Flux – Care and Self-CareOn a new work by Francesca Martí

Francesca Martí is a multimedia artist who assembles her drawings, sculptures, installations, videos and performances into total works of art. In them she focuses on very different times, spaces and people. In the face of past and present horrors and dystopias, she is on the side of dreamers and firm believers who have unwavering faith in the healing powers of art. This faith energizes her, as it did her great artist colleague Louise Bourgeois, whose canonical credo was: “Art is a guarantee of sanity.” Ideally, art acts, even for the viewer whose cause it negotiates true to Aristotle’s maxim tua res agitur, as an antidote through which the impositions of existence lose their terror.

In Martí’s works, dreaming is the longing for an intact identity of man with himself as well as for a harmonious coexistence with others. In Believers, this is elegantly brought before our eyes when groups of people, in the form of figurines, glide past each other in different directions as if in a smooth flow chart, without impeding or bothering each other. This is how society can function. Hereby it is always about the ambivalent balance of staying with oneself and being there for the other. “Para ti” (for you) whispers a woman insistently in the video Copper Transmissions, while in the Droplet video, an elf shelters in a bubble in the form of a sphere, which ideally represents autonomy according to Aristophanes in Plato’s Banquet.

In her new film Flux the themes of being for oneself and being with others come together in their ups and downs. An adept performer sets the leitmotif. At the beginning, he repeatedly sings “Satellite”. By a satellite, derived from the Latin “satelles” for “companion”, we mean a flying body that orbits a celestial body. With it the glory of a solitary existence is already once in principle, even if very discreetly, questioned. When he intones further terms like “fear”, “protection” and “memory”, dependencies become clearer. In addition, there are “space” and “lost”, whereby we associate “lost in space”, which very successfully takes up the “Satellite” theme. Similarly ambivalent, the terms “download” and “cloud” make us think of digitalization, but also of a romantic figure with one’s head in the clouds, thus in all kinds of dreams and fantasies.

In the second part of the film we see a kind of digital animation with Dadaist and Surreal features. Similar to Alfred Jarry’s Roi Ubu, the autonomy of man is playfully taken ad absurdum. Man becomes a puppet. Thus, when an arm – like the famous sculpture La main

by Diego Giacometti – or even the head detaches itself from the performer’s body, it dances through the room until it returns to its owner. In the last part, we turn to Arthur Rimbaud’s “Je est un autre” or the “I am many” motif. The performer imagines himself in the role of Martí as a nine-year-old girl who is tormented and bullied by her classmates in a convent school, until she finally retaliates and fights back.

Once again Francesca Martí intones the theme of co-existence. For even aggression is communication, and the performer comes to the pacifist realization at the end: “The best revenge is no revenge.” Only in this way do things remain in a flow directed towards success. The title of the artist’s film, Flux, also announces this message. It is no coincidence that it is reminiscent of the Fluxus movement in art, with its strategy of “épater le bourgeois”, aiming to make things dance in order to change them for the better. True to Francis Picabia’s maxim, which Francesca Martí has adopted in her work: “The head is round so that it can change direction while thinking.”

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