In “Papeles rotos” a feminine portrait is articulated around two complementary dimensions, mezzotint engraving technique and animation. Once the image is concluded, it is then fragmented to create new compositions. As if the artist, apart from intending to print the continuous movement of the same image, would be trying to focus on a middle stage between consciousness and unconsciousness, reality and imagination; that is to say, a state of semi-consciousness whose genesis is found in its relationship with the aesthetics of the sublime.
Gaston Bachelard wondered: “Is it not the dream a testimony of the lost being, a getting lost being, a being fleeing from our own being; even if we can repeat it, finding it again in its strange transformation?” Following Bachelar's line, his setting a new emphasis on matter and declaring that “matter is the unconsciousness of form” 5 suggest us that inquiring into the constructed images we have to bring them back to their own material substance. It is here that we find another starting point in Marta Blasco's works.
The animation “Papeles rotos “ breaks the mould, both concerning conception and performance. It resembles the t echnique for producing animations using clippings- a cutout animation made from the different fragmented compositions she manipulates, manually composes and photographs, in order to finally reconstruct the image again. The precarious character of the representation leads us to references like Norman McLaren, a pioneer in animation; and more specifically to his short animation movie “A Chairy Tale” (1957), in which he gives life to a chair, thus questioning the relationship between matter and man.
If we analyze both techniques confronted, we observe that they complement each other. Marta Blasco uses her creative fiction to establish, through the optical effect of the interstices, a dialogue which enriches and completes the conceptual reading of her work.
There have been a great number of artistic expressions which prove that mankind has been trying to represent the illusion of movement, as in cave painting, Turkish, Egyptian or Greek Art and later on, regarding Chinese shadow plays. However, it was in 1640 when Athanasius Kircher invented the magic lantern shows, where he projected the different stages of a movement using engravings on glass plates he changed mechanically. Years later, in 1824, Peter Mark Roget discovered the “Persistence of Vision Principle”, the basis of all projected images we know nowadays. It proved that the human eye retains an image during the time necessary to be substituted by another one, and thus successively until a 360º complete movement is made.
Obviously, all these concepts and discoveries had been improved until the birth of cinema in 1895. However, animation cinema was first produced in 1905 when Segundo de Chomón made “L'Hotel Elettrico”; although official history attributes the discovery to Stuart Blackton.
On the other hand, as experts on this field, we know that the artist who took a leading role, using a great deal of animation effects in his works, was George Méliès. Every work of this French magician of genius takes shape in an alternative reality, more expansive and hypnotic. What for others means an eccentricity of the imagination, in this director's universe, however, each still is the rigorous application of free imagination, an alchemic process in which reality mutates to become something better, more exalted and intense.
Marta Blasco's “Papeles rotos” introduces us wholly into Méliès's subject matters by providing her work with a hypnotic sense, the final outcome of animation and real image. She assembles an apparently chaotic puzzle; in fact, ordered following her own criteria and faithfully playing with effects which remind us of Roget's postulations. And also she fragments, disarms, tears apart, and finally recomposes the view of the image; may be, to be able to attain its most profound meaning.
Her mezzotint engravings are themselves a seeking journey, a process of experimentation, an exploration of the infinite possibilities of the surrounding reality. Blasco divides, multiplies, reunites and successfully builds up. There is a message concealed in her work, a clue to decipher the codes of her own world constructed of tremors and bits, which, in fact, conform to contemporary actuality.
Project Prize to the award Pilar Juncosa a la Innovación 2008, awarded by the Foundation Pilar and Joan Miró in Mallorca.