DOUBLE SPEECH
Lic. Jacqueline Lacasa
Curatorial text from “Double Speech”
Engelman-Ost Collection, August 2010

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Nelson Di Maggio

La República (Journal)
23 August, 2010.

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ABOUT SPEECH AND OTHER GRAMENTS
Daniel Tomasini

(fragment) Dossier Magazine Nº 23, nov/dic. 2010


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Alfredo Torres
Fragment of the catalogue
Secret hiding nests
Cabildo of Montevideo, November 2007.

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Fernando López Lage

Fragment of the catalogue
Secret hiding nests
Cabildo of Montevideo, November 2007.

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Sarah Guerra

Magenta magazine. Buenos Aires, Argentina 2009

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DOUBLE SPEECH

Olga Betta’s work is committed to project a field of action, where the creation prioritizes the signs of impunity of the violence in the current society. Although this violence is presented in not always visible dimensions, it is the socially accepted code the one that acts through implicit or explicit agreements.
The artist breaks through in the middle of the drunkenness and the anesthesia of the senses, manufactures a daydream world, both complex and daring, provoking a critical interpretation of the immediate memory of the social collective in reference to the naturalization of the violence as a mechanism that leads to silence and apparent control of the situations.
And it is at this stage where the meticulous creation of each object produced by Bettas configures a fold in the weave that allows us to face a particular journey. When the spectator enters the room he can contemplate the split that is projected towards both sides of the place. Although the journey is not straight the space is determined by the contrast between the two hemispheres of this world.
“Double speech” is the name of this exhibition in which the artist´s investigation throws itself into evidencing the duality of beauty and violence.

The battle field

In this place a threshold of fight is presented, populated by objects which have been deprived of their natural sense and that are created to offend the sign of violence. An English style chair in the garden raises intervened in a meticulous way, its embroidered legs carry fantasy gems, even the velvet and lace seat lets the light act as an identificatory element of a rose zone, a sexless bulge, as a trace from which an attachment of brocade is expanded and fragmented in a spider web of tiny crystals. As a member of this force field the chair is boosted as an object of art that reports the desire for the beautiful, delicate and suggestive and yet of a short lifetime, symbolically the invitation to reach relief and restraint is produced in spite of the fact that it becomes a space without practical use, shallow and dangerous, like a place of power that does not reach its primal objective.
A small oval mirror close to this element seems to imprison time, it pretends to be the movement of the one who speculates with his own image when he looks into it and refers to Narcissus myth, that one of unbeatable beauty that ends up falling in love with his own image although here, it can result in a deeper role as Narcissus is fruit of a violent and abusive relationship perpetrated by god Cefiso when he kidnaps young nayade Liriope.
This information adds another detail to the speech that the artist works on in this exhibition, since the power joins the violence and the abuses from which they are deduced.

To dress the bride

In the journey generated by the installation we notice two different planes: the beauty and the violence, therefore the place is populated by volumetric phallic and erotic shapes, while in trims and flounces the feminine and the wound that has been sewed up or limited in its bleeding are highlighted. Among them one object stands out with the shape of breasts which shows pointy nipples and saturated outlines hang like a metaphor about Psychoanalyst Melanie Klein´s theory. These nipples and tutu are part of the symbolic violence that the individual has to live through in his process of socialization, facing what Klein has defined as objects which the baby internalizes as pulsions that are the quantum of libido energy and that constitute his psychic apparatus and his functioning with the world. The mother´s breast is therefore the prime object, what the psychoanalyst theory considers as a “good” breast and as a “bad” breast which operate in the children´s world as a source of pleasure-displeasure. These volumes turned into pieces or art objects, in the eyes of the spectator present themselves as harmless and satirized, the breasts seem to have been part of an indulgent game between the chair as a work emptied of its utility, the fragmented image in the mirror and the breasts and tutu that we remember as “the vehement desire, impulsive and insatiable and that exceeds what an individual needs and what the object is capable of and is willing to give”. In the unconscious level of this voracity it is to empty entirely, suck till it is dry and devour the breast. It is precisely that concept in which the artist stops and generates a daydream place of the objects of desire, the figure of a girlfriend-cow, made of bras put one on top of the other, it constitutes the image of an animal whose udder hang as if they were split from the bovine´s face, that with white roses and lace edging seem to generate a magic aura of purity and fertility in contrast to the search of the static and the empty in reference to other works.

The artist adds the dual perception of beauty and violence through the corset, as an item that is linked to the capability of moderating the silhouette, to embellish or redefine its outlines, it is an item that is also used in medical treatments and it is, for many, a sexual fetish.
The corset made by the artist, floats in the air and the existence of that body and as matter that disappears in which place Olga Bettas intervenes the lightness of the emptiness, placing gravel weight that decorates the corset satin, giving short margins between stone and stone, until the silver thread weave is completed over the red satin fire. The corset is also an element of exercise of power and violence for the body.

In these elements the demarcation of violence is evidenced as an act plausible of interpretation and immediate corroborating. Olga Bettas makes her work show the mechanisms of fear within the ideological apparatus of the daily life and the human relations in the dominated-domineering fold. And it is in these folds that accumulate power, violence and condescension where the human levels of irrationality become visible.

Violence is to lie

How many times does the stone hit? In which way is the body emptied not to function and mute in an accomplice silence? How do we overcome the frightening anguish that provokes the psychological mutilation or physical violence? From what place is freedom to live a full sexuality, apart from sexual options, still condemned?
Each of these questions is present in the duality trampled on by a bull's figure whose testicles are placed over its horns, symbol of masculinity, of sexual power and control of the situation. The red of the blood spilt becomes, as Narcissus, a beautiful and foul flower, volumes that are expanded with useless strings, more than just the shallow appearance of the phallic as a representation of the power, hangs from the ceiling. Along these line, in “Andrógina”(Androgynous) we can observe the feminine underwear, embroidered and elaborated to the limit, revealing in the black and transparent weave the presence of a masculine limb.
In this battle field seemingly split, where every agent has its clearly defined and socially accepted role, the weave of the emptiness is revealed in the violence of the physical and psychological imposition, both in the domestic environment and in the public life, a face of this duality that in spite of being wrapped in lace and silk, does nothing but reveal itself in all its splendor, accounting for the double speech: the more beautiful the more violent.

Love, guilt and reparation

Three objects give closure to a way to flow through the imaginary of the love, guilt and reparation circuit, love is witness of the possibility of seeing beyond, finding an object where the pulsion becomes pleasure. The feeling of guilt is established in the victim and helps with the manipulation of its victimizer, and fear for reporting seems to stay trapped in the daydream of one being the cause, of being guilty of our own aggression and of deserving it. Finally, most of the times, silence raises, it is fertilized by entire generations that burden the feeling of emptiness or the symbolic or real disappearance, in one word, by their own death.
In Uruguay domestic and sexual violence demand work from all fields of action, they therefore demand, a change in the behaviors of silence and complicity. This cannot be a justification based on the social classes to which they belong. On the contrary, it must be a community agreement that starts establishing from the models that socialize to the groups in general.
Art can help once again establish these channels in order to question the double speech about these topics. Olga Betta establishes a way to operate through her point of view as a woman, mother and artist, attached to a generation that was part of a change in the place of women in our society, who now has gained a special multifaceted prominence in daily life.
The artist establishes with her objects the creation of worlds, her contemporary time is intensely lived, she generates a commitment beyond the silver pearl curtain, which works as a repressive wall in the real world, turns into action the power of work of art speech, creates a particular world, fragmented, sexual and childish. Freedom seems to function most of times as the Talion law: “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, where the reparation in psychoanalytic terms seem to be the source that determines that law, that is to say being able to reconstruct the damaged object through the retake of desire as the engine to accomplish the creative strategies that exceeds the immediate action, that “acting out” that operates as impossibility of dialogue due to the immediate desire to take control over Another One.
To organize time and senses while listening very carefully to your thoughts in the contemplation of each work of “Double speech”, can produce a critical space that brings out a reaction against the possibility to transgress what it is established as the logic of the daily violence.
Grad.

Lic. Jacqueline Lacasa
Curatorial text from “Double Speech”
Engelman-Ost Collection, August 2010

   
 


PANORAMIC VIEW OF RECENT SHOWS
[...]
In the Engelman Ost Collection, Olga Bettas is the opposite of the previous. Not only in her condition of woman and an evident theme referred mostly to her genre, but also for her decisive, transgressive disposition to make the delight appear not without going through an ordeal of disturbing, restless objects.
A very well done installation, forces the visitor to go around the different spaces to enter the paraphernalia of feminine underwear, used many times, with kitsch criteria, but with a formal inventive displayed in many senses and meanings, without abandoning its baroque grace and her well acquired technical perfectionism.


Nelson Di Maggio
Fragment from La República (Journal)
23 August, 2010.

 

 



Volumen III
Doble Discurso
Engelman-Ost Collection
2010

ABOUT SPEECH AND OTHER GRAMENTS

Olga Betta´s work is genuinly seductive. For many reasons: the material, for its careful and organized handling, for its originality, for its sense of humor, for its texture, for its theme. (…)
Within subtile plastic qualities that include handling the shape in the space as well as in the plane and its simbolic use of the color, the artist drives the spectator with a great intelligence towards a world of ambiguous borders, between fantasy and reality. A world overloaded with basic and imperious desire, induced by the disturbing game of shapes turgidly erotic where the fetiche as icon of self-satisfaction-among other symbols- removes with all its hidden energy the unconscious layers.

Daniel Tomasini
(fragment) Dossier Magazine Nº 23, nov/dic. 2010

   


Regadero (Watering can)
Secret hiding nests
Cabildo of Montevideo, November 2007.

SECRET HIDING NESTS

The last series produced by Olga Bettas attempts, and accomplishes to eliminate the boundaries between the basis of textile art and the artistic object. Boundaries that, intersections and conjugations repeatedly explored by contemporary art, have become blur with a healthy manner. The labels that used to define clear sections no longer classify, no longer decide on the complex structure of the artistic production.
The artist´s recent work, different textile garments work as an excuse for the action that ends up being object, becoming at the same time singular assemblage. In fact, they are still underwear, textile garments. They are not trying to deny what they are.
The chosen clothes belong to a collection which women and men have restricted to the world of secrecy. Although the name “underwear” supposes the intimate sphere, in fact we wear these clothes on the outside, on the skin, it would be impossible to conceive it as really interior.
The last exhibited pieces take the semantic relocation to a level of joyful freedom. They have lost their relation with visible anecdotes. They reject their previous function. If there is a reference to any organic aspect, it has nothing to do with the genitals. There is sensuality, a strange mixture of elegance and fine roughness. From luxurious lace to poor cotin. Certain features, perfect or crude sewing and pins still appear. These textile objects, like the first ones display hints that cover them in a dominant way. Beyond similarities, physical features, all of them resemble nests hiding unfriendly secrets. Fragile, brief homes, where you can put shy desires to be confessed.
These objects are more defined by what they´re not than by what they look like. It is this boundary vagueness, the most remarkable feature of her creative assumptions.

Alfredo Torres
Fragment of the catalogue
Secret hiding nests
Cabildo of Montevideo, November 2007.

   

Bicho atado, 2005
Secret hiding nests
Cabildo of Montevideo, November 2007.

Olga Bettas descontextualizes the object underwear from the body and works with it in diverse ways to bring it into the field of art. Related to ready-made, she gives these garments a new sense. Sometimes organs flowers, deeply aesthetician pieces, always putting the spectator between the boundaries of the use of the garment, its usability and the question of genre. The pieces are shown as tapestry or textile objects that are transformed into utensils such as a jug or teapots. Although the objects remain being what they originally were, Olga Betta gives them another meaning in which little details become the metaphor for flowers or sexual items.

Fernando López Lage
Fragment from the catalogue “Secret Hiding nests”
Cabildo of Montevideo, November 2007

   

Carrito Fértil, 2005
Secret hiding nests
Cabildo of Montevideo, November 2007.

The investigations of the visual artist Olga Bettas are developed in relation to the problem of the woman in today´s society. In that sense, within the context of Uruguayan production, her personality is projected as one of the most genuinely committed.
Her speech transcends the merely anecdotal, displays with unrestrictive freedom, a subject that deals with such emblematic representations of the body, as the organs that in their vulnerability are located in the most recurrent simbologies of the popular culture.

Sarah Guerra
Magenta magazine. Buenos Aires, Argentina 2009
(fragment)