Marcia Thompson


the singularity in the collectiveness

Something in Marcia Thompson's poetics reminds us of Eva Hesse's work.

Post-minimalist and therefore adverse to the modular strictness of the minimal aesthetics, Hesse, however, started from a beginning very close to the minimalist series to deconstruct then just afterwards. It was a matter of the work rising against the anodic modules and the schematic progression of the movement that preceded it, precisely from its own base system. In this manner, Hesse built sculptures with elements that seemed to be in modules, or that seemed to be aligned through a mechanical arrangement of lines or volumes in a programmed expansion, to show that each element there had its own unique identity, frustrating the initial idea of the series.

Marcia Thompson also seems to play with the dichotomy between the unique and the serial, between the continuous and the discontinuous, aiming to dissimulate for the uninformed gaze, the singularities in a supposedly homogeneous whole.

One can not deny that there is a prior composition predetermined and even meticulous, that can come to light through small, repetitive volumes of white paint, stripes of paper of the same size or a film sequence of an equivalent parting of hair of various heads. Meanwhile, what was the 'same' becomes 'other', in so far as the initial progression of the arrangement deforms, disconnects or entangles within themselves.

More delicate than Hesse in the material aspect of the work, this delicacy or lack of physical power of the materials, that reveals itself in white, transparencies, laces and the thinness of the paper, is reverted immediately into power of meaning. It is through the subtlety of the colour and the almost indelible substance of the frame that the artist reinforces the stratagem of the work: The inattention of the hasty spectator who does not perceive the specificness of the differences, the snare of the trompe-l'oeil that presents itself as uniform when discontinuous and singular, and more, the subsequent surprise on recognizing as single unities what was lost or concealed in the repetition.

The elements, set down in colonies, produce a multi-focal optic vibration that highlights the vision of the whole as condensation, indivisible, ignoring its particularities. The work requires that, bearing an imaginary magnifying glass, we penetrate in the network of its pointillism or in between its innumerous layers of matter in order to observe that even in the superposition, repetition or concentration, the singularities are kept - even if under molecular features.

As Hesse, Thompson denounces the ideal nature of the notion of series and repetition, something that mathematics had already contested, showing that at the core of the concept of repetition, there is a permanent tension between the same and the different. In this way, the ascetic and repetitive ideal of minimalism can be seen as disjointed in its purist demands as much as in the work of the brazilian artist as in the work of the north american's, through subtle strategies of deconstruction which recover the reality of the accidents, the inform and the imponderable in the threads of the art.

Even when restrained in boxes or in well defined perimeters of containment, the single elements of these arrays portray a multiple and broken visual orderliness, revealing the nature of its mobility. To the minimalist gestalt, Marcia Thompson confronts unstable constructions that point out with delicacy, the clash between the order and the chaos. It is from this contradiction that the artist nourishes herself to create the conflict between the form, individual and precise, and the whole, gathered in a random mass.

Another feature that remains constant in Marcia Thompson's work, since the beginning of her career in the 90's, is her connection with painting. The pictorial universe, however, was gradually being refined until the total renouncement of the canvas, the chromatic reduction to the white and the transformation of the paint in a substance of sculptural density. In this manner, the thick texture of the small volumes of white paint or silicone, instead of being spread over the surface, framework of the tradition, condense themselves in colonies of nodules or in volumetric entanglements, like objects. The reversal of the pictorial apparatus into sculptural matter, or the acting in the intersection line between these two mediums, is part of the games of the modern ambiguity since the cubist collages, with contemporary peaks in the work of Frank Stella or a Anselm Kiefer. But, Thompson's statement, far from the expressionist exuberance of these masters, restores the sense of economy and condensation of the first post-minimalists (like Hesse and Serra), rendering the narrative clean when before it was made through excess.

Ligia Conongia

Rio de Janeiro, 2005.