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Marcos Castro utilizes connections to alchemic procedures in order to describe metamorphoses that happen to the foundational myth of the eagle and the snake. The emblematic animals in which ancient Mexico City was founded visit this young artist’s individual mythology. The irregular geometry of the architecture of the space where the installation is located, along with a monumental bronze sculpture and a collection of stumps of a particular kind of tree found in the foothills near Tepoztlan in central Mexico, integrate a devastating and silent atmosphere. Spectators witness a fight, an inward fight of a hybrid animal that is both eagle and snake. This fight is also a battle between the freedom of the skies and the imprisonment to the ground; a battle between Heaven and Earth, between sight and survival. The strength of the animal that controls the atmospheric forces confronts the animal that dominates the receptive forces of ground nature. This Eagle-snake is located in the middle of the installation. Surprisingly, the pedestal made of a wood stump, steel and metal detritus is part of the installation and functions as the only stump where something happens, the rest of the trunks (pedestals) are empty, and the room is blank.
A mystical place is where one arrives when walking across this work of art. A place where something has already happened: a disaster. The abandoned surrounding forest has been cut down by the hands of men. Animals in struggle decide to transfigure to become one and survive. Spectators witness the very moment of the encounter, the instant of a fusion. The infinite, symbolized by the snake, merges with the liberty symbolized by the eagle. The spectator undergoes a metamorphosis as the installation is gazed, and so, becomes part of the event. This living experience produces a subtle sensation of withdrawal and movement. A sensation of a figure’s embrace as an eye is discovered and looks out from the chest of the hybrid animal. An eye that gazes, observes everything; a panoptic reminding us of how we are always under surveillance by those political and social institutions that have devastated the forest and have left it as a cemetery filled with tombs that remind us that there was once natural life in this mythical place before the interaction with men.
A series of contradictory signs disconcert in this art event. The pristine order of Mathias Goeritz’ architectonic parallelepiped that surrounds the installation contrasts with the non-geometrical intuitive disorder of placement of the wood stumps. Fusion of self-devouring animals functions as an immanent plane of multiple meanings, formed according to the observer’s subjectivity. Mexican national shield’s appropriation in Marcos Castro’s intermetamorphoses could be understood as a self attack or as a self seduction. The artist uses the ancient symbol of the uroboros to express a process of self understanding to solve a contradiction between theses opposing forces of the same being. The enlightening eye that shows out of the hybrid animal’s body is reproduced in the entire room. The main sculpture works as an eye pupil, the surrounding stumps work as an iris. The spectator’s living experience after walking across and gazing this “great eye” installation remains in the mind of beholders, creating a constant flow of awareness and meaning, an effect that profoundly transfigures the sight.
by Alejandro Sordo Guzmán
Marcos Castro: Solve et Coagula is currently on view at the Sala Mont of the Museo Experimental El Eco until June 27th 2010. Sullivan #43 San Rafael.