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Oblivion

“We are our memory, we are that chimerical museum of shifting shapes, that pile of broken mirrors.

Jorge Luis Borges 

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We might understand memory as a paradox that involves both remembering and forgetting. Oblivion addresses this ambiguity in relation to the self-construction of identity and nostalgia, through the evocative power of the ornamental. 

The free-hanging works from this series take the form of oversized fragments of handmade lace pieces displaying diverse iconography from the Renaissance period: flowers, acanthus leaves, and volutes. In my memory, these figures are also reminiscent of Buenos Aires’ architectural façade reliefs, traces of a past era that I have not experienced and, yet, for which I yearn. 

The oversized patterns of Oblivion also bring alive the in-between, one of my recurrent preoccupations, through the open spaces of the net. Among these works, the full and the void represent the intrinsic essence of memory; they are not antagonistic, they both inform our territory of survival.

The overall circular shape of these pieces is present as a symbol of cycles, reoccurring beginnings and endings. The openness and irregularities of each piece’s outer edges accentuate the continuum from which segments of the pattern are only cut-outs. The work, in the elaborate pattern and its many points of connection with the resin, suggests that time is not linear, but rather, multiple and simultaneous. Installed with some distance from the wall, these works are completed by the intricate shadows cast by incidental light, a ghostly tridimensional effect that poetically takes over the space.

The sculptural objects titled Are There Shapes in Oblivion? loosely resemble ormolu-mounted vases -a term used to describe gilt brass ornaments applied to objects in the 18th and 19th centuries- in different stages of metamorphosis. Having lost their recognizable shape and becoming one with the vase, they are frozen in time amid an uncertain transition. 
 
The title of the series Oblivion is inspired by the music of Astor Piazzolla, an Argentinian composer who pushed the boundaries of tango, blending it with jazz and classical music. Piazzola’s hauntingly atmospheric Oblivion is an ode to nostalgia -composed in 1982, while the author lived in New York- the music brings to mind graceful yet poignant patterns that recall vast labyrinths of memory. 

Even though this series sparks issues tackled in some of my other works, such as Argentinians’ longing for European heritage, Oblivion deals with the intimate feelings of nostalgia, the sensation of being away from one’s origin, and the processes of transformation that occur over time. 

Half-forgotten recollections of childhood and traces of family history, seen in the blurred objects from my grandparents’ home, bridge past with present and ourselves with our ancestors. These inconclusive fragments and mutant objects are part of my personal museum, the infinite pieces of broken mirrors that sustain my self. 

– Paula Córdoba

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