Anaïs Abreu D'Argence is inspired by pain
“Making books is like building small worlds,” says visual artist Anaïs Abreu D'Argence (1982), who bound her first book more than 20 years ago. “And a self-portrait is like taking off your mask and shooting yourself. Dying in front of the camera over and over and over again. As many times as necessary".
Now, the poet and editor also works from both concepts and explores the power of the art-object book and intervened photography to present her second individual exhibition, Your bees stung my eyeswhich opened yesterday at the U-topias bookstore in Coyoacán, accompanied by a video performance and a live performance.
“The moment I held my first finished book in my hands (a unique copy that I bound with my hair, instead of thread), I realized that I had great power, that I had acquired a great tool.
“Being a book artisan means honoring words, literature, art, the book object, beauty... and, why not, honoring my father, who was always a book lover,”
comments in an interview with Excelsior.
“Choosing each material, each paper, the typography, the shape... It's like having the privilege of choosing how we want that world to look. I believe that all human beings who dedicate themselves to making books are, whether we know it or not, people with a lot of faith,” he adds.
The founder and director of the artisan label La Dïéresis confesses that the series of 20 intervened digital photographs that she exhibits were made with various techniques, ranging from collage to photoembroidery.
“It arose from my breakup. After 15 years of being together, my ex-husband asks me for a divorce in an email. As soon as I read it I remembered the piece Take care of yourselfby Sophie Calle, which consists of the reinterpretation of a farewell letter from a lover made by several characters: a singer, a journalist, a clown, a translator.
“In the face of deep suffocation, in the face of the immensity of the wound that opened, I could only create. These photographs were taken by my cell phone in self-timer mode, while I was doing a series of performances for the camera. That is, I wanted to explore everything my body was feeling and, when I got to the right place, I pressed the button and 'fired,'” she explains.
The translator adds that she likes to use the word “shoot” precisely for this project. “I think every photo is a death. Something of me left with that person. I will never be the same. I chose the shots, although the gun was his.
“The act of creating each book is also in itself a performative act: a scene that is repeated 15 times (there are 15 books at the moment). I am sewing this story that, in turn, on each page of each book continues to die. You don't kill 15 years in one fell swoop. I have been 'agonizing' over these creative acts and processing. Your bees stung my eyes “It is my grief,” he adds.
Regarding the techniques used, Anaïs Abreu points out that she likes to alter the images. “I print them out and start playing with them until I like the result. I do not make collage digitally, but 'artisanally'. I need to touch the pieces, as if it were a psychomagical act, like playing the Ouija board. My fingers move the photographs or the pieces of
photographs until everything fits.
“As for photoembroidery, I think that in this project the search is to hurt the paper, because the words hurt or hurt. At the same time that it is the wound, it is also its own repair: the seam,” he indicates.
After this creative process, the artist says that she now feels “sad, happy, furious, excited, angry, happy... I go from one emotion to another and let them flow freely. I can't live this any other way.
“There are human beings who do not allow themselves to cycle, they get permanently stuck in some feeling. Not me, I go through them all. I have love, gratitude, anger, pain... and I really want to live my life. “You want more than ever,” she concludes.
She announces that she wants to turn La Dïéresis into a feminist art book publisher. “Publish women or projects created by women and make smaller print runs, but more complex pieces. “I want to continue playing with the shape of the book and make more objects.”
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