14 Feb Carmen Baselga: The projectual process: interior of interiors
The commission. This is a vampire ball and you attend with a washed face and a bare neck screaming to be bit. But you do not care, since you already know what you are going to do. You know the ritual and know this is the only way. Your objective requires that you go through this hurdle, so you submit to it. You surrender yourself irrevocably, give away your weapons and sell your talent not to the best bidder, but to the impostor that likes to pass for one of us. And you cannot help but delight in your minor glorious role. You have been summoned, and for the time being, that is all that matters.
The external (and internal) discussion begins. After some struggle between the mind and the heart, you choose to dispose of the latter so the former can be set free and close the deal. “This heart of mine is a burden, and sometimes a tyrant, so, farewell!” Then you set sail and tie your hair up, while you see your mind levitate two yards above you. “So I let one loose and the other follows. Great!”. You call up to it and say sternly: “hey, pay attention and listen to what these gentlemen are asking. I need you right now.” Your mind is resisting and tries to soar higher, and from its higher position it spits down a litany of figures and jealously reproaches you: “Can’t you see that it is not me that they want, but that accursed heart?” Fed up, you decide to leave the argument for later. After all, one deals with the dirty laundry at home, and these gentlemen are looking to finish the discussion. (They, the clients, have no clue of all that is happening within). Defeated, you submit to getting your prints taken, since they need to identify you. And then you set out to pose two issues to them, the only two that you need resolved to get to work. The first question: “What do you want?”, the second one “Do you want me?”.
The contract is a full-blown declaration of love. “First and foremost you must know that your money is not enough, you will always pay too little”. (An important issue that needs to be cleared up first). “Designing your house will cost a fourth of my heart or the seven daggers of the Madonna Dolorosa (such a hoarder she was, wanting all the daggers for herself, now she has no right to complain). “Well, what is it you want then? You have not answered yet.” It may not seem that way, but the clients know exactly what they want: “I want you to build me a sky with warm rain and a floor of radiant sun. I know what I am, but I want to know that I am here, and I know that your hand is skilled, capable of making the best portrait of me.” “And what about the answer to the second question?” “Yes, I want you. Would I have sought you otherwise?” In reality, I only needed to take their words at face value, to extract their vows. After all, I know that the truth will only out in the end, when my work is finished. They sign the dotted line, “yes, I do,” and I gleefully take my leave.
The project. So here comes part two: you pound your heart on the paper while your mind flits about the studio ceiling for days. Eventually you replace your worn heart in your chest so it can regenerate as soon as possible, and you harness that nutcase, so fond of soaring in the heights, calling it to order: “I am sorry, but you have to come back where you belong, it is time to prepare the budget.”
Each plan is a massive, blood-red fingerprint. You smile placidly. You got it now. They do not love me, they worship me. I know because I can see it in their eyes. They cannot hide it.
From fiction to reality. The execution. And the translation begins. We have to take the objects out of each plan and place them in real space. The open spaces, the heights, the void and the full, the light from the windows, the water from the taps. It is the most complicated, the riskiest stage. My accomplices (construction workers, carpenters, electricians, plasterers) have to be watched carefully, scrupulously managed, given direction. Their role is crucial. So is mine, of course. Sometimes you wonder whether they are truly your accomplices or your worst enemies. So it is important to be meticulous when choosing them.
So you give yourself away. And there goes that fourth of your heart (or the seven daggers of the Dolorosa). Next in the agenda: trip to the hospital. A blood transfusion is direly needed.