Ruben Verdu: contemporary artist. Barcelona, Spain

Swallow - Being messy After Performance

Fear fills our mouths with the excess of a mental activity that is mostly triggered by the eye, and soon we are compelled to swallow fast or be swallowed at last. This, after all, is the unmitigated ubiquity of the discipline of the eye. We must yield and accept in advance the retinal conditioning of most of our daily experience.

Swallow - General view of Installation

Swallow - Detail view of Nest and Surveillance Camera

Entering the gallery, we are confronted first with a structure dedicated exclusively to the monitorization of a seemingly banal activity. This is evidenced by the presence of a surveillance camera that has certainly been recording the construction of a swallow’s nest. This is all a bit strange but it remains yet within our reach of reason since the event has taken place near and by an opened window. This construction seems, in addition, to have followed its habitual process. Little pellets of mud were carried in the mouth and stacked as kind of bricks to the upper corner of a building forming a suspended upside down cupola. The entrance to the nest is pointed directly toward the camera establishing a symmetrical correspondence with the principal structure of optical apparatuses, that is, mimicking the mechanism of the camera obscura.

Swallow - View of Surveillance Room

Following the output cord of the camera we are taken to a separate space to view the results of all that monitoring. In fact, to our surprise, we see that, in trying to emulate the doings of a swallow, the artist has constructed the nest taking mud in his mouth and making a big mess. One can't help to feel confronted with a certain scatological fear, the external threat of the amorphous, that which Bataille called l’informe.

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