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Bela Gold’s Archives

Wednesday, 19 March 2014 18:10 Written by Karen Coredero

The work of Bela Gold is astonishing because of its exquisite craftsmanship and ominous sources. On the basis of images from documents related to the Holocaust and traces of individual human  presences that have disappeared she produces objects that transmute their material nature at the formal level. She uses traditional media and new technologies to re-signify the spelling, graphics and faces that entail a memory of the unspeakable, allowing an aesthetic coexistence with them that triggers a link based primarily on textures and colors.

Although her conceptual starting point is absence, Bela’s work begins with the body and the senses, the basic element of presence. Her media- stone, paper, bait, recycled wood, leather– remind one of nature and the richness of the sensory experience that make it possible while evoking the inscription of time in the field, combining sophisticated procedures for digital manipulation with artisanal elements and processes. The spatial arrangement and size of her production also require the involvement of the whole body: not only sight but also touch and movement in space.

Within this context, Bela’s archive becomes a virtual reference that is reactivated through its insertion into art. It is no coincidence in this sense that graphics and etching as a technique serve as the backdrop to her production, although she moves away from traditional techniques and dimensions. Likewise, what her work activates in the documents is not their historical value or readability, even though they are implicit, but rather their aura, the human presence they confirm and the communicative value of the forms rescued from oblivion. Books, one of the formats Bela uses, ranging from a bound format to long, embroidered fabrics, are handled in a deliberately complex way, because of their size and the materials used – which makes readability difficult, creating a sensation of sculpture and installation, as a life experience rather than narration. Thus in Bela’s archives, history is synchronic rather than diachronic, involving us through aesthetic reception in a dialogue that results in a renewed ethical awareness, a present archive that cannot be relegated to the shelves of a library, landfills or collective amnesia.
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