Marina Núñez

December 17, 2010 – February 06, 2011

Marina Nuñez embraces a discourse that reflects on posthumanism-transhumanism. The constant reinvention of the human species in the prelude to what is ostensibly the end of civilizations and cultures as we have come to know them generates a destruction-regeneration dynamic while still not having produced a model of the individual and society to perpetuate. Concepts such as multiplicity and mutation, fruit of the events that have hastened the demise of humanism, are linked to the criticism of the canonical and the perspective on such transformations that is offered from the alert and relentless observatory in the social and creative approach through which the artist’s gaze has been constituted.

The title is justified by the double meaning of the word informe in Spanish: a report, and formless. In the latter case we would have to clarify what form is, since it requires the existence of previous conventional and canonical conceptions; preconceptions that Marina Nuñez questions visually, alluding to shape and size and to the cruel marginalization of those who do not “measure up”, in addition to the rejection of linear thought. Hence the figures, which according to pre-established norms are deformed or monstrous, are presented to us here as icons claiming a material and spiritual existence irrespective of what is “politically correct or convenient”. However, they are not presented to us as ideal proposals either, considering the doubts regarding their future behaviour. In short, the only thing that is unquestionable is the need for and benefit of using intelligence critically and constructively.

We find ourselves before an approach that is neither for nor against, a report that combines the defence of science as the only salvation and the fear of an excess of technology: robots, cyborgs, genetic manipulations, mutants, clones…21st-century avatars, technological monsters created by the contemporary subject—the “new Prometheus”—who systematically violates the rights of his fellows and annihilates his natural environment, towards whom and with which, with increasing frequency and intensity, he has an antagonistic relationship. Monsters, one of the artist’s themes, are by definition beings who are “contra natura” because they are noticeably different from those of their species, causing surprise, fear and rejection, but also morbid curiosity. They are products opposing the regular order of nature, related to the disorder of being, entropy, evilness and the diabolic. On the other hand, they embody the proof of human fascination with the abject and sinister, with things schizoid and with animal regression. Monsters are a part of the collective construct, with a universal and diachronic presence. The idea of the universe as a compendium of that construct has been transmitted to us as the result of a process of systematization in the midst of the pre-existing chaos. The collective construct is considered to be the set of images that, as an instrument of classification of our environment, governs the existence of individuals in society. It is therefore social construction linked to political, economic and religious power, but also to other groups capable of exerting pressure, as a critical mass, and, above all, capable of generating opinion owing to their intellectual capacity: creators. Marina Núñez has created a unique world with its corresponding visual and discursive language, which is inhabited with creatures and settings wherein science fiction, madness and monstrosity converge. It is also a universe in which the feminine and the bodily are granted a preeminent status, and the female body consequently appears in most cases as a medium for some expressive needs and a vehicle for a narrative committed to social and political issues.

Mankind’s confusion as a species that seems not to find its place, and the loss of individual identity are the symptoms of an exhaustion of the credibility of which it was once worthy. In any case, we are witnessing the progressive ascent of a certain “technocentrism” in detriment to the humanism that succeeded medieval theocentrism. Should we be asking ourselves whether science and technology embody a new religion, the religion of postmodernism? During the 1980s, after Lyotard’s formulations of the postmodern condition, there were coincidental theories about the end of art and the “end of history” announced by Fukuyama in view of the dissolution of ideologies in favour of the economy and the ascension of single-mindedness—mental cloning. Do science and technology act as substitutes for ideas? Danto and Betling consider terminal art’s loss of secular meaning and purpose, following the polarization between the loss of spiritual meaning of avant-garde form and the loss of the meaning of form with the conceptual discourses. However, despite the official acceptance of both of these propositions, artists continue to create forms full of content. This is the case of Marina Núñez, in whose work both considerations carry equal weight.

Like religion and politics, and like everything that falls into the hands of certain groups, science and technology are instruments of power, so they should be subjected to rigorous monitoring to prevent their being employed uncontrollably and abusively. We are now in the phase of loss of intimacy, faced with the legitimation, not moral but official, of the indiscriminate and unpunished violation of the most extensive channels of interpersonal communication of our time—email, sms texts and telephone lines. John Gray, in his criticism of anthropocentric humanism, demonstrates the profound disaccord and deception that works of the human race cause him to feel. In the realm of religion he is equally opposed to what he calls secular fundamentalism and militant atheism, and in the political realm to the utopias of left and right, those of the first half of last century as well as the more recent ones of neoliberal and ultraconservative styles.

Man, monster in himself throughout his history and intrahistory, has created the monster phenomenon before the need for a counterfield toward which to direct his gaze to enable free reflection in the face of militant opinion. Reflection must be marginal by principle, since it always focuses on what the “normal” conventional discourse situates in the margins, as it considers it too obvious or inconvenient. Thus, the monster phenomenon becomes the reflection on the monstrous, followed by the speculative introspection in the monster’s own reflection, which is none other than a self-reflection about the hidden nature of humans, made manifest in those creatures that mirror the image of our own hidden side, the shadow, thus affording knowledge of our complete and complex being.


Actividad realizada con la ayuda del Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte