Salón de los Espejos

Hall of Mirrors

Galería de Arte San Ramón: Santo Domingo, Rep. Dom. 2016

The picture in the maze

I do not know what face returns my stare as I lean toward the face inside the mirror…

Jorge Luis Borges.

Excerpt from the poem “A blind”

The pond portrays Narciso and the painting represents both the pond and the story of Narciso.

Philostratus. “Frames”

What does Philostratus mean with this statement? The whole “story” Narciso is contained in its reflection. All of his life, past, present and future, has been arrested in the water of the pond. All there is of eternity is paused in its representation of that image.

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The mirror portrays the photographer and the photo represents both the mirror and the story of the photographer. And the photograph represents the photograph. So the image is related to the myth. In the series “Salón de los Espejos” the photography refers to the memory of the photographer, as an image, and the photographer refers to the memory of photography, as a file.

The enigma of the mirror, which is a topic so persistent in the collective imagination, does not seem to be an issue of the reflection, but in the re-knowledge of self-awareness. Narciso’s problem is not recognized, not seen. He suffers from a sort of blindness.

But in the mirror who looks at whom? Foucault speaks of the mirror as heterotopia: where we are and we are not at the same time. Location is and is not. Where we are and are not. The image can be reproduced to infinity and remain unknowable.

With Salón de los Espejos Carmen Inés Bencosme comes back to this archaic theme of photography, which is the look and the mirror is in its perfect metaphor. Bencosme compositions are decentered and confusing. The scenes lose their boundaries and straddle. It acquires surface expression at the expense of the figure. Consequently, an important factor in the production of these works is the search for the printing technique and optimal media for greater aesthetic use of that emphasis on the surface.

These photographs of Carmen Inés Bencosme insist on three formal effects: the deformation of the figures, the distortion of space and the diversity of angles. Since 2015 she has been investigating options of self-representation, linked to the logic of the assembly: juxtaposition of planes and simultaneity of temporary situations, in a private context. That intimacy of the photographic act is associated with the choice of mobile devices, which give greater flexibility to the relationship between the camera and the body in small spaces, conveying an illusion of closeness.

Illusion and mobility are the conditions of anamorphosis describing Severo Sarduy: forced displacement of the subject looking to find a way under the other, or a figure that is growing into style, or a space that does not fit in the order of linear perspective. The reflective surface of the stubborn and oblique mirror, is a fetish of a baroque sensibility, which becomes a simulation device.

André Kertész, Duane Michals and Bill Brandt, each with its own obsession led these mannerisms to the field of photography. Carmen Inés Bencosme also seems obsessed. His leitmotif is the eye, as a body and as a symbol. The eye that looks and is looked at, the eye reading and being read; the eye that interprets and aims to see beyond, through the reflection of himself.

The mirror lacks what defines photography: fixity and the illusion of externality respect to the image, which leads us to think of the image as a content look. It’s true that when what is photographed is a mirror that external situation is not total. Something is always on the other side of the mirror. That is an area which can not return intact.

Borges said that you need two opposing mirrors to construct a labyrinth. Add a camera so you may leave it.



Juan Antonio Molina Cuesta

Santo Domingo, 2016