Monday 14 January 2013

Between Editioning

Artist Cecilia Mandrile at The CFPR Digital Print Studio

New York based artist Cecilia Mandrile has recently been working with CFPR Editions to produce a series of prints that explore differing approaches to printing and constructing image translucency. By using a UV printer the initial proofing process will develop multiple pass print methods and substrate layering options enabling the possibility of using white ink and novel substrate options (such as glassine paper). The breadth of the project may include around five separate editioned prints that are part of an ongoing series of works entitled Betweening. 
The following text has been provided by the artist as a means to offer a contextual background to the work whilst illustrating the varying way's in which the artist revisits the same imagery through different processes.

Betweening Project Background 
In the language of animation, to tween means to have a change made between two objects. In this way, moving, morphing, transforming, One becomes OneOther. Following this concept, Betweening, a traveling and practice based research, focuses in the sense of incomplete-ness experienced along that transition process. 
Betweening, emerges as a response to my recent experiences living and working in Middle East as a traveling South American woman artist, and through this, a continuation on my rehearsing of visual translations of displacement. Living and working in Jordan, I had the opportunity of dialoguing with local artists and writers, as well as being adopted by a Bedouin family. 
Throughout this experience, I intended to provide some understanding to my effortless adaptation and adoption of this place of the world as another ‘home’: a place where the concept of displacement is felt from inside every day, where doors do not close, they simply lean against their frame; a context in which the refuge is made, unmade and remade every day. The desert here is found as a ‘space’ where, even without an apparent common language, communication could be profound. 
This research intends to unveil and articulate the discovering of ‘intersections’ between Latin American and Arab culture; with particular reference to the poetic battle established in the encounters between Bedouins as well as among Gauchos (the vanishing nomadic cattle herder of the Pampas). Based in the ‘word war’ practiced between nomadic oral poets, both in South America and in the Arab World, I intend to articulate the motivations and intentions of a form of communication that is established between two other-nesses in a space of blurred frontiers, where the nomads are forced to settle, and settled ones, to become nomads. 

Cecilia Mandrile, Betweening project exhibited 2012

Betweening (The Desert Inside) is a series of narratives of unsent photogram- postcards based in the dialogue of a surviving doll carried along my last journeys and stones found during my traveling along two deserts: Wadi Rum in Jordan, and Jujuy in Argentina. 
These stone and doll based-photograms are also the based for a series of “betweenoscopes” I am developing at the moment. Allowing a dialogue between “settled” images and “passing” visitors, through the spinning of these praxoniscope-based artifacts, still photograms recover the lost sense of movement.

Cecilia Mandrile, Betweening project exhibited 2012

Fragments from recent essays about this project:

From “A Life in Translation”, essay to be published in The Translation of a Wound, retrospective catalogue)

“Perhaps the most complete expression of the guiding themes of Mandrile’s work can be found in the ongoing project Betweening (One Other) begun in 2007 to explore the intersections between nomadic practices in different cultures. Nomadic peoples are an anachronism in the modern world, which is structured by fixing people in place and policing their movements by means of  borders. Governments and settled communities mistrust and fear nomads – the Bedouin in Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Roma across Europe, Irish Travellers in the UK – regarding them as definitively and dangerously ‘other’. The project began whilst Mandrile was living and working in Jordan, where she was adopted by a local Bedouin family, and she in turn adopted this place, where ‘home’ itself is something to be constantly renegotiated and reconstructed, and where displacement is internalised. For Mandrile this offered the opportunity to explore intersections between Arab and Latin American cultures as represented in the lives of the Bedouin and the Gauchos (the vanishing nomadic cattle herders of the pampas). The work generated by this project takes several forms, comprising photograms (featuring the dolls again) output as digital prints from which various narratives are constructed. A series of unsent postcards suggest failures to communicate and connect; indeed they complicate the idea of ‘home’ and where that might be, reminding us that the artist is now always ‘between’ places, and ‘home’ is now a concept anchored in the work. The postcards are also elements of a praxinoscope (a simple animation device which Mandrile has renamed a ‘betweenoscope’) in which the images are given the illusion of movement.” 

Gill Saunders

Senior Curator (Prints)

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

November 2012

From New Heaven exhibition publication at Seton Art Gallery, New Haven University. November/December 2012

“After a life changing illness, Mandrile’s work has undergone a fundamental change. Her self-portrait now yields to ghostly images, developed as photograms. Very much resembling the dolls she once possessed, these images become in turn the base of a praxinoscope—which she titled Betweenoscope. This proto-cinema device is here a substitute for those sensorial aspects that the dolls had. This ultimate attempt to animate the images only emphasizes their immateriality. These are merely shadows of what once was; shadows of an otherworldly light: the light of a New Heaven. “ 

Elvis Fuentes (Curator, El Museo del Barrio, New York City)

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