Critics’ Picks

View of “In Remembrance,” 2011.

View of “In Remembrance,” 2011.


Delia Gonzalez

Via Chiaia 229
December 16, 2010–February 26, 2011

Delia Gonzalez’s second solo exhibition at Fonti is completely different from her 2005 show with Gavin Russom, whom she often works with. While the earlier work was suspended between anthropology and psychedelia, totem and taboo, her latest efforts are much more introspective. “In Remembrance” is an extremely refined exhibition, conceptually divided into two interdependent parts. The 2010 video that gives the show its name is inspired by a passage from Anaïs Nin’s diary that compares Henry Miller, Nin’s lover at the time, to Oberon, mythical protagonist of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Gonzalez uses Nin and Miller’s dark passion as the entry point for transposing certain themes—incurable conflicts between reason and sentiment, freedom and necessity, private vices and public virtues—from Nin’s literary output to a visual medium.

Through their cadenced, deliberately repetitive, and often hypnotic sequence of movements, two ballerinas seem to be transformed, with the help of suffused lighting, into almost abstract entities that sublimate Nin's erotic recountings into something more formal and abstruse. Presented via the metaphoric language of the body altered into Baudrillard’s “carnage of signs,” the work conveys the complexity of desire and the dynamics of amorous interactions. The artist opts for an intimate approach proceeding from a deliberately absorbed, interior, private point of view. The rhythmically paced images also suggest the evanescence of memory and the oneiric atmosphere of an introspective journey that traverses the twists and turns of human emotion. Meanwhile, the two photographic diptychs in an earlier room—stills from In Remembrance—both draw meaning from and prepare the viewer for the final epiphany that is the video. In addition, this room contains four aniconic drawings on paper that are compelling for more than their undeniable technical virtuosity; they seem to open up a panoramic view into the artist’s unconscious. These works function as a hyphen between the perceptible and the contemplated, unifying the two portions of the show.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.