Sites of Memory
Aveta’s aliens have another notable trait: they seem like topological objects. Like the bull or the Möebius strip, they are copies of ob- jects that can be transformed or mutate, that can rotate or envelop themselves without losing their coordinates, that basically encircle a central void, host to nothing in their vortex. Again, let us recall Beckett: nothing is more real than nothingness.
His removable spaces are reversible spaces, oxymoronic in na- ture. They are spaces constructed with artifice, like a theater for marionettes, and it is on the basis of this artifice that notes of truth can be found that no realistic approach could ever provide. A work of fiction is applied to the space, in which scale and perspectives run barefoot, architecture becomes a study of interiors and the dis- tinction between outside and inside is blurred: these are claustro- phobic, hopeless spaces, where the black box that holds many of its objects keeps us from yearning for a way out that cannot be found. Even when a window or skylight lets the promise of light seep in, all one has to do is peer outside to find one’s self in artifice’s back room, which is only one more artifice.
Removable spaces are impossible spaces, like a space that leads back to itself or the contemporary construction of a ruin. What is left of a space once it has been removed? What lies beyond space? If we were to turn Aveta’s alien spaces around, we would discover the mechanisms behind his tricks, the schemes that prop up the fictions with which he ensnares us, just like an illusionist. Then we would know that the entire armature only goes to show that there is no rabbit in that hat. The seams that hold the armor together—like that of Calvino’s non-existent knight—allow one to see that inside, there is nothing and no one.
The works that Hugo Aveta presents here under the generic name Espacios Sustraíbles are, above and beyond the fact that there are stops along the way and that different heteronyms are adopted, all mutations of one single issue. One that deals with the transformations that the objects undergo, the permutations, de- fense tactics, condensations, distillations or evaporations of the
matter of which they are made. It couldn’t be any other way: an artist always speaks about the same thing, the thing about which he or she cannot stop talking, something that perhaps, and only a posteriori, once looking back on the road traveled from its endpoint, may make some sense.
Removable spaces are also fragmentary spaces; Aveta’s aliens are in reality fragments of objects, made out of splinters of mem- ory. Every shard refracts victims’ screams, humans hunted down, avalanches, the cries of babies born in captivity.
The method employed by the artist has some affinity with the way in which—as Hannah Arendt recalls—Walter Benjamin put to- gether his montages: tearing fragments out of their original con- text and rearranging them again in order to mutually illustrate one another, able to confirm their raison d’être with complete freedom of movement.