WWW (Women, Weavers and Waves) (fragment)
Wo-man. Moon weaver, is a multidisciplinary artistic journey in which Pilar Millán proposes to arrive at the word through the back door: unravelling the narrative thread in the form of myths, to return to the essential: communication.
Appealing to the capacity for synthesis of the African forms, the Andalusian artist submerges into an exercise of abstraction of the word to regain confidence in language. Since Textum (2013), Millán recovered the element of the loom as symbolic axis for her series (to weave in Latin: texō), learning to intertwine etymological meanings, actions and oral tradition from several cultures, while exploring concepts of female individuality, the self and the community.
In this synthetic exercise of formal refinement, we access language through rhythm, movement, the kinetic and the loom. “One of the most interesting Animists myths from the African Sahel tells the story of how humans lacked words. To compensate this, the god of water decides one day to give them the word through the loom – a tool chosen by the gods. The weaver enters the words between warp and weft. Sentences are then, formed. The cloth is knitted. When wearing that cloth, man acquires language.
At the centre of the myth lies the principle of woman as “maker” – a symbolic matrix where the creative word takes root (the narrator being masculine); and from the (sexual) act of oral transmission language is engendered: the instrument of human communication. The voice. “As the genie recited, his words started filling the interstices of the cloth. They were knitted between the yarns and formed a whole with the beam. They were the same cloth and the cloth was the verb.
The artist continues to knit symbolic images in the present project, recovering the etymology of the English word “women” (from Ancient Sanskrit origin). A compound formed by “man”, which means moon, and the root “wo”, meaning wife. The Old English word for “wife” is derived from “weef”, meaning “maker” or “weaver”. Again we are confronted here with the archetype of the mother creator, the maker, whereas the fabric stands as a metaphor for understanding the relationship between the everyday and the sacred. Wo-man: moon weaver. The weaver, who teaches and conveys the language. The sacred feminine, weaving yearns into the continuum fabric of time, holding the world in it – the verge of that, which can be said, expressed, remembered (“the structure of narration protects us”).
Constructing and deconstructing myths, in the several works on display (Retorno, 2013, Vox Populi, 2015), the hands of Penelope knit and unravel, make and undo time inside a circular score weaving memories of the artist herself, in an odyssey passing through many Ithacas (Galicia – Catalunya – Mali – Algeria – Sáhara – Cádiz). The weaves, the yarns, the sands.
This travel of symbolic intermittences is loaded with ambivalent elements (just like the swinging of the loom), where the voice, represented through sound, and rhythm, represented by the moving image in the video, is conjured up and contained at times, muffled by tridimensional elements absorbing it, together with changes in the light: revealing or concealing it.
The repetition of these rhythmic elements constitutes the foundation for a political-conceptual framework inside Millán’s oeuvre, underpinning an affirmation of the voice of women who narrate (or weave) from the edges of neglect and marginalisation.
In Melhfa (2015), 210 wood pellets padded with Saharan cloth present a canvas-like composition which refers to minimalism’ nostalgia for the body, here featured as omitted subject of a sentence, together with an exercise of formal refinement.
But what does the silent loom of Pilar Millán want to tell us? One; two; one, two; one, two; one, two; one, two; one, two. The loom’s axis twirls, counting, singing: a kinetic soliloquy progressing, rewinding, turning, returning, knitting, unravelling, writing, erasing, doing, undoing, joining, isolating, speaking, silencing, remembering and forgetting. Like The Waves of Virgina Woolf: a stream of consciousness by six voices, a prose poem, a rhythmic atmosphere where each character is different but together they compose an image on the basis of a core silent consciousness. Bernard, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Jinny and Louis. The waves, the yarns, the sands, the weavers, the words and the voices.
www (Women, Weavers and Waves) (fragment- text of the digital catalog of the exhibition WO-MAN). Paz Ponce Pérez-Bustamante.
“This travel of symbolic intermittences is loaded with ambivalent elements (just like the swinging of the loom), where the voice, represented through sound, and rhythm, represented by the moving image in the video, is conjured up and contained at times, muffled by tridimensional elements absorbing it, together with changes in the light: revealing or concealing it. The repetition of these rhythmic elements constitutes the foundation for a political-conceptual framework inside Millán’s oeuvre, underpinning an affirmation of the voice of women who narrate (or weave) from the edges of neglect and marginalization.”