Just a Face
Mariela Yeregui is an electronic artist whose works include interactive installations, video installations, net.art, interventions in public spaces, video-sculptures and robotic installations.
Based on the technique of African wax fabrics, Just a Face deploys a series of clothes that shape an installation artwork reflecting on Rwanda’s genocide. The genocide was sparked by the death of the Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down.
I was living in West Africa at that time. I saw a photograph on a magazine that shocked me a lot: the flayed head of the Rwandais President. I kept that picture during all these years. Like a litany against fear and horror, I decided to infect designs inspired by African iconography with this abject image, reproducing it once and again.
TEXT BY LAURA POMERANTZ
After an artistic process in between territoriality and public space, the otherness and the unveiling of a hidden disaster, through technological solutions, electronic and digital arts, installations and interactive and robotic interventions, Mariela Yeregui’s work is permeated of transgressions, actions of denunciation and violence, where the torn body is the main character. Mariela works upon the genocide in Rwanda after a stay in Cote d’Ivoire.
Submerged in a conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, the African country suffers a deliberate extermination, consequence of the assassination of the Hutu President Juvénal Habyarimana, on April 6th, 1994, when his presidential plane was shot down. The solution to the problem, the elimination of the Tutsi by the Hutu, is exacerbated by a machete blow: 800,000 murders are estimated in one hundred days, to which rapes to women, mutilations and an excessive exile are added.
Yeregui conceives ten large-format silks, echoes of the traditional pagnes africains after the batik technique, and digitally intervenes them. In a parallel way, she takes a journalistic image of the flayed face of President Habyarimana, whose murder unleashed the tragedy. As we approach the textiles, reality is modified revealing the high point, almost formally camouflaged between the vivid and variegated designs: the skinned face of the president, epicenter of violence. The face repeated in the feminine dress confers a disturbing surprise effect when pointing out the torn plot of the horror, like a forced intrusion into that silence of the daily becoming. The artist, who has dabbled in the aesthetics of disaster and in the paradigm of violated bodies in relation to the abject, elevates the journalistic record of the image and transports it to a visual installation frame, by sifting it with aesthetic layers through one of the African cultural heritages, in which the concept of beauty is amalgamated with that of horror, forcing at the same time a fading of the limits between both.
BA in Arts, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Graduated from the National Institute of Cinematography
MA in Literature, Université Nationale de Côte d’Ivoire, with a specialization in African literature, Ivory Coast
She is currently completing her MA degree in Media Philosophy at the European Graduate School, Switzerland
Founder and director of the Masters in Technology and Aesthetics of Electronic Arts at the National University of Tres de Febrero, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2003 | First Prize in BEEP Art, Barcelona, Spain
2004 | Limbo Prize “Art and New Technologies”, Museum of Modern Art and Telefonica, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2005 | First Prize at the National Salon of Visual Arts, in the “New Supports” category, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Hypermedia Studio, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada
MECAD (Media Centre d’Art i Disseny), Barcelona, Spain
Stiftung Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, Germany
2012 | Ars Electronica Festival, Category: Interactive media