Núria Güell
Born in 1981 in Vidreres (Spain).
Lives in Vidreres (Spain).
"Ayuda Humanitaria", 2008–2013
19 Letters
Courtesy of the artist and ADN Gallery, Barcelona
The letters shown in Núria Güell's project "Ayuda Humanitaria" became the beginning of a five- year-long narrative, in which the dreams of romantic love became entangled with the socio-political realities of today's world. Having arrived in Cuba, the Spanish artist discovered that she was of special interest to the local men that strived to immigrate to Europe. She announced a competition of the best love letter, promising to marry the winner, and thereby provide him with a Spanish passport. The jury, which consisted of prostitutes invited by the artist (since this was in fact paid love), determined the best letter, and its author would in the years leading to the official divorce which marked the end of the project become the husband of the artist and a Spanish national, having his dream come true and experiencing disappointment, learning of life in Europe from the inside. However, this happens later. In front of us now are the letters sent to the competition, which remind us of the best examples of Western literature, from "Tristan and Isolde to Romeo and Juliet", which are the reflections of the ideal of romantic love. Literature has played an enormous role in the history of the cult of love, which allowed Erich Fromm to call romantic love "a magnificent art form". As a fact of culture that has been absorbed and fixed by a set of rules, it assumes recognizable templates and stylistic stamps, such as the comparison of a woman to a flower, repeated over and over again in the letters. These letters are to an imaginary and therefore perfect lover. Examining the work of the French psychoanalysis theorist Jacques Lacan, the Slovenian researcher Renata Salecl turns her attention to the curios duplicity, which characterizes our perception of our love object. Falling in love, we love the object of our emotion for the perfection, which we strive to ourselves, and simultaneously we put them in the place of the I-ideal, where we would like to see ourselves in a similar manner. Moreover, in romantic love the person of interest becomes especially significant in their inaccessibility, being "an object of constant longing". Salecl writes: "For romantic love to emerge, the real person need not be present; what is necessary is the existence of the image." This statement does not just illustrate the situation which became the start of Núria Güell's project, but also reveals another important mechanism of love relationships, formulated by Lacan: the subject gives to the other that, which he or she do not possess themselves. This ephemeral and unachievable object a generates desire, like the dream of the Promised Land, Europe, or the dream of perfect love.
artistic director of the project: Viktor Misiano
National Center for Contemporary Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
Made on