Marina Núñez
Spain, 1966
The artist received her degree in fine art from the University of Salamanca and is currently a professor at the Faculty of Fine Art of Pontevedra at the University of Vigo. After she began showing in group exhibitions in 1988—and particularly after her first solo exhibition in Madrid in 1993—she quickly rose to prominence as one of the most important figures in a new generation of Spanish artists interested in gender issues and championing feminist art. Although trained as a painter, she works with a broad range of media and techniques to express different meanings, explaining her process by stating, “That is to say, every medium, be if photography, sculpture, engraving or video, has its own specific, semantic nature. This means, one type of content cannot be expressed in all media, and one type of media cannot express all contents”. As a result, Núñez has shown a tireless commitment to exploring new techniques, which in turn have made it possible for her to create new forms. Finally, by integrating digital media she has been able to perceptibly reinvent her artistic language. Through her varied language, she can pursue beauty by underscoring the sinister, as becomes patently clear in her series of mad women, corpses, monsters and cyborgs. To the artist, “the representation of the monstrous below a beautiful and reassuring surface can serve as an ideological analysis of the different “phenomena” created by our society, as well as defending what has been repressed in the face of laws dictating uniformity”. She ultimately turns to ugliness and monstrosity to denounce certain behavioural models imposed by society and thus espouses her own, personal point of view within the feminist debate. Through her representation of the female body and female identity—seen as anomalous within a certain tradition shaped by a male perspective—Núñez has gradually defined her own language, which displays hints of Surrealism as well as moments that reveal her admiration for science fiction. Her extensive series Untitled (Science Fiction), which she initiated in 1998, expresses her interest in horror stories, the work of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as science fiction writers like William Gibson, Greg Bear or Donna J. Haraway, whose work blends feminism and cyborg imagery. The artist has also acknowledged the influence of Franz Kafka on her entire body of work. The series includes three infographics showing the same woman attached to a block of meat in different positions, which really serve as a visual metaphor of a statement the artist once made: “Contempt for the body is a trait shared by the liberal, humanist individual and the cybernetic post-human. Change the words: what was once called soul, then reason, is now called information. The contrast, however, between the dense, heavy flesh on the one hand, and the ethereal, discarnate being on the other, remains imperturbable”. The series of infographics on methacrylate exhibited at the Sala de Verónicas in Murcia in 2001 shows three faces from different angles. The lines that make up the faces gradually transform into lines of text. The artist wrote the texts based on an idea by Michel Foucault, who did not believe in a fixed identity immune to culture, but rather in an identity continuously reshaped by social practices and the discourse put forth by the established system.
Glòria Picazo