Denudatio Perfecta

I have sometimes felt that the idea of contacting the true essence of oneself is a synonym of “denudatio”, understood as the process through which imagination, after receiving an impression of the world by means of the senses, erases all accidents, all remains of apparentness, until distilling its essence out of form. Paradoxically, this process of denudare, of “making naked”, strengthens us.

Some years ago, I discovered the text of Italian philosopher Giorgio Abamben with the title Desnudez, Nakedness. The author speaks with the vocabulary of philosophy and mysticism. He equates “being God” with “being naked” (esse autem Deus esse nudum sine valamine est).

Throughout all these years, one of the core elements that have sparked off my artistic creativity has been the search of identity through the dismemberment and dissection of my own corporality. This search is captured in the images created for the exhibition “Denudatio perfecta” (Palacio de Medicina (UNAM) in Mexico-City and Ex Convento de Santo Domingo, City of Oaxaca, Mexico, 2015).

I feel profound gratitude to composers Javier Álvarez, Georgina Derbez, José Luis Hurtado, Víctor Ibarra, Mario Lavista, Lorenzo Medina, Alejandro Romero, Hébert Vázquez, who made this music to accompany this process of “making naked”, to José Luis Castillo and the Ensamble Cepromusic.

Sandra Pani

Music has always been space free of representation: every music score is always a codification. What appears graphically is the sign of an instruction, but not the idea that becomes sound. Music is much more than the code, where that intensity that always comes about is hardly put into play, as it responds to impossible logics and reason. In light of this, how can we possibly tackle the task of establishing a relation, a joining, a hook, or whatever a kind of connection with plastic arts? The field of expression of plastic and visual arts is unyieldingly different to that of music. I consider it to be not an easy task, but also not an impossible one.

The answer can come from within a trait of human “tissue”: every text is a possibility to interpretation. What is put into play in the text is an intensity which we can appropriate indefinitely. Inside the text, a contingent condition becomes structured for sheltering, for stating a sense, clearing it up, driving it towards new directions, for altering it, strengthening it. What might seem external to the text: its expressive capability and the fact that it can be interpreted, reveals to us as something probably intern, in so far as it falls over our very own selves. Each one of us reorganizes the text, conferring it with a new dimension.

That is what can happen to us with this record: its condition of openness –this is, its evident relationship with the work of Sandra Pani– impels us into the internal search of sound of nine composers. Each of them is to establish different points of encounter between both disciplines of fine arts. All of them will have been caught by an intensity which, invested with the openness of sense of the text, will result in a dissimilar sound proposal.

Music and plastic art open up a possibility to us there where something merely human of the text is highlighted. The patent intensity in two different expressions is what makes up the proposal of this record.

(Ellery Tiburcio)


L'oeuvre du temps

In front of her father’s grave, a spectral and distant figure, Marguerite Duras wrote in April 1960: “The days, the nights pass over his body, and the shadows of yews, wonderfully precise in broad sun, sweep his tomb with golden filigree. And so, everything lies in such calm and slowness that time itself has forgotten its work.” In a way which I’m not able to fully explain, this image has imbued the music of L’oeuvre du temps. On the other hand, the very idea of sediment, mud and pit contrasts with the softness and transparency of the bodies that flutter upon the wooded world of Sandra Pani. This music wants to create a tension between these two universes and, right there, fade to the oblivion of time.

Jorge Torres Saenz
…de la otra realidad de sí mismo - …of the other reality of the self

“Duality and Transformation” is the name of the exhibition that Sandra Pani presented at the Museo Diego Rivera in September 2009. Based on that forceful sample of her work, composer and philosopher Jorge Torres writes an article in which he refers, among other things, to concepts that I found highly interesting: the equivocal and dual condition of human nature, of our reality acknowledged as double; of the notion of an original crease, from which, in turn, infinite multiplicities and reconfigurations unfold; of the consecutive creases that give way for the cognition of a “primordial unfolding” to achieve a blending of our internal and external consciousness; of a sort of a metamorphosis “of the self as an other, the real other. From the reality of that other, to the other reality of the self”. The music score in question would then be, in front of that, some kind of a proposal for a dialogue established with the work of Pani through the words of Torres Sáenz.

During the writing process of this piece, the exploration fundamentally resides in the appropriation of that state of consciousness. The exploration of that other dimension of sound so that it leads me to recreate a multiplicity of configurations in a musical language of my own. I look for that correspondence with the other side of the crease, where one can find that hectic sensation, “boiling of effervescent flows that are emanations of an inexhaustible becoming”: constant elements in the work of Pani. My proposal is a rereading of the dilution of the border of what is animal and what is vegetal, which induces me a reflection about the vanishing of the increasingly intelligible limit between plastic art and sound. “…of the other reality of the self”, for ensemble, was written in Madrid in January 2015, thanks to the support of the Mexican National Endowment for the Arts (SNCA/FONCA) and of Casa de Velázquez-Académie de France à Madrid (France).

Víctor Ibarra
Bruma en el pliegue - Fog at the crease

This work was written ex profeso for the exhibition of visual artist Sandra Pani “Denudatio Perfecta”. What seduced me the most of the work of Pani were the internal movements “trapped” in those bodies, in those ambiguous forms. This moved me to concentrate a great amount of my visual experience on a single idea, on a title that would speak of my experience with the drawings of this artist.

Within those outlines that sometimes are only vaguely defined, a sort of movement that seems to twist, to ramify, submerge, brake and suddenly arise outside the exterior limit, as if it would break out from inside its own body, emerging in order to follow its course, its arboreal nature; but also this process is underlined by the ambiguities trunk-column, wood-bone, which mix and blend as they grow, intertwine, become root, hands, branches, head, trunk, torso, female body. Sandra Pani, in some of her pieces, breaks the figure, and her bet is placed to the outline, but it’s a fragmented, suggested outline, with intervals that stress the transmutations body-tree. In the internal work of each figure there are several kinds of flows that in given moments get marked by the accentuation or the weakness of the stroke. However, what captures my attention the most are the layers that form inside the tissue; these are overlapped layers, a feature that provides the feeling of a moving image, where all of them intercross with each other generating an ambiguous illusion. In several of these images there is a hint to parts of a body, like legs, or slightly marked hips, from which branches and leaves grow, as if they were some kind of a tree-body hybrid, but there always appears a glazing, something blearing the outline of every figure, as if that movement would hide an ever undefined daydream, always perceived blurred, like a landscape in the mist. That was what motivated me: the idea of layers suggesting the image of a crease, of the action of folding inside; only that image, within my imagery, became a crease that is hardly visible.

Alejandro Romero
Bocetos para una rama (de Sandra) - Sketches for a branch (of Sandra)

ocetos para una rama (de Sandra) belongs to a series of works related with painting, which I have been writing for several years. It is preceded by, among others, “Danza de las bailarinas” de Degas, “Las músicas dormidas” de Rufino Tamayo, “El pífano” de Manet, “Kailash” de Ricardo Mazal and “Música para un árbol” de Sandra Pani. In all of these pieces, I’ve had the wish to imagine what is it that is heard inside the picture: it can be the melody being played by the young musician in the painting by Manet, or the sound of a branch moved by the wind or washed by the rain.

This piece expects to pay a minimum homage to the painting of Sandra Pani, to the work that she composed for her exhibition Denudatio Perfecta. It is written for clarinet, violin, cello and piano (with a prepared Fa). It was first-staged by Ensamble CEPROMUSIC under the direction of José Luis Castillo, in February 2015, at the auditorium of the Palacio de Medicina (UNAM) in Mexico-City.

Mario Lavista

Incandescent is a mobile sculpture which is a product of a strictly controlled reaction.

Its solid and profound structure allows to create a surface that is flexible, luminous, hyperactive and insatiable, where the different sorts of textures, spaces, trajectories and dialogues show diverse angles and perspectives of the same object. Although the inner connections of Incandescent are unique and unrepeatable, the work will never lose its identity. It was written in 2015 and is dedicated to Sandra Pani.

José Luis Hurtado
Cuerpos translúcidos - Translucent bodies

This piece was composed in 2014 commissioned by Sandra Pani, to whom it is dedicated. As from the beginning the music was meant to be heard at the exhibition Denudatio Perfecta of this plastic artist, I looked to establish a contact point in terms of sound with her work. Therefore I discerned a curtain that was interwoven by octaves and unisons –the most transparent, most stripped intervals of musical discourse–, by means of which the rest of the sounds could be perceived, attracted by the veils of the work of Pani, which allow for suggestions of delicate figures, of minimal traces, similar to trees/human-bodies.

With its light and pointillist rhythmic texture, its occasional flirting with jazz or with some imaginary popular music that I entrust the listener for him or her to load it with meaning through his/her own referents, Cuerpos translúcidos expects to be a celebration of Pani’s work, of its vitality and subtlety.

Hebert Vázquez
Intangible Self

When I was considered for this project in collaboration with painter Sandra Pani, the first thing I did was to visit her studio. There she talked to me, among other things, about a technique of the Renaissance brought to the present day known as glazing. This consists, grosso modo, in the sum of different layers of painting. That immediately triggered the musical idea that comes from there: the coexistence in time of several layers or textures.

Sandra told me about her fondness for religious music, particularly that of French composer Olivier Messiaen. I decided to find inspiration in the Louange a la inmortalité de Jésus, from the Quartet for the End of Times of this composer. On one side, I took the rhythm in ostinato of this piece and placed it in the bass register of piano. In addition, I placed in another layer a fragment of the melody, shared between the fagot and the bass clarinet, also in a bass register. In this fashion, the piece has at least these two layers coexisting, and the only thing it does is creating variations on this idea; this as part of the effort of achieving a cohesive and coherent whole.

The piece was written in 2014 with the support of the Mexican National Endowment for the Arts (SNCA/FONCA), and is dedicated to Sandra Pani and the Ensamble Cepromusic.

Georgina Derbez
“Cool“ studies (I, II)

This work was written for the Ensamble CEPROMUSIC as a part of the project around the work of painter Sandra Pani.

The piece can be commented based on its materials and the ways these are articulated. Thus, the harmonic and “scalistic” material also comes from where the piece takes its name, out of “a given flair” of jazz music of the 1950’s. In the articulation of the original materials, some given concepts that are more binding intervene directly with the plastic work in question. These ideas or concepts are:

verticality: derived from the idea of trunk, axis, vertical column.

juxtaposition: counterpoint, multiplicity of voices, foliage, constant circulation of several voices in a reduced context of one octave, “swarming” material.

disintegration and divergence: “diverging pointillism”, ramification.

knots, nodes, nervation: events, gravity centers, intricacies, rizomatic material.

some degree of openness and indefinition: dialoguing quality with the environment with the aim to become “successive territory favorable for transversal light”.

Lorenzo Medina
Blanco sobre blanco - White on white

Acusmatic work in two channels composed for the exhibition Denudatio Perfecta of visual artist Sandra Pani. The title of the work, Blanco sobre blanco, refers to the contrast that appears between light and a soft shadow. This is an acusmatic piece, constructed upon a carpet of granulated sounds coming from a marimba. From its interior –a sort of motto perpetuo always effervescent–, a chain of vocal sounds arises and gradually propagates during the course of the work; at the beginning as a tracing of the prevailing granular pulsation, in other moments as a veiled shadow, and, later on, towards the culmination of the work, in an angular and clearly outlined fashion. Blanco sobre blanco is dedicated to Sandra Pani, with all my admiration.

Javier Álvarez