The Writing of the Invisible

By Patricia Pacino. Escritora. Codirectora de Daniel Maman Fine Art

Every narration is a child of time. In Catalina Chervin’s work, time is an essential element. It is not by sheer chance that it sometimes takes her as long as two years to complete a work. There is no room for haste when one deals with the course of one’s own time, feeling the expression of one’s body and enriching it with tiny touches of graphic art. Thus time finds its abode and, like a delicate mystery, circulates round the arteries of paper. Time finds pleasure in lingering at dark places, roving about the coils of a drawing and melting in the watercolor. It all depends on how each image concentrates, tones down, or expands. Desire lies at the beginning. Graphite streaks take possession of empty spaces. Silently, they weave themselves into a weft. In the background, one perceives a whisper of brief lines spreading over the sheet. Each sign opens up or closes down, intertwines or is nipped only to be taken up anew. Terror vacui? No; it is merely an effect of the necessity of responding to tiny apparitions which, as a text does, trace the writing of the soul. Does the stroke of the pencil perhaps resort to the depths of a tardy language, a language suggested by time?

Matter addresses the surroundings of the sheet and promises the everlasting. On the sheet itself, everything seeps in, filters through, and fades away as evidence that there is permanence. The feeling of a bottomless container proves disturbing, for the image melts into the shaded layers, creating a chiaroscuro game in which erasures or wounds play their hand. The tension between that which appears and that which vanishes seeks its balance within degrees of density. Thus, darkness unveils what we feel we see.

Ms. Chervin’s previous works –her portraits and poems –offer a macroscopic vision of the image. They consist of interwoven interiors that compose some sort of an organic tissue. These works were defined by inner tensions, and each of the images opened or closed over themselves to deploy the beauty of a baroque whole. Yet the cartography of her more recent works has changed. The work expands like a body which, on opening up, lingers at details. It is a microscopic vision, to the extent that the drawing comes closer to the field of abstraction, while the minute details of the covered surface emerge through the weft. Tonal values have become major features of her work, and the various gradations create an atmosphere of withdrawal and introspection. The baroque makes way for the lyrical. It is in the representations of the Apocalypse that her emphasis reaches its utmost intensity, after the fashion of a requiem. The portfolio included in this exhibition comprises a series of eight etchings to which Fernando Arrabal dedicated a poem specially written to celebrate them, after making Ms. Chervin’s acquaintance in Buenos Aires. These exquisite works address the perception of an oppressive time, dominated by the desacralization of life.

Our artist delves into the space occupied by subjectivity so as to evolve into multitude. The root of the line seeks to bind to other humans, and the representations resulting from the drawings resembles a jumble of bodies peeking out from the blurred outlines. These partial, phantasmagoric apparitions turn into the ebb and flow of a swelling human tide that is compelled to move up or down depending on how firmly it can resist the upheaval. It is not by chance that the whole of Chervin’s work releases such dramatic tension where bonds among bodies remain, in spite of anonymity and oppression. The loving gesture laced to her strokes sparkles, installing us in the intimacy of a gaze whose reflections blink in our souls.

Time expands in an atom of desire. It is a dot that marks the beginning of a celebration, mutating and changing shapes as does the Universe.

 

 

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