It took between 3 and 4 hours to the oven to reach 1.600 ºC during the evening of this last day of January 2015. This oven made of earth stocked in a wooden structure was built along the week before inside Fonseca’s tower. The moon was at its zenith and we were looking to it thru the acrylic dome which covers the top of the tower. The fire in the oven and the moon provided the only light inside the tower. The atmosphere was a kind of a ritual one due to the ancestral activity we were repeating: melting copper was what Arturo Hernández Alcazar decided to do.
During all the heating time Juan Pablo Macias was writing The Priest and the Devil, a short text written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1849 when he was in jail in Siberia. Macias used a nail and wrote directly on one of the 5 concrete modules painted white that feed the basement of the tower.
When the copper became liquid, it was finally ready to be spread on the floor. Master Lima and his assistant did so. Two splashes of incandescent copper took about 20 minutes to go out and get back to a solid state. 20 minutes of silence shared by 8 persons.
Friday February 6, 2015 – 11am
250 kg of carbon were violently dispersed in the tower. The gunpowder was on the floor and the strength of the explosion made that even the highest part of the construction shows black stains. All the basement of the tower including the 5 modules and the oven were completely covered by this black powder. The acrylic dome was removed before to activate the gunpowder.
Some post-production reflections:
This was the first group show ever produced in Fonseca’s tower and at the end it appears as a single collective installation realized by four artists: Hernández Alcázar, Macias, de Vega and Fonseca! Because even if Fonseca didn’t have the chance to approve or disapprove what the three other artists were planning to do in his 68’ sculpture – Gonzalo Fonseca died in 1997 – we know thru Luis Javier de la Torre that Fonseca wanted his tower to be occupied, he wanted that things happen there. The impression to be in front of a single artwork comes from the carbon covering partially the text written by Macias, the oven and the copper on the floor. The black carbon relies and casts everything together including the tower itself.
Sobre Negro as a metaphor of the time we are living when there is no week without a massacre on earth.
Metal in fusion, short eruption of fire, and ephemeral emission of dark smoke transformed briefly Fonseca’s tower into an artistic representation of a volcano on the old site of a real one: el Xitle.