Marginalia - Mexico

Isaac Contreras

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#63: Dog's Life

Through this section, monthly, we invite agents of the artistic system to share a selection of images related to their practice or current interests. Images are published daily in the header of our website and shared through our Instagram profile. At the end of the month, the complete selection of images is published together with a text that contextualizes them. Here is the selection of September 2020.

It all started with a poem, with a hand on the wall to ease the vertigo.
In the poem, I put my desert, bare land and halt, and droplets of rain like prose in a dry spell.

Well into the fourth stanza the immensity brims over and people, forming a fence on the shore, dampen their feet while saying:

I find no sorrow in darkness because in it everything looks as if behind of a veil. The mellow curtain in the small hours of morning meanders the shadows. The fleeting ash falls, lighted and bold, with a note that goes out after rising.

You disappear and I become a wall that beholds and bears the empty inside. Time passes, on crutches, with a diffuse yet elegant gait and in this hour, only in this hour, its step leaves no vestige.

I do not attend horror in silence because in it life attunes its instrument. A patch of novel skin with bony stalks that tense it, that stretch it above all things. In absence of speech life still whistles and even without the vertebra of time, subterranean and primordial, the hollow respires.

If there is such a thing as a rural ethos, in my biography it would involve a distended time and an habitus of the open country that points to the periphery. Of Rulfo–and of all the towns of my life–what I most remember is howling; dogs barking at nothing. Faced with things like this, of an oblique logic, it’s not possible to search for meaning, only sense. Something similar happens, I believe, in the face of the funereal.

In the last months I embarked on a craft project based on the canine figures of Western Mexico: zoomorphic vessels; effigies of an animal annihilated during the colonial settlement; urns of an extinct rite, set apart from the great centers we know now; pets for the dead.

In the myth, dogs guide souls to the underworld and bring back ancient bones to rebuild the life. Therefrom one day, without a dog to bark at me, I put myself to make pots thinking about the journey between Escuinapa and Comondú, about the esquincles and our orphanhoods.

The project is called Jauría and aims to be an extensive edition of lomitos: domestic, small and joyful forms of non-human empathy. Infinite thanks to those who have come along in the process, for their trust and their help in continuing the project.


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