Laetitia Bermejo Castelnau is an electron dancing on the provocative edge of the atom. Bermejo has a talent for loosening taut nerves that constrain judgment, and allowing for laughter to enter the equation. Personal visions result, as waves of pigmented colors and descriptive intensities radiate from her artwork to tickle our neurons. As viewers and thinkers, suddenly, we feel more alive.
Laetitia Bermejo’s work is a growing organism — part mineral, part vegetable, part animal — whose leaves and limbs are all equally nutritious. Her visual production ranges from painting to assemblage to travel journals to installations. Her hands-on experience with her subject is tangible to the eye — you can feel the original impulse morsing through, her representation still attached to its roots and growing into our heads.
And there you are, turning and returning, to see what Laetitia has seen, to feel what she has felt, and to breathe free for that moment, savoring the ambiance — that perception from you synthesized through the filters of Laetitia´s extraordinary extrapolation mechanism. Parts moving independently. Her mind discovers fresh shapes from used ones. Her hands transcribe anew the mental imprint of a much-visited global reality. Her fingers massage our eyes and thoughts as they work their universal significations. And so begins our journey into this artist’s realm.
For many years, Laetitia Bermejo has painted the wild and willing figures she met and knew in many places around the world. She trained, swam and flew, bringing her pen and blank book along. She has sat and walked and drew, her life as a poem with her paintings as her song.
But one day, the music died down, as did many beings around her, retreating into the shadows as the colors drained from the world, and the painting stopped. While warlords fought over humanitarian aid, Laetitia picked through the reminders of her life, and of life in general, and she came across object-events and the threading of synchronicities. And so, she began sewing the pieces together: assorted stone hearts woven into a mandala, the real glamour Barbie from Chile refrocked as the imagined (though much too real) Mujaheddin Barbie, sheep bones dug-up sewn into the skeleton of a new christ incarnation. The ironic as irritant, humor as a punctum.
Piercing through the darkness of the newspapers, Laetitia Bermejo salvages glimmers of meaning. Why transcribe a sad situation? So as not to ignore it. So as to reconsider it. Why paint a joyful moment? So as to remember that feeling. So as to enjoy it again even if you were not there. Laetitia is an observer and a provider in this cycle of life and art. Sometimes she sketches the basics of a moment to expand it later upon canvas and sometimes she just observes a situation until she can’t take it in any longer then goes to work. Capturing the imprint, retranslating it without the mundane details, and reworking it until the expressivity convinces her hypercritical eye. And then, it is yours to plant, water and watch. A fertile emotional intelligence downloading its silent action, leaping out into our passive observations and stirring us up.
My imagination appreciates being invited into such full moon paintings — where the whole neighborhood is dancing, cheek to cheek, junkie to drunkard, mama to papa and all the habibis running naked through the woods, howling alongside unladen women. And my intelligence enjoys the freedom of the morning-after, awakening to such sun-drenched assemblages — where the hangover of opinion tans to the sound of a soothing but irrefutable dripping of glass, where the superiority of judgment is squeezed into an equality of questioning as our earth dries up and Bermejo throws in her juice.
And while Laetitia Bermejo´s paintings flicker and giggle, her bones hum. And the song returns — qué vive.
Article originally published: “The Enlivening Art of Laetitia Bermejo” at http://srfna.blogspot.pt/2004/11/enlivening-art-of-laetitia-bermejo.html