In OPN's work everything takes on a specular nuance. The spectator does not only contribute to the creative process but he is also a key part of it. These are works in which tension and the abyss is convened. Electronic and robotic, they work with subtle optical effects, in search for the immanency of a revelation and ensuring that the spectator succumbs to the image, dissolving himself in it. In the works gathered in the exhibition Kokemuksen Kehtolaulu, Finnish for Dogmatic Lullaby, a series that was produced in Finland, the mirror becomes a subtle membrane that works as a scenario, which is consolidated through the construction of the figure, as an energetic cuticle of multiple intercrossings. In this way it is configured as an active, dialectic background. But above all it conforms as a threshold able of eroding the image, discovering certain loneliness in a kind of abyss. In these mirrors the presence is always inconclusive and it works as a question mark, as a saturated void. In the end, as Lacan would state, the specular image resembles the threshold of the visible world, "if we are to give credit to the mirror disposition by which the imago of one's own body is presented in hallucinations or dreams, whether it concerns its individual features, or even its infirmities, or its object-projections, or whether we pay attention to the role of the mirror itself in the appearances of the double, in which psychic realities are manifested, otherwise heterogenic" .
It is tempting to approach Rimbaud's "Je et un autre" here, or Orson Welles' broken mirror in the Lady from Shanghai in order to contextualise the cracks that are distilled in fractal portraits. But I think what this is about is rather a more sensitive resonance, like the link that according to Deleuze connects Bacon with Cezanne, which consists of painting the sensation. Bacon called it "to register the facts". To him, the sensation is the master of deformations, pointing out that it is about passing from one state to another, from one level to another, from one territory to another. The association to OPN Studio's work might seem strange, but it is not if we think about how they also try to approach the fragility of existence and the search for the "Self" in many of their works. The mirrors of the Dogmatic Lullaby series accept the reflection of the spectator together with a progressive appearance of an image of a woman, in the same way that Bacon accepts the reflection issue as something of vital importance, with paintings that are compulsorily protected with glass so that the brilliance of the glass reflects the light and so that the image that is to be discovered can't be totally discovered. In his interviews, Bacon speaks of sensitive levels, of shifting sequences, of sensitive domains, of orders of sensations, etc., nothing more appropriate to describe the universe of OPN, also framed, as Bacon's paintings, with ornament more according to the Baroque era.
After all, there is nothing more Baroque than the cut, the rupture. And the suspension of meaning, the confusion. The Baroque intends to move the audience, and its fragments are nothing but a kind of secret in motion. And nothing more Baroque than the still-life, that place where apparently nothing happens but that reveals itself as a paradox of the immobile, since it is death itself, the passing of time that when represented implies the blocking of the time of representation. Sam Taylor-Wood projects this perfectly in a recreation of a still-life representing the decomposition of a rabbit. But also in the self-reflective nature that Vanitta by OPN Studio offers, in which the mirrors move to direct that detained privacy towards the fragmented figure and its minimum condition, in which personality and security is divided and cracked. Némesis also invites us to reflect on the fragmentation of the individual, denouncing the narcissistic state of our existence. As in earlier works by OPN Studio, as Culto al Vacío, based on Gilles Lipovetsky's ideas, there is an allusion to myth in order to question the lack of connection in today's world, more and more individual, more and more fractured. Once again, vanity and personal reflection as a way to reaffirm identity. In this way we understand the importance of Marcel Broodthaers' very self-reflective film A second of eternity, in which its twenty four frames reconstruct in subsequent gestures the artist's signature, and its supposed eternity. The film lasts for a second, because to Broodthaers a second to Narcissus is indeed the time of eternity. The retinal persistence has an eternal durability in Narcissus and hence the importance of the deconstruction of OPN Studio's proposal.
Going back in time, we find another interesting work when contextualising these works, the closed loop-system installation Present Continuous Past(s) (1974), by Dan Graham. Past and present coexist in it. A series of mirrors reflect present time while a video camera is recording what is happening in that present, but the image appears on the video screen eight seconds later due to a retardant between the recording and the screening video. While we look at the screen we see an image of ourselves from eight seconds ago, but also what is reflected in the mirror eight more seconds ago, that is, sixteen seconds earlier, in an infinite regression of continuous temporary time units within others, and these, in turn, within others. As in the case of Dogmatic Lullaby by OPN Studio, which consists of a series of mirrors in which the spectator sees his own face reflected as, at the same time, the image of a woman appears progressively with a fragment of life, a sort of mental time is being represented, an extended present that reminds us that we are the result of a past, that we are the product of others' experiences and who we need more than it would seem. The spectator is subject and object, he sees and he sees himself watching. It is the simultaneity of our being as a thing and as subject. An observer who is active and passive, as a consciousness and as an image.
In this sense, the optical effect in OPN Studio's works is close to moiré, in some cases literally and metaphorically in others. Not long ago, in a recent text, I referred to other images that we could, just as these, place in a lost field, those of photographer Aitor Ortiz. I did this through the words of Georges Didi-Huberman when he states that "the modality of the visible becomes ineluctable - i.e, destined to a question of being- when seeing is feeling that we are ineluctably missing something, in other words, when seeing is losing" . It is almost as if forms would grow towards their extinction, as in the indefinite approach that Tarkovsky proclaims, stating that any way of approach is indeed a distance . This is where we have to place OPN Studio's early works as Reset or the kinetic disorder of Mesh Plasm or Mesh Cell who are based on the principles of the moiré, as in certain way approached by Dogmatic Lullaby through sensitive figuration. We might think of Bridget Riley and how she weighs up the distance between the physical and the physicality of the observer. And we might recall masters of Concrete Photography such as Gottfried Jäger or Pierre Cordier. Because we are talking about interferences, events, driftings. I am also thinking of Dual Cineticográficas, or in the kind of holography that is projected in New Core, of more fractal appearance. It is about reconstructing the image into a latent, suspended, uncertain landscape. Time unfolds the meaning of the works; the sound as well, taking us slowly towards the abyssal. It is an invitation to delay. The image is produced rather than given; it is the result of a transit, of a drift.
Also in Sincrónica, in which the kinetic arises from the shadows and a spiral movement that makes it inevitable to think about Maholy-Nagy's essays in light and form, so architectural and object-oriented, though they would cease to be identifiable. In both cases the finish is perfect, though in this case we are more interested in the singular and how each synchronous behaves. They are diachronic studies resulting from observation. Dynamical, robotic, threatening and spectral, they are both presence and absence, reappearances in permanent retreat. Time is detached and reality always seems intermediate, abstract and fragile, as in Dogmatic Lullaby, by way of a resonance of the very existence, just as the sound of the lullaby soothing us and, at the same time, preventing us from falling asleep.