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The main subject of Carmen Sigler’s work is woman, her psyche and her body, whose physiognomy and function defines the female gender. In this static video action, the artist herself, a female figure dressed in maroon, appears before us in what seems like a state of ecstatic peace (as if lost in thought among evocations, dreams and ideals). Sacrifice and love are harmonised in an endless flow (like time passing by). Mama Fuente portrays the body of the mother woman in pain as a structure which emanates water and which instructs her about her traditional roles.
In her series De lo impossible a lo possible (From impossible to possible), Sigler portrays the metamorphosed mother from her personal experience. The Andalusian woman and mother is confronted with the local tradition and its mystification in art history. In Mama Fuente, she treats her own body as a sculptural object, endowing it with an attitude close to the iconography of the Baroque dolorosas (Lady of Sorrow). Streams of water, like maternal virtues, flow out of the body.
The mis-en-scéne is carefully constructed, in order for the image to be dramatised with the solemnity of an ablution ritual. We watch the mother/artist from beneath, as if we were observing a sculpture. The sound, the dramatic lighting and the black background lift her above us. Her gaze is focussed on the heavens above and her face expresses expiation. Different fragments are edited together into a visual poem. Water seems to flow from the woman’s skin, like secretions of vitality that spring from her inner love and are spilled like a quiet and peaceful blessing. Water flows constantly from the body, which refers us back both to the fountain of life and to body scatology.
Halfway through the video, the voice of the artist, amidst the sound of the water falling, is heard. She names the traditional qualities of a mother and her son repeats her words: kindness, resignation, patience, submission, understanding, protection, tenderness, temperance, comfort, devotion, ready disposition, happiness, and (quietly) love. The child makes a mistake, the mother waits patiently and continues her recitation.
This is a living sculpture of piety opening her wounds, a christian martyrdom (with the baptismal paradox of water taking the place of blood) that refers back to the Marian tradition (Mary, the redeeming mother) in diminutive form. This is contrasted with the arab tradition of the garden water: Mother Fountain (Mama Fuente).
In a certain way, this video develops the premises drafted in Sincronismos (1996): woman as a sculpture/performative object. Here Sigler adds the concept of the mother and gets rid of foreign referents, and so achieves a much more sober and concrete register.
Gravació: Francisco L. Rivera-PKK
Edició: Carmen Sigler
Producció: Ana García Martinez