The space exploring the call of still life is of the things which do not matter. An elemental objectual character and an absence of pretensions. A discreet table, with basic but necessary things, a scenery of everyday life, which in its random humbleness, always manages to exhale a very special charm of placidity.
The title of Mónica Bengoa’s work, Still Life / Style Leaf appropriates and re-signifies a story of the same name by Georges Perec. The operation of transference could be considered an exercise of read-writing. The closeness of Bengoa’s work with Perec has to do with elective affinities; in this case the border between the visual arts and literature which is common to both artists.
An earlier work by Bengoa, W, that’s the way I see it (or the notebook, a user’s manual of an amateur who classifies things), which corresponds to an image from her library shelves. In some of these, the alert reader can recognize the perequian bibliography contained in the appointment just quoted. A referenceiation remitting to the constructive procedures of the work: a device of photographic transposition, serialization, accumulation, combinatorics, place, among others.
Thus, Mónica Bengoa, an alert reader, performs a series of operations of transference and translations from the understanding that reading is an act of associations and remissions. The sequence of the steps of the work process are: wrinkling of the pages of the Still Life / Style Leaf story, which are then stretched to be registered photographically, and then re-drawn on the computer. This register is reproduced in a cutting plotter serving as matrix, to be again drawn on the felt; stages executed on the work table at the artist’s workspace. With the practice of writing having been initiated, through a tool that goes on to cut the silhouette of the typography, leaving the cutout product of the manuscription of the letter outline.
From description I move on to semantization. In the phases of the work production described, transferences of meaning are set which establish a relation of inter-textuality with the story by Perec, included in his The Infraordinary, whose textual unity lies in the glance and spatiality: a street, a city, an inventory of objects, among others, which in the glance through the description goes on to make a detailed account. An act that manifests the perception of everyday life in which non-appreciated and retained zones of invisibility are revealed.
Still Life / Style Leaf are designations alluding to detained or captured life in the instant, notions remitting to the pictorial genre of still life. Style Leaf also refers to plant sheet, as in Style sheet page of a predetermined format style. Translations which both in Perec’s story as in Bengoa’s work being analyzed work as reading indicators. Of the first, when describing his writing space in the figure of the metalepsis of the author, in the glance-narrator stops on a page on the desk working as a mise en abîme of writing. Perec assembles his texts as a puzzle in which he makes modifications according to a restriction program. From there the title on what I write as a specular The painting in the text plot: work tables recurring to ekphrasis through the quotation of the painting Saint Jerome in his study by Antonello da Messina.
In terms of transpositions, the work of Mónica Bengoa, besides the read-writing activity, conducts a placing on the page, modifying the scale of the text and displays it as paintings on the surface of the wall. The material quality of felt is chromatically contrasted, generating reading layers, making the cutout of the page visible and the typography which is residually accumulated on the floor.
The reader-spectator faces these pages to be looked at. Bengoa’s placing on the page of the Perec story produces an trompe-l’oeil effect, the legibility is formally translated into visibility. Bengoa extensively reuses the display of still life in the deconstruction of the page.
As I describe the work of Mónica Bengoa in these pages, I have an open page of the Pere(t)c Inventory attempt (Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, 2001) exhibition catalog with the photograph of Perec’s desk which Mónica has read-described in Still Life / Style Leaf, as she realizes the letter cutout on the table, and during a pause she raises her eyes, reads another nature through the window of her workspace.