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   - Trampas y Seducción
   - Fragilites.Printemps de Septembre
   - Atrapados




The abject

Julia Kristeva defines the abject as "that which disrupts an identity, a system, an order. That which does not respect limits, places, rules". Naia del Castillo's photographs clearly come under this definition and are representations of the abject. Her work shows women diluted under viscous fluids, which reveal, by means of surgical slits, their insides, thus breaking the necessary and pure border between Inside/ Outside, between the body and its fluids; and the safe, clean, visible and recognisable outside. Any corporal alternation, its fragmentation, partitioning or transformation refers to the abject. Those figures should be defined as "Monsters" or better "Female Monsters" if we heed Noel Carroll or Barbara Creed, who used that term to call those beings that subvert the interstitial categories (in this case, inside/ outside), as well as those that are incomplete, categorically contradictory and even lacking form.

This reflection on the abject also takes place during the physical process of the creation of each piece. Photography is a discipline that, in its developing (or rather in this digital age, in its printing) has a materiality with which Naia del Castillo, a sculptor, works; specifically around the qualities can be obtained. Thus, high definition refers back to that perfection considered to be hyperrealism, of more precise and defined contours than we can find in reality. Instead, lower printing quality conveys the imperfect, the human. 

The artist's intention was to search for a slit, a hole, an injury to glimpse the nearly Renaissan-ce, hidden nature of the image, of the woman with marble skin with a vacant look under a jet of water. She then printed the same photograph in a lower quality and broke, violated the first image for the second layer to surface, to see "the entrails".

She superimposed one on another and photographed them. An ideal image that hides other imperfect ones. They are the layers of the same woman, the faceshields, masks or "persons" as Camille Plagia calls them, different roles, aspects or stereotypes that help us to survive in the social environment.

Yet before that, she soaks the "bad" photograph, as the model did, so that the inks run slightly. Water, where high definition gives a viscous texture similar to feminine fluids, impregnates both images, contaminating reality and fiction, crossing the Inside/ Outside border, self-referential intertextuality, as the water that falls on the model soaks the same paper hidden inside. Fascinating, threatening, feminine, undefined, abject monsters of many masks. 

Copy and original

This laborious and artisan work process yet again raises another question regarding photography and its copies. This discipline has traditionally been underva-lued due to its specific nature of generating countless copies, something that clashes head on with the idea of art as an origi-nal piece. After photographing, manipulating and photographing again, Naia commissions an oil copy of the work. The result is a painting that appears more "perfect", more "original" than its model, that shows those small granulated and runs of ink, those imperfections of its monstrous figures. 


The flow of water is movement, it is the fluid of life, the allegory of the feminine and death. There are two series of works that do not undergo the same water process: the video sequence "20 segundos" and "Sacos". 

As regards the former, it should be noted that even though video cards cannot be soaked, the video sequences are printed on wallpaper, which has to be dampened to stick it to the wall.

However, there is no type of manipulation of the physical copies of the "Sacos". 

Creating the mons-trous portraits invol-ved transforming the three dimensions of superimposed physi-cal photographs into the two dimensions of the final shot; the process is the reverse in the case of "Sacos": going from the flat to volume. Del Castillo prints the shots of the sequence of a woman, wet, rotating, on the brown paper of some bags blown up to the size of a person. Again, a viscous, morbid, partitioned body, whose fragmented movement simulta-neously shocks and disgusts, a female Frankenstein that is built with pieces of piled up, superim-posed pieces of bodies, wh icha re empty.

Work in process The places of the multiplied woman are grotesque, deformed. The paper, when blown up, becomes pleased that twists the expression and again stressed the monstrous, abject, nature of this work.

Work in process Monster that capture the glance of the viewers to worry them, to even horrify them, although they cannot, and do not want to, stop looking.
ltxaso del Castillo
Scriptwriter and lecturer in Audiovisual Communication and Advertising at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU)