It is said that during his journey around the world Raymond Roussel not even once drew back the black curtains of his vehicle. By this brief gesture he went far beyond the idea that geographers, naturalists, cartographers and artists have lent weight in the past. No matter the purpose, making a landscape was no longer enough to satisfy the will of understanding the world. No longer it soothe ethnographic curiosity. No longer it allowed determining the ranges of prettiness, beauty and sublime. Only photographic tourism continued considering landscape worthy in terms of reproduction, and not a merely incidental fact. However since Roussel’s witticism, it is not a matter of forgetting to landscape, but to search those sensitive zones where these impulses persist, where this way of visual appropriation of space still works, what configurations are the ground for these problems to appear even today?
From natural space, enough codified, Mariana Sissia’s drawings take us to outer/inner space of things. Her conceptual value is to realize that what once was painters’ responsibility, nowadays is being assumed by technology, specifically, by remote sensing techniques, gadgets that pick up images there where no human eye reaches. That is why we do not know yet to what extent these satellite and microscopic images have impacted in landscape history.
If this history is to be done, In other world beauty is strange, the installed/drawing by Mariana Sissia pictures itself as an intercessor, a future document, a lost shot. By bringing together the fundaments and ways of producing these images and drawings skills, she is able to avoid anecdote and display, by the same move, a panoramic view of what once was called an heterotopy: other place, unrecognizable, strange, impossible to incorporate to our human sightseeing. Indeed, if classical landscapes postulate body as the measure of space and subjectivity as its perceptive scale, remote sensing deprives this old phenomenology of its constitutive basis, there is no direct contact with the object, there is no eye observing. At the end, what is left is what was there at first: visual data processing. So Sissia operates against the aesthetic look, she turns drawing into an exploratory instrument with no intentions of reproducing landscape, but of producing it, without making drawings look alike with nature, but the other way around. Poiesis, not Mimesis; percepts, not perceptions.
Therefore the technical decision is to subdue the eye, or even better, to implant in the hand an eye for its own. This inevitably postpones any sensitive act –to suggest a story, to confess an idea, to exhibit a secret- in order to put in the first place the physical act of drawing. The pencil`s angle, the speed and length of traces, the graphite´s hardness, the opening of the lines, the use of blanks, the stratification of grey and, in a painter`s excess, the accumulation of layers. All these compose wide range of graphic procedures applied to the appearance of forces, intensities, rhythms, interferences; the track of ongoing processes, of objects that have jus disappeared, of borders that do not close on themselves. The urgency of the hand seems to be geared to prevent image from defining, none, never, as if conceding to that temptation implied to be once more in the field of privacy, of incidental, of subjective explanations. Nevertheless, drawing, its tension upon vision, its nature exposed to contingency, is always a kind of direct negotiation with immediate environment. Mariana Sissia choses to execute a disappropriation, in order to save, not the world`s consistency but its outlines, not images but resemblances, not beauty, but certain beauty.