LAS PRINCESAS SOLAS EN LA MESA

AN INSTALLATION

 

 

By Fátima Rodrigo González

The installation consists of a sculpture and an audio track.

 

The sculpture is a synthesis of various shapes and decorative patterns extracted from the sets of Siempre en domingo, a TV show shot in Mexico City that featured live performances by prominent Latin American singers—referenced in the sculpture are the sets used, specifically, by Lucero and Thalía, two famous Mexican pop stars active in the 80s and 90s.

 

The audio track captures fragments of dialogue from various soap operas, a number of which featured the singers mentioned above in leading roles. This track is playing in a small room at the center of the sculpture which lies hidden behind a metallic foil curtain.

Pop music and soap operas have both played, and continue to play, a central role in the creation of a sensibility that joins the various communities that are part of Latin America. Both cultural expressions are in fact joined in a symbiotic relation, nowhere more apparent than in the fact that it is not uncommon for famous singers to play leading roles in soap operas—this is all the more true in Mexico, where a large amount of the popular culture consumed in the region originates.

The installation focuses on the special bond that joins the world of pop music and the world of the soap opera, but it also reflects on the contradictory nature of this bond. The sets on which the sculpture is based recall the signature forms of various foreign artistic currents (Minimalism, Fluxus, Pop Art) of the 70s and 80s. They bear witness to the cultural industry’s desire not only to construct a site that can be unequivocally characterized as modern, but also to affirm that Latin American stars are at home in such spaces and that Latin America, too, is itself modern. Nothing could be further from this imagined locus of modernity and the cosmopolitan glamor it aspires to project, however, than the world of the soap opera. The fragments of dialogue captured in the audio are evidence of a reactionary mindset, comically parochial in its insistent recourse to the most sclerotic and stultifying stereotypes.

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The installation calls attention to this contradiction, and ultimately to the figure that moves between both worlds: the singer-turned-actress. While she is absent from the work, her absence only makes you more aware of her power as the focus of the desires she elicits, desires which would seem to momentarily resolve the contradiction just mentioned. In her, the desire to be modern and the desire for a life of melodramatic intensity are one.

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