Ana Amélia Genioli and the contemporary imagery
Soho, New York, September 1999, some minutes of flanerie and the physiognomy of the contemporary metropolis unveils before Ana Amélia’s eyes. The reference to Walter Benjamin is immediate and useful. Benjamin, like no other, perceived in the writings of Baudelaire and in the studies on Paris, capital of the 19th century, that the character of the modern metropolis, in constitution, is, above all, translated through its “images.”
In a period of on one hand the volatilization and dissolution of tradition, and on the other of mercantile equivalency, nothing more natural than iron constructions, exhibition pavilions, crowds in the streets, fashion, and above all, passages and Parisian windows reflecting in the collective imaginary in a remarkable manner, forming a favorable ground for modern culture phantasmagoria.
A metropolis constituted as a Dadaist assemblage could not have its character captured in a linear and apollonian way. Only an eye capable of perceiving fragmentations, juxtapositions and incongruities would capture this; only someone who could “feel at home” and be an accomplice of this process – in another word, the flaneur – could give voice to this modernity and, dialectically, to surpass it.
Though Ana Amélia’s “Vitrinis” refer us to that universe, its instigating contemporaneousness takes us further. The space here presented is no longer that of utopia – modern or Benjaminian – but, according to Foucault, that of heterotopias, that is, a spot where places of a certain culture may be represented, and, simultaneously, contested and inverted. Its windows are transformed in an instigating mirror where the metropolis may fragment itself and take up its image-like character. In this Vitrini turned into mirror/screen, “a place with no place”, where inside becomes outside and vice-versa, the universe of products juxtaposes that of the metropolis, sharing its form-publicity.
In dealing with different media, metropolitan images, videography, crossing the photographic still image this window/mirror/screen, a place of projection/reflection, seems to want to become in the hands of Ana Amélia, the place for introspection/reflection of contemporaneousness destiny itself. Here is when all contemporary imagery finds the best form of expression and questioning.
A shadow – constant and fleeting -, however, insists on showing itself in all this installation: that of the passer-by/spectator in search for his/her identity. This seems to be the big question that this work brings: the search for a fragmented identity and made up by these images. Far from Lacan’s mirror, this imagery brings more unrest than hope for reunions. Ana Amélia does not intend to answer these questionings. On the contrary in re-doing her initial path, transposing these windows to a new metropolis, in an interesting dialog – and other dialogs may be added to this -, she indicates that other temporalities, other heterotopias and other images may become new foundations for subjectivity and phantasmagoria of contemporary culture.
Ruy Sardinha Lopes
Ruy Sardinha Lopes, philosopher, with a master’s degree and PhD at FFLCH/USP, professor of Esthetics and Art History FAU USP- SC