Bernice Steinbaum, Miami
by Eduard Reboll
The critical attitude towards the establishment and towards the power to hurt of some photographs based on an equivocal notion of aging and beauty define, on the whole, the view conveyed by Aurora Molina’s work.
If to this we add the irreverence, the monochrome of the “skin” tonality and the gamut of pinks, blackish and coffee-and-milk tones we find in her dummies, the formal investigation she achieves through the stitching, wadding, and the lycra skin of these characters, one understands why nobody can enter her visual universe with impunity.
In a city like Miami, her work preaches precisely the opposite of what The Magic City actually sells to the world: a world of navy blues and whites in its advertisements, beauty without limits at every corner and an endless anti-aging life. Aurora, who includes performance and video among her multiple production facets, pulls out her heroes by the roots and stuns them. Through their monologues and their silly repetitions she automates them, and produces a mixed effect that ranges from the comic quality of their nonsensical movements to the tears that delving into the origin may elicit.
Molina encourages the spectators to hold them, or manipulates their limbs as if they were puppets in a kindergarten performance and we sat there, watching. There is a parallel with the disquieting hyperrealist human sculptures created by the Australian artist Ron Mueck, although his aesthetic is very different and is probably more akin to the works of Paul McCarthy revolving around the ill treatment of the body and the horror of self and others’ mutilation (Basement Bunker).
Aurora’s dummies speak of a warm loneliness when she groups them together, and sometimes they may even induce confusion with a search of monstrosity as a hobby. Nothing is, in my opinion, as humane and beneficial as watching them all together, like pious little people in the altar of an exhibition gallery. It is imperative to watch them closely and dwell on the stitching of the lines that cross their bodies as another of their expressive traits: we must watch them perform as if we were in a Toys “R” Us for freekies.
At the same level as in the mythological worlds or in the fusions between man and beast that we discover in fantastic literature, Greek, primitive, or even indigenous art, the mixture of parts and limbs of different beings produces an effect of strange symbiosis. And this is the case with these characters stolen from the everyday life of the people of the county: the trailer park on 8th Street, or Little Havana, old people’s homes in Miami Beach, or the animal orphanage in the area.
Atypical game. Sensual horror. Apprentice’s robotics for initiates. Denunciation at the top of one’s voice of what is happening and what we think. Physical consequences of a cosmetic surgery or a real interpretation of what we are: dummies transformed into a museum showcase… Age is Beauty is a covertly radical exhibition in a Miami that does not include this adjective in its vocabulary.