This series of murals by Mónica Bengoa invites us to an experience in which thought and the senses are conjugated in a fascinating, and at the same time demanding way, as its title already tells us, in a bilingual format which confronts us first with the strangeness of the German language text and then to its translation, of a didactic sequence which seems far removed from the field of art. The word Beobachtungen, which can also be translated as observations, condenses in its meaning what these works carry out and what they ask us to do with them: considering them, alertly examine them (in German, Achtung means “Attention!” or “Watch out”), with the fascination of a child that discovers the world in the pages of a book or in the circumspect space of a garden, with the rigor of the scientist examining an object under his microscope.
When contemplating them we cannot but think in her laborious production process, in the time and mastery it took to make them, together with enjoying their sensuality on a color, materials and shape level, dazzling us with the chromatic combinations, the texture of the felt and the arabesques of the fretwork. To look over these murals is also relating with its enormous scale and the way in which it exceeds, envelops our bodies at the same time it allows us to come closer to the draft of every outline and to their relations with the other layers of which these works are composed of. As we circulate the exhibition, stopping on each work, stepping back to try to understand the whole or submerging ourselves in its details, we can pay making an effort to perceive the tension between the photographic image of which they originate, the objects and places to which they remit, and the transformations to which the artist submits them, in one’s succinct shaded outline, or in the dense differences of depth of others’.
Apart of this visual and delicately crafted complexity, meticulous, demanded by her, these works ask us a series of questions as we observe or evoke them. They are works that explore the ways in which we perceive and understand the world around us, in which what is handcraft and what is technical convey and complement each other in an exemplary fashion in a time in which their coexistence is often conflictive. Through an utterly personal prism, they dialogue with scientific knowledge, education, childhood, the word and languages (German in particular, in this case) with writing and its supports, with the fascinating world of plants and insects, and with matter, felt, which in this case covers the museum walls in the manner of a second skin, as the map of a territory in which we may get lost and find ourselves again, without haste. Without haste.
Fernando Perez Villalon