Ines Medina


20 Series’s ART Statement

The Concept of Plastic Division: The 20 Series of the experimental and analytical method for consciousness of the Unification of The Being.

The first division one immediately perceives on viewing my exploration of plasticism is conceptual, one divide being formal or abstractly and/or geometrically expressionist (a phase I worked on from 1978 to 1995), the other being perceptual or symbolically abstract, done in the last sixteen years from 1996 to 2012. In the first phase, I educated my will and perceptive sensibility so I could move straight into the second phase, fully prepared and capable of feeling and organizing my comprehension of the organic-cum-energy-related problem to be solved: the identity and dignity of the female self.

The second division is structural and is performed depending on the method to be followed, which has been broken down into six blocks A, B and C (formal) and D, E and F (perceptual).

The third division is made on the basis of the functional part to be analyzed: emotional, mental and spiritual.

The fourth division is the complete set of 20 separately titled series that comprise the entire investigation. A sample of each is included in this web page.

Finding the attitude.

Although during my own plasticist explorations I have been interested in and have identified with many artists, including Giotto, Velázquez, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Rothko and Pollock, Abstract Expressionism entire, both American and European, Malevitch, Mondrian, Oteiza, Sol Lewit, Carl Andre, Yayoi Kusama, Basquiat and Lee Bontecou, the ones with whom I felt most closely and specifi cally identified when it came to deciding about my attitude to art and it s functionality –the knowledge and understanding of reality– were Piet Mondrian and Jorge Oteiza.

Very early on, in ’78 or thereabouts, in my second year, with the necessary techniques and methods of representation learnt, and prior to an exhaustive analytical study of the necessity, meaning and functionality of art, I decided that I wanted to use art as a tool for amassing knowledge. Knowledge of what? I asked myself. The Reality, was the answer. And it’s true that, from the very beginning, in the practice of representing from life, in drawing, painting and sculpture, one’s perception of visible things became more exact, more real. I trained my eyes to see; in art my intention was to use that training scientifi cally. In painting, Mondrian was conceptually closest to my intentions and needs: “Expressive seeing is not limited to art: it performs a profound examination of life in all its manifestations: thus making the unity of life possible. Seeing in its purely expressive mode leads us to understand the underlying structure in what exists: it reveals the pure relation …¨

The generation of Basque artists I belong to was lucky in that we had direct contact with Oteiza and his work. As far as my own work is concerned, his influence was the other essential factor of identification. In his sculpture, Jorge Oteiza developed a conscious attitude to the relation between art and life. ¨Art as meta-language¨, he used to say, contributing his whole theory of the de-occupation of the form: Oteiza’s concept of the void. “Thus the artist has in deposit (not always) a task of human and social urgency to fulfill: to transform the tentative, incomplete, vacillating, vision of a man [or a woman, I might add] not yet fully installed in his cultural time. Art is a laboratory, the style of a laboratory that is artistic, it concludes in the laboratory and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t pass on into life …”

I should say that very soon, after a profound theoretical analysis of the functionality of art, where I studied psychologically and socially the attitudes underlying each of the historical ages and stages of art, plus by then dominating representation from the life with the disciplines of drawing, painting and 3D in clay, I decided I would use art scientifi cally, as a method for analyzing reality. What reality? The reality of women in society, I said to myself back then in the 1970s and 80s. I found support for this in something Jorge Oteiza said: “Investigation, research, interest s me enormously, but research has to lead to people-oriented results. Today art is not in the museums. Art should be in people. Art isn’t for museums, it’s for people, within people. Man is the shepherd of Self. What is the artist? The artist is the hunter of Self. What is Art? Art, in Basque, is a trap. The artist is a cheat: he lays traps, traps for what? In prehistory, to hunt animals for food, but also to trap God, or to trap protections, by trapping the instinctive Self”.

At the beginning of my own investigations with art, I understood that Nature felt the need to divide it self up into masculine and feminine, but that the Spirit, the Self, needs to feel it self whole, entire, unified, and its needs are wider and more globalizing than the so-called natural ones, which are only one part of Self. I assumed that, for ensure the human race survived, we women were made to renounce our Spirit –our global unified Self– so that we should care for the species, be mothers, nurses, comforters in general in life. This, I continued, must have somehow seeped into the perception of femininity, related solely to the fact of motherhood, i.e. women being nature only. While clearly crucial to the survival of the species, and of a human value unmatched in its disinterestedness, the maternal function came with a high price to pay: bent to this sole end, woman’s true self was utterly castrated. And the castration of Self was so dramatic that its consequences were bound to appear sooner or later. The reality, as I increasingly found, is that the concept of femininity irradiates over a much wider area than that part of it Nature uses for it sown ends.

The generation of women to which I have the honor to belong has had to (has wanted to) carry out such a farreaching

transmutation of our concept of feminine identity in just a few decades that, to be able to develop long-repressed potential without having to renounce what we already had, i.e. being women –and mothers too, if that was what we chose– we have had to strip off layers of history sealed into each cell of our physical matter; cells electrified in every tranche of our nervous system and camoufl aged and inverted between the folds and corners of our minds and brains.

My enormous internal need, combined with the direct inspiration from, fundamentally, the works of Oteiza and Mondrian, left me no alternative but to perform a social analysis that would help me to understand why women were so undervalued socially, why feminine values were so discredited and why people justified or minimized the physical violence we suffered, why sexual abuse in the street, at work, at home, was tolerated. Not to mention discrimination at the professional level. Not so long ago, for instance, the natural aspiration to positions of political power was something that could destroy the mind of any woman. And yet today there are so many people, men and women, who would love to deconstruct the halo of heroism that surrounds the violence of wars.

Mondrian: “Interiorized, expressive vision is the content of the new consciousness of time, and must be increasingly revealed, as consciousness in the human being grows and, with it, automatically, eliminates all obstacles, such as tradition and that kind of thing.”

Deciding the Method:

As I worked on concepts and functions, the experimental and analytical method I decided to use gradually structured it self into six basic blocks, which finally settled as follows: for the formal plastic analysis into sections A, B and C, and for the organic perceptual analysis into D, E and F.

A) Analysis of every formal element comprising the plastic image.

Although the purified feminine element is now indeed the interiorized feminine element, it remains resolutely feminine, i.e. it never evolves –over time– into the masculine element. Only the outer layer has been removed, or rather, the outermost feminine layer has crystallized into a purer femininity”

The denial of feminine artistic intellectual values, followed later by a certain aggressiveness and lack of social respect towards them, had impregnated my genes before I was born, so that integrating my condition as woman, mother and artist into my own being was only possible through an exhaustive historical analysis and a painful (albeit totally clarifying and therapeutic) personal process of Freudian psychoanalysis. Analysis and psychoanalytical process alike became interwoven with the practical artistic exploration I continued with in my painting. While I struggled both for my true self and to win the professional, artistic and social position I thought my artistic qualities made me deserving of, I began to use my talent precisely as a tool for analyzing and discovering reality. A reality that I would, so I imagined, be able to handle more skillfully and with less suffering as I became more familiar with it. After assimilating the concept of the saturation of each primary color, one lesson learnt early on in the process of artistic exploration was the positioning of pure perspective. I soon realized that, to find out who I really was, I had to become independent from the cultural content received, which, most conveniently, preferred to have me considered solely from the totally devalued angle of woman and mother. So I had to break away, to become independent in all the basic aspects –emotional, mental and spiritual– of the human being.

I’d say the fi rst great package of plastic consciousness I had to explore was formal: the conscious assumption of the concept s of saturation, measure, composition, the study and defi nition of limit s, the construction of pure tri-dimensionality, multidimensionality, etc., to arrive at the conception of the dot, in it s positive and negative quality, as the single formal element necessary for the construction of the plastic image.

Series that belong to this part of A) process, for the:

Feminine Emotional Liberation
1- Saturation of the primary color and its abstract spatiality.
2- Bi-dimensional-tri-dimensional dialectic.
3- Construction of interior space and analysis of its interrelation with the exterior.
4- Occupation of exterior spaces during certain periods of time.
5- Psychoanalytical meanings.
6- Potential image or pure tri-dimensionality.
7- Of limits and products. The forging of the Soul.
8- From measure to emotion.
9- Break away or Feminine Emotional Liberation.

B) Perpendicular divisions (horizontal cuts and vertical cuts) in planes yellow, red and blue verticalstraight s and their mobile dynamic visual interrelation. The vision of the indivisibility of the DOT.

When I moved to New York, I took a work proposal with me. This was “to atomize the planes” I had used to construct all my previous work. I couldn’t get the multi-dimensionality achieved in the image 8color.pcx from the catalogue of an exhibition in Bilbao’s Sala Rekalde Gallery. In my studio in Brooklyn, I started on the series Belonging, Being Aware of the Difference and Pure Energy, finding a title encompassing these three series: Expressions from Unification.

I also wanted “to paint” myself, with my own hand, those point s of pure color, yellows, reds and blues, constructing images that I let flow utterly devoid of any intentional what soever. You could say they came out of the dismantling of meditation.

While Expressions from Unification may be considered (and rightly so) a continuation of the previous (A), it was executed from another plane in which they had already been formal and which I wanted to use to create images that expressed identities complete in themselves, via the assimilation of the concepts of:

– Belonging

– Awareness of the Difference

– Pure Plastic Energy

At this stage of my exploration, my hypothesis was that unification might be a starting point from which to start exploring and understanding the actual structure of creation.

Transferring this concept to the human plane, each person would be considered as an own identity, belonging to creation or reality, empowered by his or her spiritual entity in action manifested in the physical human plane. In other words, the first and last division would be overcome, through the UNIFICATION of the spiritual and human planes.

Series belonging to this part of process B) for the:

Liberation of the feminine mind
10a- Belonging, Difference and Pure Energy.
10b-Atomization of the plane. Dots.

C) Analysis of the limit s between two point s: Encounters with the heart, the mind and the brain.

Formally, I had understood that a dot of color was the projection of light, with it s own identity, in any place and time of the multi-dimensionality of reality. And now I wanted to fi nd out what happened, what there might be, in the interaction of two randomly chosen point s of the multi-dimensionality of reality. Series 11 was very long, but I eventually chose three result s from it, with which I titled the following three series: Mind, Heart and Brain.

Series belonging to this part of the process C) for the:

Liberation of the feminine mind
11a- The limit s between two point s.
11b- Mind, heart and brain.

D) Use of the contents obtained during the formal analysis of the plastic method for internal perceptive analysis of personal experience: the deconstruction of the contents of value, established by unilateral masculine power in the horizontal—view/mind—and voiding it s content, to acquire my own way of seeing. Decoding the masculine structure of seeing.

For many years, as an artist I felt closely identified with the contributions made by Mondrian and I think that it would be only right and fitting for me to acknowledge his artistic and intellectual input. And yet, paradoxically, while my admiration for his work has been a platform from which to develop my own plastic explorations, to be able to be honest and coherent with my generation, it has been my luck as an artist, through the study of limits and my appreciation of measure, to create pure tri-dimensionality, and to deconstruct his amazing contribution of the orthogonal, horizontal-vertical relation.

From there, by atomizing the planes, I arrived at the indivisibility of the dot, a formal limit and reference, which forced me to begin with perceptual analysis through three organic points: Mind, Heart and Brain. Let’s say that my work in art has been to go a few steps further on than Mondrian in formal plastic analysis, arriving at the dot as the only constructive element of the image. But in my view the most valuable feature of my artistic contribution is the permanent interrelation of the formal plastic element s with the psychological (emotional and mental) world and with the human spiritual dimension. What I mean is that, while evolving artistically in a highly innovative formal way, the really important thing is that I applied this scientifically to human experience.

Formally I reached the conclusion that the dot, in its double condition of positive and negative, is the only formal element necessary for the construction of the image and, perceptually, the individual spiritual human is the only vital organic element required for the construction and justification of a life. I am talking about the Identity and the Dignity of Self in it self.

The formal method of my work consist s in the deconstruction and division of the vertical and the plastic horizontal for the encounter with the dot as the sole element totally necessary for the construction of the plastic image, but the human result is the encounter, the discovery, the becoming aware of the concept of plastic division, plastic duality, as the structure of power for the elimination and absorption of identities, which, like the dot, also has a positive condition, survival, and a negative condition, the temporary loss of identity.

Once I had emptied my mind, setting down its content in painted images, the total structure of my self gradually began to find the correct position and structure to cohere with my own feminine identity, and I was able to accept without conflict s or guilt my intellectual artistic—spiritual— capabilities together with those I had received and proudly and thankfully accepted from nature: motherhood chosen, not imposed, and much less conditioned to the castration of the rest of the feminine self.

Series belonging to this part of the process D) for the:

Liberation of the feminine mind
12- Transparencies.
13- The world of forms.
14- The fl owers of evil or Emptying the content of the mind.

E) With my own feminine vision, I proceeded to eliminate the structures of psychological duality from the central or vertical nervous system. During this process, I encountered the archetype of the Great Mother –original division–, the archetype of the Divine Girl-child or Feminine Goddess, the protector of Self.

The defense of femininity is usually to think that it implies internal renunciations and loss, because being feminine means not being able to compete with masculine power and force, which, in its negative manifestation, has generated and continues to generate violence, in so many cases, so many homes.

In my case, and I suppose in that of many women, with my heart broken, to avoid wrecking my mind, I acquired neuroses, identifying myself with the part of the aggressor to acquire his force and become the super-powerful Great Mother and thus absorb all the pain and guilt of the victim, with the subsequent assumption of social human feminine responsibility, which is what has so passionately motivated all this work of mine, which besides being artistic is also philosophical, scientific and political.

Once we have the ability to look at ourselves with decoded eyes, we women can identify the moments that filled us with fear, associating ourselves with the aggressive party and absorbing his guilt. In other words, protecting the aggressor against femininity, which, while being masculine in origin, manifest s it self through women and men. Indeed, we receive social archetypes from our own mothers and fathers, and repeat them passively or actively. All of us, men and women, have interiorized in our divided self the plague of aggression against femininity.

Series belonging to this part of the process E) for:

Feminine spiritual liberation
15- Transcendence of the Ego.
16- Who I also am. Arantzazu Forest.
17- The point as both negative and positive, the sole essential formal plastic element for the construction of the image.
18- Joy of the Self. Transmutation of the absorption of feminine shortcomings/deprivation. The Self–feminine– unified and ripe for participation in cultural, social and political decisions.
19- Burnt Dolls-Muñecas Quemadas.
20- Transmutation of The mind. The Capacity to Visualice The totality.

F) Final result of the process of experimental exploration of the method: The restitution of the organic system –alignment and conjunction of vertical and horizontal axes at a single point. Direct, spontaneous connection with no renunciations what soever; heart, mind, brain and spirit unified.

Analogous to overcoming the concept of Mondrian’s perpendicular interrelation in my theory of the dot, with my contribution of the concept of plastic division, I add, not just as far as things feminine are concerned, a plastic theory that goes beyond the temporality of the void to achieve result s of total integration in the Unification of Self, by it –my theory of plastic division– being even more basic or primary than Oteiza’s concept of the void, as it not only re-establishes the unconscious –by discovering and voiding it– but also identifies and acknowledges social archetypes (the inherited collective unconscious) which liberates, frees from this limited conditioning, immediately giving way to the Unification of the Self, overcoming divisions of race, religion, culture, gender and the like.

As I said at the beginning, Oteiza and Mondrian were my main maestros, but being a scientific artistic undertaking, totally committed to the social sphere, my task also involved contributing plastic-art-related developments suited to the current generation, and my having had to experiment and explore Oteiza’s concept of the Void, at least in respect of more than half the human race, the female gender, has made me realize that we had also to decode our way of seeing, to emancipate ourselves from the division of gender and be beings totally integrated both internally and socially. To construct integral and integrated individuity and collectivity. With the theory of plastic division—with our vision decoded and social archetypes identified—we acquire, we recover all our wisdom and all our authority and responsibility in the decisions to be taken about the world in which we all live.

To end, I would like to quote Krishnamurti, whose writings have accompanied me and helped me greatly over the last decade.

The Unified self does not need “to think” to know what it needs. Nor does it need to “desire” to know what will be good for it. It simply lives, follows its instinct and its intuition fundamentally, because it is connected to the rest of the living forces of nature.

Inés Medina.

New York, 2006

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