Net Weight | Bogota

Isabella Bernal

19 August - 10 October, 2021

We have spent centuries digging the ground, moving the earth to bury seeds, waiting for the soul to sprout from its center and transform itself. They are centuries inventing rituals to celebrate the fruits that lie indestructible in the layers of the earth. The seed represents a cosmic connection that exists between the earth, life and the universe, it works as a repeating, cyclical and analogous mechanism that is inevitably incorporated into our body.

It has been a year since I began to collect the traces of food that were trapped in the siphon grate. A random seed selection exercise that occurred in front of the sea. At that moment, the friction with the others caused me to panic, not to mention the saliva of others. I tried to avoid glances on the few visits to the supermarket because the eyes behind the mask made me feel uncomfortable. In the house, there was no way to do without those anonymous presences. I had to face them at the kitchen faucet and imagine how many hands I had rolled that food through to be able to rub, one by one, the fruits in a sea of ​​detergent.

From this selection mechanic and subsequent ritual of revealing in a makeshift dark room, I built a fragmented, interrupted diary. It became a portrait of mutual exploration between my body, the earth through the camera. The seeds were my excuse. Over the days they began to dry on a wooden table on the balcony, wrinkled, changed color, became something else. Beyond their reproductive value and what could be their desire to return to earth, they stimulated me. They took me out of the distance. Their forms showed me tensions, frictions and ambiguities. Deep down he longed for contact, friction, indulgences like a lifeline against fear. I wanted to return to my body, to feel that it belonged to me again. The permanent and rapidly visible transformation of the seeds brought me closer to that materiality and it became evident to me in the development process, a ritual that leaves a mark, the dust of the negatives that is manifested in the Semillas series.

This ritual became my daily life. The sea and the seeds, made my desire grow. Far from the luminosity that seduces us in the heights, what this repetitive exercise meant was a reunion with those moments in which vitality manifests itself, it was like an impulse that hit me to the ground, which invited me to return to the plasticity of my body. At the end of the day, humans seek to rediscover the most primitive forms; moans, outbursts, shaking, contortions, grimaces. The seeds summoned that force that lives in our depths and in those of the Earth, where the rock dwells, that hermaphrodite element that resists and treasures darkness.

From submission to my nature I wanted to imagine a different existence. To think of a humanity guided by the potentialities of its leather as a source of creation, far from its biological functions. I recognized the interconnection between bodies as the basis to reconcile ourselves as a society, since polarity, shock, friction are necessary to disarm the distance that wants to settle in our muscular memory.

In the end, inhabiting the earth is letting yourself fall; exist in the weight and volume of the body. The body sustains life. Life happens on earth. Both - body and earth - are moved by involuntary forces that constitute living.

Isabella Bernal - Artist

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Bogotá, Colombia