28 OCT ↭ 29 DIC, 2023
Text by Maria Carri / PDF ↯
‘Water is between bodies, and of bodies, before us and beyond us, but also very presently this body, too. Our comfortable categories of thought begin to dissolve. Water entangles our bodies in relations of gift, debt, theft, complicity, difference, and relation.’ These words, which belong to feminist thinker Astrida Neimanis, frame Jimena Croceri’s exhibition at Galería Piedras. Featuring a series of new pieces in different media, this exhibition is the artist’s first solo show at the gallery and heralds her significant involvement in the upcoming Tangente festival, to be held in St.Pölten, Austria, curated by Joanna Warsza.
Jimena Croceri’s works invite us to think like water. Working across different media, she builds a system of rules, arbitrary mechanisms in which she proposes a radical listening exercise that takes water as the other in a conversation made of gestures. Marking the trail made by water over a canvas or indicating the pathways of raindrops meandering across a glass, Jimena listens to water cycles, follows them, and establishes a frame of action to develop possible responses. The different forms this process takes throughout the exhibition are the memory of a dialogue: the works are not about water but the result of an interaction with it. By constructing a listening process in which water and the human body are not isolated entities but interdependent matter, the artist proposes a new relationship with the non-human. In this movement, she insistently questions the anthropocentrism underpinning Western hegemonic metaphysics. In Elusa, this new hydrological cycle of interdependence is only made possible by the presence of the artist, who generates the conditions of possibility for a learning process that is always receding and demanding new coordinates of approach.
In many societies, water ecosystems organise culture, establish geographical limits and channels of communication, and constitute spaces of ritual and life production. As living matter, water also presents an infinitely mutable plasticity. In its flowing, it favours difference, takes on the shape of its container, works edges and twists materials. When Jimena comes into contact with water in motion, she calls attention to the idea that changing form is possible and so opens up questions about the ontological possibility of new ways of being and being-in-the-world. To think from the perspective of water is, ultimately, to think about that which underlies the commons, that which – as in Jimena’s plaster sculptures – unites, separates and sustains that collective space in which difference is possible.
Establishing this kind of dialogue in the public space of an exhibition means entering into critical discourse with extractivist ways of understanding water, many of them inextricably rooted in a historical process of colonisation and land privatisation that continue to this day. In a time when hyper-individualism seems to be presented as a possible political response, Croceri’s works open up spaces of intersection between a human and a non-human exteriority. By distancing themselves from the notion of water as a resource, they set out to think about relations of reciprocity governed by solidarity, intuition and listening. The premise of the artist’s creation process insists we abandon any illusion that nature is separate from culture, or rather, that we humans are separate from everything that surrounds us.
So, if the seas, rivers, raindrops and other water systems could reveal the will of their actions to us, what would they tell us?