Magazine article Artforum International

Miguel Ventura. (Reviews)

Magazine article Artforum International

Miguel Ventura. (Reviews)

Article excerpt

MUSEO DE ARTE CARRILLO GIL

Modernism equated artistic fulfillment with the achievement of expressive uniqueness. Miguel Ventura has met this ideal literally by devising and promoting his very own language, Nilcese, named after the fanciful New Interterritorial Language Committee (NILC). No Esperanto, Ventura's linguistic contrivance was conceived, again literally, tongue in cheek. The drawing series "Los cuadernos de Mademoiselle Heidi Schreber" (The notebooks of Mademoiselle Heidi Schreber), 1993, shows the artist's tongue stretching out, multiplying, and mutating to entangle, lacerate, and displace his own face, which eventually morphs into that of a girl whose undulating blond braids become the letters of the Nilcese alphabet. This Aryan lass, Mile. Heidi Schreber, is an extrapolation from the paranoiac hallucinations of Daniel Paul Schreber, whose Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (1903), the subject of a case study by Freud, expounds his mission to redeem the world by being divinely transformed into a woman. Likewise Ventura's Heidi w ould redeem humankind by propagating a reengineered language fit for the Orwellian future of a genetically altered, blond, and generously endowed race.

Ventura has availed himself for some time of such technologies-as digitally retouched photography and video to mold the antiseptic atmosphere he favors for his wacky linguistic evangelizing. In the photo animation Contemplando el Rio Amoxapina (Looking at the Amoxapina River), 1996, the braid alphabet unfolds in Ventura's drag impersonation of Heidi Schreber while the promise of a Nilcesian future is exalted as the artist sings (in English) an elegiac hymn that sounds like something out of Mao's little red book. Didactic dissemination is the task of the video Ejercicios o El regreso del cuerpo, Language IV (Exercises, or the return of the body, language IV), 1998, in which the artist and his female assistant play Nilcese instructors. …

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