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El fuego de la visión (The Fire of Vision) is a video installation composed of three pieces each just over a minute long. The three videos, titled just like the installation, are subtitled César, Luis and Rocío, respectively. They share not only the same intentionality, but also a similar structure that can be divided into two parts: the first shows how an eye emerges from inside greyish waves, the iris being light in colour, the black of the pupil emphasised; the eye seems to stare at us, unblinking yet agitated, upset —as can be perceived in its movements and the pupil’s contractions and dilations. The second part begins when a protuberance black as coal emerges and begins to morph into colours, forms, and even textures, abstractions which evoke something organic and undefined, completely removed from any element we might be capable of recognising in the real world.
Marina Núñez’s three videos are unsettling, not just due to the strangeness of the elements that spring up from the pupil, nor the sound that accompanies them, but because they bluntly bring us closer to the role that we grant to the gaze of the other. That gaze, the work’s main theme, not only receives this status because the protagonist is the eye —the organ whose responsibility it is to detect what surrounds us and deliver it to the brain— but also because it makes us think, it indicates to us that what makes those bizarre elements issue from within the pupil is the result and the product of what was seen beforehand: none other than we ourselves.
As some living thing lacking rest or end: that’s how the artist presents the eye that gazes at us, as well as the resulting vision from which “the fire” (a kind of unveiling of the observer’s interior) appears to emerge. El fuego de la visión acts as a metaphor that recalls the bewilderment and fear we feel as recipients of another’s look. It reminds us how when we confront that stare, our own phantoms and spectres surface, perhaps hidden in the deepest strata of our thoughts.
The language Marina Núñez uses by no means leaves us indifferent; it oscillates between the artificial and what we could label as organic. Playing with iconographic elements and forms that originate in science fiction, she manages to make us feel observed, as if the immobile eye were the objective of a camera that recorded us, and as if, with any movement, we could trigger acts of unforeseeable consequences.
Blanca del Río