Mar Ordonez (Palma, 13 February 1986) is a Barcelona-based artist who works with analogue photography and experimental video art. Principally known for portraying women from a singular viewpoint, her creations address issues such as identity, doubles and the body as a form of expression and language. Mar Ordonez continues the surrealist tradition both in her exploration of the unconscious and in the constant search for beauty. Her short films invite the viewer to become a voyeur of intimate and sometimes uncomfortable stories that swing between ironic exhibitionism, the theatre of the absurd and dreams that turn into nightmares.
Account must be taken of the depth of the dream. For the most part I retain only what I can glean from its most superficial layers. What I most enjoy contemplating about a dream is everything that sinks back below the surface in a waking state, everything I have forgotten about my activities in the course of the preceding day, dark foliage, stupid branches. In “reality,” likewise, I prefer to fall.
André Breton, First Surrealist Manifesto
Marcel Duchamp said that “words have absolutely no possibility of expressing anything; as soon as we start putting our thoughts into words and sentences everything gets distorted”. He was not the only one who thought this way; Samuel Beckett had a similar opinion—“Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness”—though well aware of the impossibility of relinquishing them: “Words are all we have.” The constant challenge of communication with words puts the limits of language to the test, showing up its weaknesses but also showing its numerous virtues. Likewise, the use of the image, be it static or moving, raises dilemmas of a similar kind. In an epoch characterized by the overproduction of information, whether in the form of striking images or stunning tweets or posts in the social media, blind faith in the supposed objectivity of this information can lead to more than one misunderstanding, resulting in disappointment or even a constant feeling of helplessness. The solution—if there is one—could lie in the pages of the surrealist manifest that Breton wrote in 1924, and in insistence on the importance of dreams in structuring an increasingly elusive and harried reality.
The work of Mar Ordonez picks up the proposal made almost a hundred years ago by the surrealists and uses some of their precepts freely and thought-provokingly to interpret a constantly changing and evolving world. Ordonez realizes that the work is not produced solely by the so-called artist, but that the role of the spectator is also fundamental as that of the person who concludes it (if it is possible to “conclude” a work) by giving it one or several meanings. Some of her works, just 15 seconds long, are presented to the spectator as a kind of Western haiku (many of them in black and white) that uses the cinema image (often Super 8 or 16mm) to transmit a short scene, a fleeting sensation, that may be interpreted in numerous ways by a probing spectator. The (self)portrait, representation, identity, gender, beauty and the search for the unconscious are frequent elements in her work. Using a subtle irony, not without a touch of melancholy that takes us back to the seventies, eighties or even nineties, when the Internet had not yet transformed our lives. Using the techniques of the analogue era in a predominantly digital, precipitate and binary context. Exploring the limits of the body as an element for reflection. Knowing, in short, that the contemporary spectator is transformed with each passing minute.
Marla Jacarilla (Visual artist and writer)