Pedro Gómez-Egaña (b. 1976, lives and works in Bergen) is a visual artist and composer who experiments with the accidental and the mechanical through drawing, video, sculpture, installation, performance, and sound. Simple black and white line drawings narrate the catastrophes of daily life as planes, rockets, and cars crumple. His recent work falls within the framework of Calligraphies, a large-scale project realized with the support of the Norwegian Artistic Fellowships Programme. Gómez-Egaña has also exhibited his work at spaces such as Vermelho Gallery (São Paulo), L’appartement 22 (Rabat), and CC MOCA (Buenos Aires).
With "Field and Force," Pedro Gómez-Egaña expands upon the intervention of rediscovering lost monuments that he realized in Mexico City this year. Here, Gómez-Egaña turns to the space of exhibition, pointing to its decay while simultaneously creating new proportions and landscapes within the room itself. In his economic treatment of images, Gómez-Egaña’s interest is in elaborating upon an extant image rather than fabricating a new one. The hovering rocket in the artist’s installation calls upon the pop culture references of this icon, commenting on both the temporal and archetypical nature of the images that are engraved in our collective imaginary.
The end of the world in time and form
April is, generally, one of the sunniest and quietest months in México City, there is enough wind blowing to help clear away the usual contamination of the air. This allows the contemplation of the mountains and volcanos that surround the city. Alongside the absence of rain, April is the perfect time to host outdoor events. But April of 2009 became, for many days, the perfect scenario to represent the end of the world.
Quiet, luminous and desolating, one imagines the end to be different, the immediate reference can only be taken from the movies, that allude to aliens or prophecies, all of which has structured the unconscious of the Western collective as a sort of prelude to the end of the world.
In a few days, the menace of a pandemic transformed the city into a desert, from the moment the government “suggested” the closing down of schools and offices to prevent the spreading of the disease, the people that circulated the streets used masks given out by soldiers. The images were, of course, like those in the movies. The megapolis in pause, its rhythm completely disrupted and, as a soundtrack, the recommendations and preventive hygienic routines, being recited over and over in every possible media. For a couple of weeks, we were the people with the cleanest hands. In these two weeks, México was pointed out as a nest of infection and as the source of a new lethal, contagious and unnameable disease.
It seems natural to see our tranquility disappear when we are faced with something of which we don’t know much, our first system of authority in the world consists of the ability to name things, and that is how it worked; when the scandalous speculations about the origin of the swine flu derived in measures to control it, these included a new vocabulary that for some reason, calmed us all a little bit.
I remember a similar feeling when I witnessed on tv, along with millions of people around the world, the most broadcasted terrorist attack in history. Another perfect scenario for the end of the world, widely exploited by the movie industry: New York City. If the world was to come to an end, it had to begin there, or at least, that is the image that has been inscribed in our minds.
At that moment, in México in April, I had the strange feeling that I could effectively be witnessing what might be the beginning of the end. At that time also, the source of evil was left to be identified and named, in order to be controlled.