In his book Capitalist Realism, the British cultural theorist and philosopher Mark Fisher famously wrote that “it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” Fe Faur (Felicitas Faur Malaniuk), a multimedia artist from Mar del Plata, might agree.
Through August 26, the Casa Equis gallery in Chacarita will be hosting Faur’s latest exhibit, Como Si No Hubiese Mañana (As If There Were No Tomorrow) — a collection of apocalyptic works exploring how we might respond if the apocalypse were at hand. The collection includes a dazzling triptych that evokes Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, a series of more explicitly playful diptychs, and a pair of rubble installations that look like they might have been pulled from the wreckage of Nagasaki or Hiroshima.
In Faur’s telling, the idea for the collection was born of a question she posed to her closest friends: What would they do if the world were ending tomorrow? Their answers found expression in her painting, which includes depictions of violent shootouts and raucous orgies but also more tranquil scenes like a man walking his dog and a group of people sharing a hookah pipe. The work’s bright pink palette stands in stark contrast to its subject matter, and the effect is at once kaleidoscopic and captivating.
“I’ve always consumed a lot of humor, both from Argentina and the States,” Faur told the Herald. “Cha Cha Cha is a show that I reference a lot. Miguel Granados really cracks me up. Then there are the obvious influences like The Office, Arrested Development, and the magazine Barcelona. For me, humor is what’s going to save us. I also think it’s the best means of expressing our deepest anguish.”
That humor is firmly on display in Faur’s smaller paintings. In one dipytch, Batman and Superman enjoy a cup of coffee while a tornado tears across the horizon; in another, Spiderman and Robin lounge on a rooftop in front of a burning building; in yet another, a woman masturbates on a pool raft, tears streaming down her face, as a tidal wave closes in. The latter — a nod to Roy Lichtenstein’s Drowning Girl — is fittingly titled Petit Mort.
“The objective of the exhibit is not to say definitively whether the apocalypse is coming,” explained Faur. “Instead, I wanted to explore why this conversation seems to be on everybody’s lips at the moment.”
Among the exhibit’s intellectual influences, Faur cites the Hong Kong philosopher Yuk Hui, Deborah Danowski and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, who co-authored the book The Ends of the World, as well as the aforementioned Fisher.
‘It’s not fatalistic’
“What attracted me to Felecita’s work is that it’s not fatalistic,” said Ayelen Ruiz, the exhibit’s curator. “She’s asking an earnest question and opening a debate. Is the end of the world a form of liberation that can allow us to enjoy ourselves in ways we otherwise wouldn’t be able to?”
“With the economic crisis and everything that’s happening in the country right now, I think the exhibit is very timely,” Ruiz continued. “Argentine society is sad and discouraged.”
The artist’s paintings and installations often appear to be channeling currents of anxiety that have only grown deeper and stronger in the wake of the far right’s victory in the PASO elections. The timing of the exhibition is not lost on Faur, who acknowledges that Javier Milei’s draconian proposals to dollarize Argentina’s economy, eliminate entire branches of government, and effectively destroy the country’s social safety net are enough to make anybody contemplate the end.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re experiencing a certain collective discomfort,” she says. “As a society, we’re all angry. I think it’s a call, and not the first, for the major political parties to do some self-reflection. Personally, I’m very frightened and saddened by the panorama in Argentina.”
Como Si No Hubiese Manana, which opened at Casa Equis on August 5, will be accepting visitors on August 19 and 26, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. This Saturday, the Casa Chaca cultural space, which houses Casa Equis, will feature live music and offer guided tours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Casa Equis was founded in Mexico in 2018 by Diego Bayró. The Chacarita gallery, which he established with Josefina Hagelstrom in March of this year, showcases the work of 21 artists, including 20 from Argentina.
Credit for image: Lucía Fellner