Narcissus Vanity Series: The Pond, Reflection, Echo, Metamorphosis / Serie de coquetas de Narciso: El estanque, Reflexion, Eco, Metamorfosis (1980-1984) Welded steel / hierro soldado

Jorge Luis was drawn to the motif of creating a four-part series after encountering The Back Series, four bas-relief sculptures by the French artist Henri Matisse, on display at the Sculpture Garden of the Museum of Modern Art in 1972. The result was a figurative, abstract interpretation of the Greek myth of Narcissus. In the version found in Book III of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Echo, a nymph, falls in love with Narcissus. Narcissus, however, known for his beauty, rejects her. She in turn wastes away until leaving behind only the acoustic phenomenon for which her name is associated. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, then decides to punish Narcissus by luring him to a pond to confront his reflection. Obsessed with the image of his own beauty, he too wastes away, his body transformed into the eponymous flower. Each sculpture included in the series portrays a specific event in the story. The Pond, for example, depicts the location where Narcissus is drawn to his reflection. The water lilies are figurative, though also foreshadow the transformation of the protagonist from fauna to flora. Reflection then alludes to the mirror image that captivates Narcissus and leads to his downfall. In Echo, the sculpture is pitched to resonate with whatever sound is made by the viewer, which, in turn, shifts perspective of the narrative to the lovesick nymph. Finally, there is Metamorphosis, the denouement of the myth. Narcissus completes his transformation from fauna to flora, akin to the natural life cycle of all living things. As the most ornate vanity dresser of the series, it is covered almost entirely in foliage to signal the abrupt shift that has taken place. The artist encourages the viewer to also participate in this transformation. The role of protagonist, for example, can be adapted for a ballet dancer who would perform an interpretive routine set to musical accompaniment.

Jorge Luis se sintio atraida a crear una serie de cuatro partes despues de encontrarse con The Back Series, cuatro esculturas de bas-relief del artista frances Henri Matisse, expuestas en el Sculpture Garden del Museum of Modern Art en 1972. El resultado fue una interpretacion figurativa y abstracta del mito griego de Narciso. En la version encontrada en el Libro III de las Metamorfosis de Ovidio, Echo, una ninfa, se enamora de Narciso. Narciso, sin embargo, conocido por su belleza, la rechaza. Ella, a su vez, se desintegra hasta dejar atras solamente el fenomeno acustico, al cual su nombre se asocia. Nemesis, la diosa de la venganza, decide entonces castigar a Narciso atrayendolo a un estanque para confrontar su reflejo. Obsesionado con la imagen de su propia belleza, el tambien desaparece, su cuerpo transformado en la flor eponima. Cada escultura incluida en la serie retrata un evento especifico en la historia. El Estanque, por ejemplo, representa el lugar donde Narciso es atraido a su reflejo. Los nenufares son figurativos, aunque tambien presagian la transformacion del protagonista de la fauna a la flora. Reflexion entonces alude a la imagen que cautiva Narciso y conduce a su caida. En Eco, la escultura es lanzada para resonar con cualquier sonido hecho por el espectador, que, a su vez, cambia la perspectiva de la narrativa a la ninfa enamorada. Finalmente, hay Metamorfosis, el desenlace del mito. Narciso completa su transformacion de la fauna a la flora, similar al ciclo de vida natural de todos los seres vivos. Como el tocador mas adornado de la serie, se cubre casi enteramente en follaje para senalar el cambio abrupto que ha ocurrido. El artista anima al espectador a participar tambien en esta transformacion. El papel de protagonista, por ejemplo, puede ser adaptado para un bailarin de ballet que llevaria a cabo una rutina interpretativa con acompanamiento musical.

© 2018 Jorge Luis Rodriguez All rights reserved