The variable dimensions of memory
Alvaro de los Angeles
At the beginning of the book he indicates that «the contemplation of the ruins allows us to glimpse fleetingly the existence of a pure time […] to which no date can be assigned, which is not present in our world of images, simulacra and reconstitutions, which is not located in our violent world, a world whose rubble, lacking in time, can no longer turn into ruins. It is a lost time whose recovery belongs to art »1. Georg Simmel, for his part, in his minimal treatise The Ruins, indicates that "the charm of ruin lies in the fact that the work of man appears to us as a product of nature", and affects the relationship between the action of time and space, when he affirms that "the same forces that, by erosion, weathering, subsidence or the action of vegetation, have shaped the mountains, are manifested in the ruins" 2.
Agustín Serisuelo seems to take up the discourse at that point to adapt art as a tool for recovering lost time and, also in this case, a forgotten space. The title of his project, XYZ, refers to the name given to the defensive line built by the Popular Army in 1938, with the aim of protecting Valencia, then the capital of the Republic, from the advance of the Francoist rebel troops in the so-called Offensive of the I raised. The XYZ Line, also known as the Matallana Line (after General Manuel Matallana), extended from the coast
from the south of the province of Castelló, at the height of La Llosa, to Santa Cruz de Moya in Cuenca, winding orographically through the provinces of Valencia, Castellón and Teruel. This line is one of the so-called "deep defenses", which stand out for the construction of continuous trenches.
instead of building defensive walls. Its mimetic qualities have seemed to enhance invisibility and its ignorance, even in the municipalities closest to it, in addition to the dismantling carried out by the Franco dictatorship after the war. The native vegetation recovers a natural terrain and, in doing so, blurs the already imprecise and blurred limits of a fundamental fragment of history. Since then, the recovery of memory will be a slow and difficult task where art will champion, as usual, a purpose that relates life, history and culture.
The title of the project also refers to the dimensions (height, width, depth) of an object, that which is measurable and quantifiable. Not like the memory of what happened, which always seems to happen in an area of indeterminate proportions, of interrupted speeches, of wounds not yet closed. This series of works, however, seek to unite both concerns: to relate the artist's close and familiar territory, with the pure and still lost time of the ruins and, both processes, with artistic representation. The photographs that the artist takes of the places are not those of a documentary photographer, not even those of a plastic artist, but rather those of an author who needs the document to testify his presence near these places and, furthermore, as material to compose some pieces that are reworked with the adjusted mix of materials and references. It is at this crossroads of interests - photography molding itself to industrial and prepared laminated wood - is where Agustín Serisuelo's work reaches full meaning, since it speaks of a nature that takes over the historical discourse and is perfectly delimited, presented, exposed.
The photographs become dermal images, a skin that adapts to the volumes of a body-trunk, a fragment-elbow, a tree that has now been converted solely into wood. In doing so,
superficiality reaches another value. It is not that which does not deepen and that quickly quiets down, but precisely all that it can reach and all the things that it can alter with its image.
ubiquitous and ubiquitous. The landscape is a skin mark, wound, scar or pore; the beginning of a process that, exposed with gravity and with the right distance, initiates a new search process. XYZ, also seen as the last letters of the alphabet, provoke another beginning, taking an ancient place from which to elaborate a language in the process of being made. And in continuous rereading.