The English adjective ‘Quixotic’ meaning ‘idealistic, unrealistic and impractical’ is derived from the name of eponymous hero of Miguel de Cervantes’ seminal 1615 Spanish novel ‘Don Quixote’. In it, the deluded Quixote, who is undergoing a mid-life crisis, acts out his fantasy of becoming a ‘knight errant’, wandering the Iberian savannah slaying imaginary monsters and visiting imaginary castles.
Martina Geier’s work seems to deliberately invoke the Quixotic, but not through the perhaps rather unfair creation of a fictional cipher, as Cervantes did with his hapless anti-hero. Instead this somewhat introspective artist has determined to chart the seeming impossibility of her own quest to embody the sensation of her own memories. And, my reference to Cervantes comedic interrogation of Medieval fantasy is not random, given that for her Masters’ show Martina’s installation explores her lifelong experiences of a decidedly romantic mountain-top castle in her Slovakian homeland.
Consequently, she has created artefacts intended to convey the haunting immateriality of memory itself. And yet through this process, she seems to remind us that such a mission, perhaps like all attempts to account for that strange phenomenon we call consciousness, must produce its inevitably Quixotic impossibilities. Part of the resulting psycho-geographic paradox stems from Martina’s use of incisively post-industrial techniques such as translucent resin casts and laser-etched sheets of perspex gripped in overlapping tension by nickel-plated fixings. The very materials themselves seem to speak of particular moments in art history, just as the castle turrets themselves speak of specific moments in architectural history—but what moments, whose histories? Etched into the layers of perspex we encounter mapped routes with neither destination nor starting point, broken into multiple fragments that never touch—and so, the quest to recover memory seems itself to be already lost, and is perhaps futile, even if nonetheless it remains tantalizing visually.
Dr Kimathi Donkor is an artist and university lecturer who lives and works in London. His solo exhibitions include ‘Some Clarity of Vision’ at Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg, S.A. (2015); group exhibitions include the 29th São Paulo Biennial (Brazil, 2010).
Martina Geier is an artist working across a range of media, exploring memory, psychogeography and place. She utiises analogue and digital photography, layered acrylic panels etched with image and text, and embroidered and printed fabrics. She has exhibited her work in 'Watch This Space', 2015, at Beaconsfield Gallery, Vauxhall; 'A Heap of Language', 2016, at Gasworks, Kennington; 'Launch', 2015, and 'New Wave', 2016, both at the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. Martina received her BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Middlesex University in 2015 and has continued her studies there on the MA Fine Art programme.