Florencia Temperley is an artist who works with the multiple possibilities of the image. In her photographic compositions she develops a post-human fantasy world where nature, keyboards, children, security cameras, words, shadows and cells coexist. The game of contrasts between materiality and immateriality, nature and artificiality, visibility and invisibility, runs through much of her production. After exhibiting for several years in galleries and cultural spaces, she decided to rescue her archive of previous works and restore its presence to the visibility of the social and cultural space of a non-commercial exhibition room, to reflect on the processes of construction of aesthetic values, symbolic and economic in the art world. Well, what's the point of a work of art in the dark room of a warehouse? What kind of existence does it have if it is not shown?
Usually, conceptions of art oscillate between prioritizing one face of the same dilemma: some (idealists) prefer to see art as a problem whose essence is the effective connection between object, message and spectator and others (materialists) conceive art as a form of production of objects that always modify the environment beyond how they are perceived. For Boris Groys, art is “a technology for preserving and restoring the old, a technology that carries the remains of the past and the present into the future. The remains can be ordinary things or linguistic objects. ” Both conceptions, materialistic and idealistic, don’t solve the dilemma clearly.
Every economic object –for example, a work of art- needs to exist a framework (institutional, physical or virtual) and a producer. However, in the art field, the most profane aspects of the pieces are usually hidden to bring to the fore the result and the experience of their contemplation or aesthetic consumption. Thus, Temperley seems to ask herself: what is behind the work of art? The English term, artwork, literally means "work of art." And, like any product, the artistic object goes through phases of production for its physical or conceptual constitution, social and institutional legitimation, market value, circulation and consumption and, of course, surplus value.
Currently –a growing professionalization in the art field– a new idealistic conception of the artist seems to have emerged. Despite being endowed with special qualities, the artists install themselves in the artistic environment and create intangible values (for example,the signature) but, in turn, they tend to ignore the most instrumental aspect of their work, and even their remuneration. The term “cultural producers” is used again because “it is supposed to erase the differences between the different participants in the art industry (artists, curators, historians, administrators and patrons) on the assumption that we are all working together to produce meaning and, consequently, culture. ”Vidokle, indirectly, again points out the counterpoint between a harmonious and materialistic description of the “cultural producers” because the productive factors are unknown because they do not analyze the internal issues in the field of art.
Ad honorem implies, in this context, stepping aside. By giving up her remuneration, Florencia Temperley retires and highlights the material values of artistic work: production costs and price composition variables. Leave this empty space to think about the material and economic aspects but also the symbolic factors that make a work of art a market phenomenon. In this gap, that of intangible value, opens the field and criticizes the way in which the composition of the value of a work of art is hidden. Political position that risks and lashes out, because as the German artist Hito Steyerl maintains: “Art is not outside politics, but politics resides in its production, distribution and reception. If we face this, we could move beyond the plane of a representation policy and embark on a policy that is there, before our eyes, ready to be adopted. ” Temperley's attitude, precisely, closes the gap between idealistic and materialistic positions to affirm that there is no contradiction there.
…”Florencia’s art pieces refer, from different languages and shades, to imaginary points of contact between our bodies and the living elements of nature. On the one hand, the product offering seems ironic: wouldn't an herbal pie, a fish perfume, be "disgusting"? On the other hand, it also drives utopian thought, a world of relationships where the human being is part, and not just the center, of a new poetic ecosystem.”…
In the current art scene, it is common to meet young artists and others who are not so much, who upon perceiving that the found image reports some response from the artistic institution, (sales, awards, notes, publications, etc.) begin to repeat it until it becomes a boring and predictable cliche. Florencia Temperley seems to go against it and prefers to risk looking for other ways. That is why in these new photographs that objectification of the world that arose from the dialogue between childhood and play, gave way to a new way of looking at that world, now totally stripped, “devoid of doors and windows, subjected to the rigor of isolation and silence ”(1). But in art there are no cuts, but continuities or reorganizations, so although at first glance there seems to be no link with the above and the feeling in front of the works is disconcerting, - since nothing is as it was, and the space that housed now depopulated childhood fantasies is more aseptic than ever - however, if the gaze slowly manages to enter that fractal dimension of the objects, and that iterative resource of the fragment, which the author uses to convert that space into this quasi-white and minimal, you will see in some of the multiple windows a little head, you will see some transgenic animal crossing some wall and even a deer with letterhead guarding the showroom. Florencia was once asked how it all started, “with a game” she said. And she kept building houses with the rasti (legos).
Every game, when it really is, demands from its protagonists a certain dose of autism, of rejection to the gaze of others. The children, and also the artists (at least those who have not over-adapted), ignore the presence of the observer in their practices; they prefer to be one more player. There is no innocence in this lawsuit: if the outsider does not play, he is definitely the distant viewer who ultimately corroborates the hierarchy of a world tailored for vigilant adults and watched children. Games and arts require some complicity.
Florencia Temperley, in a deliberate hospitable tone (in its most soulless sense), houses in aseptic spaces those “boys and girls “ drawn only with a subtle line of ink or smudged with charcoal. The expressive supports, plots, photographs, coming from the repertoire of design and advertising, and graffiti, from urban art, reinforce that distanced and melancholic character with which our role as observers is committed.
The "creatures" of Florencia suspend their games and look at us. They play by not playing and by changing their status they are the ones who subject us to the most intense of questions, to the deepest of demands. Even her toys seem to have undergone a strange mutation: the tenderness of the teddy bear in steel shaving violence, the color of globes in black mourning, the hammock in pure orthopedics ... There is something brutal that does not agree in forced fun of the red nose and the profile of the "round the world" with the gaze of that girl disguised as a little clown. Her scope is no longer that of a pink, light blue or yellow room but that stripped room, devoid of doors and windows subjected to the rigor of isolation and silence ...
The white tree (of knowledge?) that serves as an introduction and epilogue to the exhibition-installation, parodically articulated as a mechanical artifact and accompanied by ferocious guard dogs, may not refer to the mythical Garden of Eden, to the Lost Paradise of childhood, but to that other promise of future happiness that these boys see in the strange games of the adults.