It is commonly admitted that artists treat human beings as the physical subject of their work. The painters paint portraits; sculptors sculpt busts. This praxis has only changed with the appearance of conceptual art that tried to portray persons according to their absence: there was no need to see the person in order to reproduce him or her. It was perhaps much more expressive to see ourselves without that image.
Jesús Galdón plays with these two possibilities but also introduces a new idea: he does not want to portray anyone. His work is like those fairground’s booths that have almost disappeared, where someone could place his head into a hole in order to be photographed in some exotic place such as the Far West or China. The opportunity offered to us in “On the other side of the mirror” is even more alluring: the artist wants us to discover who we are, to find our own unique geography.
For we all have our own cartography. Each one of us is an island, a continent in the middle of the ocean of the world.
Placed in this immensity, we may be a part of an archipelago or perhaps we are far away from the nearest island. The piece of solid ground that we are has its own mountains, rivers and regions.
We have heard many times that artists create their own world. In Galdón’s particular case, this is certainly true. His work constructs a new universe, a planet parallel to the one we use to call Earth, in which each continent has only one inhabitant: the one reflected in the mirror. Or perhaps, like in a Borge’s short story, the world that Galdón has created in “Espai 13” is simply another reflection; the mirror image of what is at the top of the stairs. But he does not want us to cross the mirror, like a dreamy Alice, and to go into another world. There is no need: we are our own cosmos. “On the other side of the mirror” is therefore an unfinished work: we must stand still in front of the mirror looking at ourselves fixedly. Now, the piece is completed.
Curator and art crític