ON ABSURD: MONICA LOSS
“The Fear of Feeling Scared” by Brazilian artist Mônica Loss is a series of 29 photographs that dialogues with the absurd. The artist sewed red jasper stones into black gloves that were found in a thrift store. She then photographed herself while gesturing her hands in front of the camera. The experiment served to reflect on the current moment: the vulnerability brought by the pandemic, the absurdity that invaded everyday life and the impacts on mental health.
The tension that exists between the act of "hiding" versus "showing" is a paradox present in this work. In virtual spaces, how can self-exposure in front of cameras be re-signified? The body acts as a transparent shield, which simultaneously protects and exposes its weaknesses. The glove also synthesizes this idea, which exposes more than it hides. In the midst of a global pandemic, where masks and gloves are instruments of defense against an invisible virus, Monica's gloves expose our fear of what is not easily identifiable. The images are both attractive and odd.
"The fear of being scared" is also a matter of mental health and a reflection of the neurochemical imbalances that the artist herself has experienced in the past. For Monica, panic attacks were paralyzing episodes, where the sensation of intense fear incapacitated her.
Albert Camus, author of “The Stranger” is the main thinker of the Philosophy of Absurdism, in which internal conflicts in the search for the real meaning of life are questioned and the very absence of meaning comes as a conclusion. Unlike Nietzsche's existentialism, Camus offers a more optimistic look, arguing that we must accept the absurd in our lives and triumph over it, without surrendering to despair. For Camus, acceptance of the absurd is what leads to a life full of freedom. It is interesting to say that this was the author read by Mônica at the time of the execution of the series.
Is it possible to go through creative processes without going through absurd routes?