Martha Perez Leon Crime Scene Photos: Taking even a few steps into the room is enough to make anyone uneasy. Shaken. To protect your feet from the bloody sea of bodies and words, disposable shoe covers are provided, just as they would be at a crime scene.
In the form of shadows on the ground, they represent the lives of women devastated by discrimination and violence. One such letter reads, “you put flowers in his hands so that he can place them in my hands every time he murders me and make my burial appear lovely.”
Each word and sentence is like a piece of evidence that reveals a horrible truth. Marta Pérez Garcia’s “If I Catch You… Body, Woman, Fracture” is an immersive installation that, in every direction you look, brings to mind the rawness of loss, death, suffering, and anguish.
Thousands of shell casings, teeth, and eyeballs are scattered across the floor in the installation’s focal point, serving as a reminder of the women who were killed, of the body parts that are eventually discovered but remain unnamed, and of the eyes that witness violence but remain silent and indifferent.
The bomba song “If I Catch You,” written by Bobby Capó and made famous by the band Ismael Rivera and his Cachimbos in 1977, serves as both the installation’s inspiration and title. Suddenly, a murmur begins drifting in from all directions, drowning the male voice singing the song in the background.
When his girlfriend flirts with another man, the protagonist of this song threatens to punch her in the face. As women’s voices narrate their own stories of assault and survival, the singer’s voice fades away in Santurce’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC, for short).
Image Source: Theweeklyjournal
I look up to see what’s making all that noise and discover an army of dolls perched on a metal platform. Standing. After the MAC approached Pérez five years ago, she finally got to work on the controversial project. This has always been intended as a collaborative piece of music.
I hoped that it would spark discussion. To bend down and avoid trampling the notes and correspondence. The artist told THE WEEKLY JOURNAL, “I want them to look down and linger as they wander around the circle, to think and contemplate about gender violence.
The words and language used were also crucial. “I feel that when you speak your narrative, not simply keep it swirling in your head, you liberate yourself,” said Pérez, famous for her lithographs and feminist art.
The materials for the exhibition were also carefully selected by the Puerto Rican artist, who is now based in Washington, D.C. Nylon and pantyhose represent a woman’s fragile skin, which is easily torn; dolls and alphabet blocks allude to early childhood, and the cyclical nature of violence.
Pérez said of the piece’s theme, “I wanted to confront this issue because I think all women have been exposed to some sort of abuse,” which ironically premiered as feminist groups demanded that Governor Wanda Vázquez proclaim a state of emergency owing to an increase in domestic violence homicides.
There have been twelve female victims of male violence. The artist acknowledged the shock the exhibit could cause by saying, “Violence is not pretty.” Once Pérez had established the parameters for her artistic endeavors, she began collaborating with women on the island and in her new home city who had overcome domestic violence.
Hundreds made dolls that move the piece of survivors. A new doll/body was created with each stitch, and an old emotional scar was patched up. Pérez said, “It is much simpler to express your pain via art than to talk about it.”
This idea is reflected in the finished product. It investigates the boundaries of the human body, the connection between artists and their audiences, and the therapeutic potential of art. The dolls’ skins now bear the message “I am not a doll,” attesting to the transformation.
Please don’t touch me. No way.” Listen to my body: In other words, “my vagina is not yours to take whenever you like.” The dolls stand as a unit, erect, and facing the crowd. Pérez said the women in the montage “represent this group of women who are unified and strong, standing, exercising their right to speak and not to hide any longer.”
However, the exhibition is up through October 12th and takes things further. From a feminist point of view, the artist has appropriated the imagery associated with women’s submission, such as pantyhose, which traps women in androcentric beauty standards, and dolls, which are typically used to shape women’s behavior, and transformed them into weapons against sexism and misogyny.
How? By providing the project’s female participants the confidence to speak out against the violence they had experienced and the means to recover their lives. The feminist philosopher Hélène Cixous advocated for women to “write themselves into text, the world, and history,” and Pérez’s takeover echoes these ideas.
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For almost 4 years, Jason Martin has been a freelance writer for newspapers, journals, blogs, books, and online material. He covers the most recent news as well as many other topics.