NOTE 1: TO LOOK / TO TOUCH (Susana and the Elderly)
Susana's biblical episode was useful to explain the pleasures of voyeuring, but when Rembrandt took this theme he introduced it from a different point of view. The elder voyeurs can barely identify forms through the bushes, and the woman, surprised in her own intimacy is looking at us, the ones contemplating the painting. We become the voyeurs and what we see is not a perfect picture for the sight's enjoinment, but a juicy skin that wishes to be touched.
Silvia reduces the visible images to the essential minimum: basic geometries, plane surfaces that overlap with breaks and turns leaving darkness, fissures, and foundations between them that are pushed towards the edges. She does not want for us to stop in anecdotic matters but for us to look directly for the essential: roughness of color, textures, tones, transparencies, overlapped coarse planes. They are paintings claiming a wise look that touches, a tactile look that understands, and a look that feels.
In the Renaissance debate about the supremacy of the arts, Leonardo defended the superiority of painting because it required a minimum physical effort. To him, the artistic creation was a mental process. Hegel put painting at the top of the arts with poetry and music, because they are capable of communicating ideas with the minimum amount of matter possible: color and sound. To him the artistic creation was a spiritual process. Mondrian dictated a composition over the phone for others to represent it artistically, to him the artistic creation was a formal process.
Against these art idealizations as purely formal, spiritual and mental problems, Silvia takes us back to a prior phase: to create a piece of art implies the effort of creating it manipulating and transforming matter. Her work is not based on lines, strokes, or stains, but in fissures, cracks, paste and scratches. Her creative process implies a physical effort, a messing state, an activity that little by little brings light to the painting just slightly mentally perceived at the beginning. To her, showing her work means showing that process, and as a consequence, she enriches her showings with murals made right in the exhibition rooms themselves.
I am going to make a suggestion. She should redo her mural continuously during the whole time the exhibition lasts. Or at least, she should leave a testimony of its realization and not only of the result; with a video, for example. This way, us visitors, would have relevant clues to understand her work as what it is: a metamorphosis of the matter where art is created every time is redone.