About painting, physical exercise and some emotional drifting
Mercedes Mangrané
2017

Almost everything that I like and almost everything I devote time to is linked to staying still: painting, filming, editing videos, observing. A year ago I went for a medical check-up and they told me that because of stress my hormones had undergone a change and it would be good for me to sweat twice as much, to shake my body, “to be more active” in the physical sense and that’s how I signed up at a gym for the first time.

Generally, my body and my behaviour, as is logical, are not very flexible, they lack elasticity.
If I’m subjected to traction, I become more deformed. I am not very reversible. My body does not recover its shape, and if the traction is intense, I break easily. As the tension and deformation vary according to temperature, the practitioner tells me I should try to sweat, warm up, in short increase my temperature so that my stamina in creases. This may be where my frustrated obsession with wanting to be flexible comes from –like a futuristic joke about the fetishisation of our bodies in a world dominated by machines–. I would prefer to be able to use similes and metaphorsdrawn from nature, as oriental culture does. I am working on being able to flow more, although I dislike the word “flow”.

Thinking about the importance of physically enduring changes, bearing tension, I remembered the samurai in the film Kagemusha (Shadow Warrior,1980, Kurosawa) and the properties attributed to
the Kaneda clan: As swift as wind, as gentle as forest, as fierce as fire, as unshakable as mountain. I have ruled out all the options that are beyond me and I’m left with “as fierce as fire”. I know a bit about the concept of attack but my favourites are the forest and the mountain –not from the viewpoint of rigidity but that of endurance–. Although I would like to approach the imaginary of nature, recently I’ve felt closer to that of naturalised artifice, and I apply some characteristics of materials in the world of physics to myself, (while I paint physical exercise I do it in a sense, while I use the world of sport as a landscape motif): My stamina is limited and I don’t know my elastic limit, so my response to extraordinary situations and their impact is fairly predictable: I break.(...)

Excerpt from the text I wrote for the catalogue raisonee of the group exhibition "WALKING IN ICE" The epic and disfunctional in artistic practice. Curated by David Armengol.