a ritual, to the exterior, a process that begins with a textile that becomes skin, a surface that plays with the translucent and the reflective, with the flammable, as fire does when hypnotised, we contemplate throughout it. Sol López Riestra continues this ritual and turns it into a blue that cools it. Perhaps it is those mysterious characters that surround the campfire who try, through reason, to interpret an uncontrollable force?

In a fragment of the book Myths, Elisa Ramírez Castañeda writes that fire existed, but it had an owner. It was jealously guarded by an old man, an old woman, the devils; although it is almost never clear how they obtained it.

Iván Buenader

The Final Stills