The work of Mónica Goldstein seems to endorse the famous words of Stéphane Mallarmé: «Everything in the world exists to end up in book.» However, the artist goes beyond since her symbolic universe stems not only from the physical world but also from spheres as inapprehensible as sensoriality and spirit.
In the book format, Goldstein finds the most suitable medium to develop her artistic and conceptual proposal. This is not focused on the writing alternatives, as one could imagine, but rather on the reading ones, which go beyond the limited sphere of language. Even though discursiveness is not missing, there is a visual power in her work that diminishes the importance of any linguistic construction intending to translate the development of her esthetic program.
In fact, most of her books lack words, or have them on a modest scale. Frequently it is the materials that appear in focus, drawing attention to the book as an object that powerfully settles in reality. The stones, metals, remains of mechanical instruments, bark, and cotton are some of the elements contributing its textures and sensitivity to volumes intended to be perceived by the totality of the senses.
The materiality of these elements is often compensated for by means of resources which introduce associations, symbols, and metaphors. Sometimes, this is achieved by comparing the quality of the materials itself, as in the book Untitled (2000), which contrasts the strength of rock and the softness of cotton, thus playing with tactile extremes. Other times, this game of oppositions is embodied by more sophisticated references, as is the case with Mirror Time(2014), where the images obtained with a microscope and a telescope present resonances between micro and macrocosm, as Pythagoras imagined them. In contrast, in The Book of Space [Homage to Teresa Volco] (2002), the game comes from purely plastic elements, like point and plane, albeit without abandoning sensoriality, provided by the black velvet cover, enhanced with a stone that fixes the abstraction of its conceptual proposal to the tangibility of the mundane.
In fact, the work of Mónica Goldstein does not content itself with the contingent, the accident, the particularity of an event or incident —it deals with much broader matters related to nature, the order of the universe, reality, culture and the passing of time. But this is done in a surreptitious way, relying on spectator’s analytic capacity, leaving open signs for conscientious reading, allowing these to flourish from the complex formal mixtures of the work.
The same occurs in her paintings, her interventions in photography, and drawings. Works such as Thunder Time (1994), About Reality (2001), Eco Inapprehensible (2004), The Salt Flat of Silence II (2010), A Round Time (2013) express from their titles that vocation to get closer to certain instances that make up the framework of our existence, from a perspective that transcends the singularity of the immediate. Thus is the plastic universe of Mónica Goldstein —a conglomeration of inspiring proposals aimed at the senses, the thought, and reflection.
Text written for the catalog of the individual exhibition This 20 years.
Rodrigo Alonso / Curator, art critic / 2014
Rodrigo Alonso. Text for the Catalog of the exhibition This 20 years