THE COLLECTIVE 62
Is a site-specific experience that will evolve through the passing of the days with the welcoming of Argentinian artist Desiree de Ridder and a wood burning updraft kiln that she constructed alongside the artists at the Collective62 compound. A Fire Offering flourishes not as a group show, but rather as a collective experiment to get to experience each member of this community more deeply. It is an exercise to play with fire in the laboratory of the soul, as the alchemists did. The mediums are raw materials, clay, water, grass, sand and manure. Each artist brings their knowledge from the native flora and fauna to the clay; they learn collectively how to work together, how to mold themselves, when to stop and how to continue. Desiree brought with her a recipe for a kiln and a way of making with what is at hand. She sources, processes, and analyzes the possibilities to live more honestly with the land at hand. That is the spirit of the exercise.
To build a kiln in the space means to bring a new energy to the Collective. There are hidden histories that live within this action, and we are yet to know and understand what they are and how they will manifest, but it is about
the process itself, not the end game. One thing that amazed me, as part of building the kiln, is the buildout of a pisadero, a space where all materials got mixed by people stepping on them until it reached the ideal consistency. It’s
a perfect metaphor for what happens in A Fire Offering, a moment in which all participants let go of what they have brought to the space to become one, there is no way to do the kiln without these steps, there is no possibility of playing and experimenting without everyone being ready to let go. Nina Surel, founder of Collective 62, set up the foundation, others came along and created the conditions. A Fire Offerings is a work that has been in the making since the inception of the Collective62. It becomes a Red Tent for the artists, where the world of women is allowed to unfold and transform in a myriad of ways. It is the work of the alchemist, the transformation of matter through a series of processes. In Magnum Opus, the great book of Alchemy, fire does the work. Fire is the process. Fire is the medium. Fire finds the gold. Nothing happens without fire or without desire. Nothing melts. Nothing evaporates or circulates. Our habits stay solidified; our perspectives remain hardened and cold. So, the alchemists have to tend to their desires to achieve transformation.
This secret fire is desire. In this way, A Fire Offering is a common ground for transforming the artist’s desires into a collective experiment and invites the wood-burning kiln to the TheCollective62 studio compound.
Sofia Bastidas Vivar