Maria Cosmes. Presences


The first of the groups into which I have divided her work that basically coincides with her first performances, Presences, plays with a more personal level of relationships, in which she is presented, discovered, made to be discovered, made to be seen, emerges from within. It is the first connection with the other. He offers the presence of his body to others, he gives himself to them, he seeks the approach to create a bond, weak in the beginning, which will later become a relationship.

Le Breton, speaking about the way in which the subjects of our western society represent the body says: " The rationalized universe is inhabitable when the symbolic dimension is missing. The disenchanted world aspires to new spiritualities: a process of re-symbolization is exercised that often functions as a simulacrum, object of considerable psychological inversion and is based on a wide range of representations of the body uprooted from its original soil, of philosophy and of the ways of life that gave it meaning, simplified, sometimes, until reaching the caricature, transformed into technical procedures... Through the revaluation of the body, the imaginary takes revenge. [...] The subject of the western metropolises forges the knowledge he possesses about the body, with which he lives daily, from a mixture of heteroclite models, better or worse assimilated, without worrying about the compatibility of loans. [...] The subject rarely has a coherent image of the body, transforms it into a fabric full of diverse references. No theory of the body is the object of unanimity without fail. As the individual has the possibility of choosing between a quantity of possible knowledges, he oscillates between one and the other without ever finding the one that suits him totally. His freedom as an individual, his creativity, are nourished by this lack of certainty, by the permanent search for a lost body which is, in fact, that of a lost community. 4

Disproving in a certain way this negative vision of Le Breton, the effort to resymbolize the body in Maria's work generates a continuous, coherent and overall unified image between person and body, always in a communitarian way, and constitutes in my opinion one of the most important contributions of her work

In Gazes , she reveals herself to others in uncomfortable or anomalous situations, situations in which she struggles to leave a subtle trace face to the indifference of others, showing herself and demonstrating her existence, even to those who refuse to recognise her.

She plays with the gaze in actions such as Reflection (2004) or The other's eyes (2002), in which the mirrors that cover her totally or partially return to the public that observes her own image, being defined herself in the ambiguity of what others see and of what they do not see. In these and other performances, Maria Cosmes introduces an element of vulnerability, working with blindfolded eyes, blind and defenseless, disoriented after spending long periods in the dark in sometimes indefinite spaces, almost always unknown; she also does so, for example, in Traces (2002)in which she marks with perfumes and essences spaces and people she encounters in her blind wandering.

Also in actions such as A summer Sunday in Innsmouth (2001), in which he covers his half-naked body with green clay on a family beach a summer day, we find this relationship with people who doesn't know what was happening and who sneak around; we establish a relationship of glances, the relationship of looking at the stranger, or rather, the relationship of looking at him without wanting to do so, or without wanting to be discovered.

In Incarnations , she embodies its search for identity in recognizing that it is always built in relation to others, in front of them, without a mask or with the mask of others. The body is present with a clear conscience that everything falls on him and on the person, on the own representation, the one that the others and the culture make and the one that oneself makes with the acquired load. The incarnations are the projected identity, they speak of impositions and obligations, as much the cultural as those demanded by interpersonal relationships, by autobiographical experience and by daily life.

In The skin (2004) she reconstructs herself from the physical, in this case her face, by the superimposition of latex masks of the faces of a group of voluntary people. In the series of actions Lesson of kinship 1 and Lesson of kinship 2 (2001 and 2004) she defines herself as a social being through her personal relationships, rewriting her relationships, more symbolic than real, over an image of her naked body.

In Woman, object of the action (1998) verbs of obligation are projected on his moving body as he approaches the audience and explains to them a brief text on the passive acceptance of victimization by the weakest. In And he made them in his own likeness? (2009) she hits a wall made of clay with a whip and invites participants to do the same and then, on the marked clay, are projected images of the ideals of male and female bodies according to the classical canons and of her own naked body.

Carlos Pina
Independent curator
director of eBent, international performance festival of Barcelona (2003-2010)
february 2013