Ruben Verdu: contemporary artist. Barcelona, Spain


"Narcissism usually stands for nothing but the relocation of the command center to one’s own upper room. Oedipus received his instructions from the patriarchal order, from fathers, superiors, and authority figures, and the only way to get rid of them was to eliminate them and become a father oneself. Narcissus, however, is his own commanding officer—the much-vaunted ideal of all the new self-employed small business owners who want to be their own masters. And as a psychological structure, this ideal, which mini-entrepreneurs are saddled with today, isn’t easy to escape. In reality or even in one’s imagination, there are no scenarios in which one can simply get rid of oneself as one’s master. It isn’t easy to negotiate with oneself. The old utopia that Louis Althusser recommended to industrial society’s underlings as a form of resistance and liberation—to become a “bad subject,” unfinished, not fully processed, opaque—doesn’t work if you are your own worst enemy and evaluator. Self-evaluation—a familiar ritual in today’s universities and workplaces—is nothing other than a visible, public form of organized narcissism as higher-order repression."
Diedrich Diederichsen. Radicalism as Ego Ideal: Oedipus and Narcissus. e-flux journal#25. May, 2011.

The iconographic culmination perfected by the mechanization of the camera obscura completely transforms all narcissistic productions. Photography, under its conditions of production and synchronic character, carries with it a sense of death. It appropriates to itself all the functions of a memento mori, the loss of an unrecoverable moment. "Self Inflicted" tries to overcome this condition through a parodic construction that, by its sustained tension, hopes to extend the possibilities of the unexpected and accidental.

Self-Inflicted - Detail of Installation

"Self-Inflicted" installed, and clearly showing the stretched elastic bands that cross the width of the gallery.

Self-Inflicted - Detail of Portrait

From the portrait, a doubled elastic band, stretched to its limits, crosses diagonally the gallery space leaving a fake clown nose in front of a mirror hovering, this way, miraculously close to the reflective surface without ever getting to touch it. The final effect is quite evident. The nose seems to be ready to return to its original emplacement giving its wearer, in turn, another hard hit and the hopes of a final awakening and resuscitation.

Self-Inflicted - Detail of Installation, Mirror Stage

The nose in front of the mirror always ready to return "propriety" to its owner.