April 2021

INTERTEXTUALITY IN CAROLINA OTERO'S WORK

By Surpik Angelini, Founding Director of The Transart Foundation for Art and Anthropology.

Houston, Texas. USA.

It starts with a participating observer that never forgets what is witnessed in the crossing of a multiplicity of vital energies. Carolina speaks of having absorbed the vital force of images found in the art world as well as in nature. A dancer painted by Picasso with outstretched arms almost in a crucified stand, the soaring thrust of the towers of a gothic cathedral are captured early on in powerful expressionistic drawings, after a tour around European cities and museums at age 13. The arc that links these early works to her present art is still relevant in her deep bent towards synthesis, her attraction to atavic forms, the sedimented archeology of visual language underlying the bridges Carolina draws to tie her calligraphic drawings with her photography, as well as her three-dimensional forms. These bridges point to the fact that all three expressions are grounded in fragmented remains, imprints, traces of lingering structures that together form a text. Everything is apt to be decoded as a text in her art: a text that engages her and us in a dialogic relationship with all the parts.

This Derridean idea, that everything can be regarded as text, or that there is nothing beyond the text, emerges out of the linguistic revision in French Poststructuralism and Deconstruction. It finds a clear expression in Carolina Otero’s art. She does not cut the chord that links images captured by her camera to her instinctive drawing and her sensual sculpture. All three expressions point to radical abstraction. But Carolina does not hide her sources of the creative process leading to abstraction. That would be characteristic of a Modernist attitude, searching for purism, or universality at all costs. In showing context or site-specificity in her photography, and then distilling that specificity into its ontological form, Carolina reveals a synesthetic sensibility that brings different perceptive phenomena together: the visual, the haptic, the aural, her creative process made visible.