Humanity shares a series of common symbolisms. An abstract language that derives from dreams or visions that we see repeated in different cultures in diverse forms. In this shared imagination, there are also strong fractures resulting from the immense individual subjectivity. The artist Ana Montiel (Spain, 1981) explores these ideas and their representation in all their stratae, from the most intimate to the universal, interspersing her interpersonal reading of things with the transpersonal. With the divine and the magical, Initiation is presented as a continuous process that intuitively puts our perceptual capacity to the test.
An extensive overlaying of pigments covers the gallery's exhibition space like an expansive wave that irradiates from the artworks of this project. This clear imprint of the work that the artist has been realising over the past few weeks, beyond accentuating the immersive character of her painting style, turns the viewer into a witness of her exhaustive production process. With this gesture, the artist's habitual hermeticism she tends to work with from her studio is vulnerated, raising a series of underlying topics in her work that have not yet been posted in such an open manner. The project has a total duration of four months and is divided into 3 stages: Departure, Limbo, and Transfiguration.
The 3 distinct phases clearly allude to Joseph Campbell's hero myth: The hero departs toward a new adventure, its initiation, and finally, the hero's return to their village as a transformed being and the conflict this entails. This archetypical structure is shared in multiple cultures' narratives and seized by Montiel to explore her own journey. An initiatory journey tangled with deep thresholds and existential questions. The search for the sublime merges with a partial understanding of psychedelics, botanical studies, sexuality, the cosmos, science, shamanism, paganism, love, or nostalgia for a nomadic past. The artist works on the idea of myth under a Jungian tradition: as a psychic phenomenon that reveals the soul's nature.
Initiation reminds us that we are in continuous transformation, praising and magnifying it through the use of symbols and perceptual stimuli. It helps us question what we know and to stop denying other kinds of wisdom. To open ourselves up to other possibilities of being without acting condescendingly toward what we do not understand, what we do not want to see or are terrified to accept. In a permanent search, Ana Montiel will continue working in the gallery's exhibition space throughout the 3 stages, fading all traces of their beginning or end. In constant recalibration, mimicking the Earth's magnetic poles. The artist visualises her journey through a misty walk as a circular river, which its grooves generously widen at each turn.
Text by Enrique Giner de los Ríos.