In The Castle (1926), Franz Kafka provided us with an image that allows us to “observe” how the symbolic architecture of power is constructed, its infinite rooms and the social and administrative pathways; those nonsensical structures that cloud clarity or, on the contrary, illuminate the most violent abstractions.
Following the same logic of the normalisation of the absurd, Leslie Kaplan’s Excess – The Factory (1982) and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s Jealousy (1957) delved into the alienating component of any hierarchical system, whether that of capitalist material production or that of the administration of feelings.
Mar Arza (Castelló de la Plana, 1976) follows the trail laid by the previous examples by investigating the reversal of classifications, as well as certain other mechanics polarised between clarifying and bewildering, standardising and imposing. The work of an artist can no longer fit within an intangible territory; likewise, aesthetic contemplation has abandoned its previous character of personal epiphany. When we talk of images, we also allude to—and especially refer ourselves to—the public uses that they allow, or towards which they push us; when we call upon ourselves to look, we are summoning a series of collective and ideological operations, the setting of stances.
Mar Arza’s project for La Virreina Centre de la Imatge highlights the problems of a certain dialect that has impacted on the interpretation of art and knowledge, whose extremes would be clarity versus opacity, transparency versus secrecy, light versus dark. However, several disruptive paths, occlusions, diagonals and flickers remain. Here, Jealousy offers its full literary potential: it is a space equipped for looking, but at the same time a crossroads where little can be done, where we are forced to translate or decipher. A watchtower and a cloister, a refuge and a prison: are both “excesses” not the danger of what is visible, the fears and the inabilities to read, the temptation to write?