“En el país de la memoria” (In the Country of Memory): Argelia Rebollo and Liz Hernández @ pt.2 Gallery, Oakland
pt.2 Gallery is pleased to announce "En el país de la memoria" (In the Country of Memory), a captivating duo exhibition featuring work by Liz Hernández and her late great aunt, Argelia Rebollo. The show presents a collection of paintings on linen by Rebollo, all of which have never been exhibited before. Hernández created a series of sculptural works in rusted metal and stone in response to her paintings, letters, and relics. In addition to this new material exploration, she developed an installation piece using microcontrollers for the first time. The creative conversation between Hernández and Rebollo bridges the gap between the past and present, exploring themes of memory, selfhood, and the internal struggles of those who leave their country of origin.
We are so deeply seduced by what remains hidden, by that which cannot be grasped completely and can only be sensed or perceived through clues, and the unfathomable mystery of the unrevealed. We now enter into a territory of shadows. Liz Hernández welcomes us into a country where memory is as speculative as fiction, where it is far more interesting to suspect than to verify. A territory marked by quicksand where one person can be many, in constant interaction, conflict, and reconciliation. A place that is fertile ground for imagination and risk. Identity, in such a country, becomes blurred. At play here is the multiplicity of the individual, the exchanging of masks, and the disguise of the name.
Once banished from our firmly set personality, what presences secretly inhabit us? What reflections do we see when we face the mirror? Are they ancestors or future interlocutors? Can we invent a common language with these inhabitants, or must we silence them? Maybe we could, as Liz Hernández does, collaborate with them. Be hospitable and construct relationships of familiarity and estrangement with them, carving their bodies within us, like intimate monuments.
Who moves the hands that type these words?
Ventriloquist, in Latin, means “one who speaks with the belly.” These are people who know how to make voices and sounds so discreetly that they appear to be emitted by another being, usually a puppet or marionette. When ventriloquists perform in front of an audience, they can minimize the gestures of their mouth to such a point that the audience cannot perceive them from a distance. I think of Liz Hernández as a ventriloquist who crosses temporal boundaries and possesses the gift of modifying her voice to the point of emitting a pitch different from her own, almost without moving her lips. Liz produces a kind of “invisible speech” and projects a voice that belongs to her and her great aunt, Argelia Rebollo. Or is it a sound born of the relationship between the two that cannot belong to anyone?
Once we exit the self and invent others, we can propose alternative horizons that might free us from the character imposed on us when we arrive in this world. In this exhibition, which is a luminous experiment, Liz Hernández creates the unborn ways that Vicente Huidobro speaks of, those ignored bits and pieces that inhabit us and are waiting to escape from our belly.
Written by Valeria Mata
Translated from Spanish by Marina Azahua