Tierras raras

Monday, 02 June 2014 14:08 Written by Josefína Alcazar    
Pop, surrealist literature, the Zaj group and the Fluxux movement are the major influences of Diana Olalde (Mexico, 1973), and the bases for her performances.

One of her passions is creating alternative personalities. It could be argued that she is known more for her aliases than her real name, or perhaps all her identities acquire a reality, and Diana is as real as Toti or Alicia Betabelle.

Her various personas are not designed to hide her personality or create a pseudonym to protect her and render her actions anonymous. On the contrary, her multiple identities serve to highlight various aspects of her personality. Through her aliases she does not hide but rather discovers herself.

As a result, she enjoys using masks to manage these diverse identities. In many of her actions, Toti covers her face, and the masks serve to enter the world of symbols, to play with the relationship between being and appearance, inside and outside. The word “mask” evokes Greek theater, comedy and tragedy. “Mask” means “person” in Latin. In Greek theater, the mask was used to hide one’s own appearance, so that an actor could play many characters merely by changing it. However, when Toti, Diana or Alicia cover their faces they do not do so to hide but rather to express their multiple facets.
One of Alicia’s characteristics is that she places other eyes over her eyes. These cartoon-like eyes, which have become her trademark, do not impede her sight but allow her to see beyond, and transcend the gaze. As Octavio Paz wrote, “The gaze that does not look and looks.”

Among her most significant performances are those in the series Water, and her performances The Wheel, Barter: Moving actions, Euphony and Sexuality killed the cat. In all of these, Toti attempts to discover what it means to be a woman in the 21st century.
For Olalde, performance has a liberating effect that enables her to recreate experiences through fantastical images.

Source: Documentary series by Performance Women in Action, Josefina Alcázar (compiler), 2006.
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