The subspilled mirror

“Mirror, vitreous plane on which appears a fleeting spectacle given for disappointment of man” Dictionary of the Devil.

Ambrose Bierce (1842, 1914)

Fascination and misery of the contemporary human condition. Subversion or put-on-crisis of the photographic image like “mirror with memory”. Such pre-texts could be key in the presence of the possibility of a clarifying reading (comprehension) of Fausto Ortiz’s recent work (1979). Although in his admirable and suggestive repertoire of images systematically operates a naturalistic” semiotic the in first instance refers us to the calamitous folklore of post modernity –political and existentialist mystifications like manoeuvres of a mechanical moment; esquizia and dissolution of individuality; trafficable depositions and human residues-, its playful poetic photography immerse us in a crystalline way  in the spectacular territories of fiction, amazement, subjectivity and absurdness.

Virtuous in the management of media and instrument, or via the effective preference of the colour, or also taking advantage of the strength and honesty of black and white, his audacious shoots from an intimate and metaphoric perspective penetrate the “dirty” games of predator power, the ephemeral and excessive rituals of desire, terror and vanity, as well as the penultimate divertimentos or ethical and ideological collisions of a town in the abyss of its constant hyper mimesis: it is shown in fragmentary expressions, metaphysical sceneries of his ontological devastations and delicious transgressions resembling a carnival.

Possessor of a talent and creative abilities that allow him to obtain photographic images whose singularity (uniqueness) in its formal purification and remarkable capacity of motivating the spectator, Fausto Ortiz assumes an eminently symbolic aesthetic upon which have more weight idea and expression than the very references or communicative possibilities of the image. Nevertheless, in his case, we have to speak, more than about images, about authentic symbolic frictions, multipurpose texts or real hypertexts that function overflowing the significant suppositions of the objects or subjects trapped by the camera. In that sense, his artistic practice/experience implies a disposition at the same time dissimulative and intensifier of a series of technical and conceptual resources that allow him to examine and subvert simultaneously la portrayed reality.

In his series “Remainders” (or “Debris”), the young architect and photographer native of Santiago de los Caballeros plays and reflects about the urban matter in the contemporary Caribbean: “corporeousness” , flight, shipwreck, return and transmigration of the solar Being, of a divided identity, reaffirming itself in its fertile polysynthetic genetic-cultural and biotechnological process, in the volatileness of its deep pulsations and ancestral foundations, in a permanent gesture of self-denial.

“In this series I make a somewhat different attempt. I don’t do it out of my personal interest; I only want to make it in order to say, through photography, what I think”.

Certainly, in these images we notice something spectral, more hidden or absent than the impressive plastered bodies or the expressive painted faces of transmutable children. In Fausto Ortiz’s “intertextuality” the sign doesn’t admit its manipulation solely like a vestige of tragedy, but also like reflection of the absence, as cipher of a dream, as “debris” or destruction of  the mirror of reality.  In the same way, the images and invisible refractions and fragmentations referring of the real thing do not announce the reconstruction of the scene after the shipwreck”, they presume the announcement of an inexorable happening.

Now the winding reflections on the wall and the transparent marine scenes of the dummy emerge subspilled like premonitory ciphers, like disturbing “spectrology” of the future. These are pure rests of a spiritual ruin whose deconstruction is possible solely through a new speculative vision. And this is, precisely, the poetic, cryptic and specialized vision that Fausto Ortiz gives us as a present through his technological device. The visible referents of these pictures are not only fractions of the body serving like proof of the world. They also are the remainders, debris across reality, essential fragments of interiority, wastes of seduction, preciousness of the image, archaeological spells of “globalization”, predictions of other times, fatidic and despicable sceneries.

Amable López Meléndez
President of the Dominican section of AICA
Curator of  Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum). Santo Domingo. Dominican Republic.