Objetos del ausente

objects of the absent. The garment without the body, the empty shell, the absent pearl.
Objects that belonged or were made by their owners, that dressed their humanity or addressed their desires. Everyday objects now named, baptized as art, undressed of their anonymous fashion and redressed with the sacredness of absence, the hierarchy of loss.
Objects to remember, to put together, after the morning of mourning has given way to a clear day when you can see forever.
To begin with: Anselmo’s shoes, Jorge’s shirt, Alberto’s mask. An urban planner, a concert pianist, a mask maker killed by AIDS. Friends, dear friends, and then the friends and relatives long gone of new friends here in Albany and not just the dead since for some a country left behind is also a death in the family.
Neither nostalgia nor celebration, the objects of the absent try to grasp some of the essence of loss, recapturing and transforming grief into art, pain into joy. A quiet joy, but nonetheless a joy, the joy of creation.


Antonio Martorell
OCTOBER 24, 1997