CARMEN REATEGUI ROSSELLO
Español
QOSQO As in the entire Earth, also in Peru the Earth dies. In the earth itself and in history. Both profaned without mercy. But at times the Earth regenerates. In myth and in certain arts. The arts of reparation, of amendment, of healing even, preciously symbolized by artificers such as Carmen Reátegui. Through the years and with the various works that now culminate in the Origin. Umbilical: Qosqo ––the title of her last piece–– could mean navel in the occult language of the Incas (perhaps Puquina) alluded to by Garcilaso de la Vega, the great mestizo chronicler of a Peru that died and was reborn in the Conquest. A most hypothetical translation, but by now deeply rooted in the popular imaginary of Cuzco as a city both fantasized and factual. And thus powerfully evocative for this insinuating maelstrom of maize cobs sculpted out of stone. Piedra de Huamanga: the alabaster most identified with Ayacucho, that “corner of the dead” (or perhaps of the souls). The Andean node of our uncivil war, our many violences, all too contemporary. Here sublimated: There is an almost funereal pureness in the circular accumulation of lithic whites that are also grays. But there is as well a mystic and messianic desire in the radiance of the aureate covering of a single cob (the mineral gold, the oneiric El Dorado), so essentially placed in the central depression of this vortex. Sexual: seldom do fruits other than the maize combine in a such a disquieting way both phallic and ovular suggestions. The seeds that envelop and exacerbate the hidden but erect cob. As in a natural prefiguration of the disturbing Greek omphalus: The grand marble and its eruptive skin with sculpted knots and precious stones. All in reverence to the idol left by Zeus in Delphi, thus sacralizing that city as the umbilicus of the cosmos. And of the communication between the living and the dead and the gods. Corn, however, could also be associated with the multiple breasts lavished over the Greek effigy of the “great Artemis of the Ephesians”, the erect Great Mother whose even Biblical memory (Acts 19:34) would later stimulate the discourse of psychoanalysis (Freud, 1911). Or even the classical tradition: Hércules, Heracles, travestied as a woman and forced to domestic tasks in loving slavery to Queen Omphale (Omphale) of Lidia. Future mother of his children. But all deriving into the Mother of Christ, who in following John the Evangelist would settle in Ephesus, where her cult eventually syncretized with that of Artemis. Free associations that in our gaze associate Reátegui’s Qosqo with the reclining body of Jesus returned to the enveloping body of Mary. That is the body of the Earth. A Pietá. Telluric: Heed be paid to the crucial antecedent in which Carmen transfigures with other maize cobs Mantegna’s dead Christ. Taita Sara: the name of this impressive piece condenses the Quechua word for corn with the Hebrew name of Abraham’s wife. The old and withered woman that would nevertheless know the joys of fertility. And gave birth to a people (Gen. 18:9-15). As in an Old Testament premonition of the major Annunciation referred to in the Gospels (Luke 1: 26-38, Mathew 1: 18-21). Heed be paid to the dense theology thus inscribed in the great formal beauty and even in the very materiality of these works. Christ is the Virgin. The Virgin is the Phallus. (Absent). Gustavo Buntinx