- UNSTABLE STRATA
- 27 NOVEMBER — 10 JANUARY 2015
by Kim Schoen
In looking at Adriana Arroyo’s photograph LAMINA I, we hover, perhaps, from the same walkway in the image but situated farther back, outside the frame. We see a scene for looking and observing; we observe the observing stage; we follow its path around the jagged line of what appears to be a cavern’s edge with our eyes and stop at its center point. Below this path seems to be both (impossibly) a continuation of the rock and a mirror of the rock.
Odd in the teeth. What is the inverted plane of bone-white blankness underneath?
Arroyo’s large black-and-white photographs are landscapes we can enter, with our eyes, our bodies. We move from distance to intimacy across them. These are resemblances ‘that need no contact’ *—coral is to brain what bone is to rock; plates and fissures are to skulls and sutures in this “marvellous confrontation of resemblances across space.” In Arroyo’s archaeology, and from negative to print, symmetries and analogies reveal themselves.
In contemplating these resemblances between bodies and the earth, we first look to surfaces. Because it becomes clear that “these buried similitudes must be indicated on the surfaces of things; there must be visible marks for the invisible analogies. Is not any resemblance, after all, both the most obvious and the most hidden of things?” These photographs give us the most obvious and hint at the most hidden, touching the photograph’s potential for revealing and concealing. Everything is obvious at first. We enjoy the scopophilic pleasure of scanning the photograph: in LAMINA II, made from the inside of a skull, our eyes plunge in and out of the darkness. In LAMINA III we trace the winding coral. Even though two dimensional, Arroyo’s prints give us small trajectories of movement. And we sense the hidden connections looking brings together—the movement of thought.
Arroyo’s work works on Foucault’s third principle of resemblance: the analogy. In his discussion of this form of similitude, he quotes Crollius [from his Traité des Signatures], “In the analogy of the human animal to the earth it inhabits: his flesh is a glebe, his bones are rocks, his veins great rivers, his bladder is the sea, and his seven principal organs are the metals hidden in the shafts of mines.”