Erno Vroonen "Being Present"

The intention of this writing is to clarify “the present” of Cristina Barroso, being an artist of this new century. What kind of work has she developed within the last year? Is there a possible explanation for her evolution from “absolute” painting to the more conceptual work, which consists of photographs, prints, urban maps, plastic holders, sound and transparent photocopies?
Naturally it is absolutely legal for an artist, who experiences two different continents within one lifetime and in such an extreme way as Cristina Barroso does, to adjust her artistic practice to her personal circumstances of life. The used materials are mostly industrial products that can easily be found in different cities all over the world. Without any doubt, one can look at these new tolls as being more adaptable to different exhibition contexts. Secondly they guarantee more freedom to explore the large fields of creativity. And in doing so, they accelerate the artistic process within the work of Barroso. In a sense her pictures remains very recognizable for everyone of us, not only because of the readability of the form but also because they are connected micro- and microcosm in which we all live.To create them, however, it is important for her to be in a continuous open situation, in which she is able to grasp them. This attitude implies also the freedom of artistic expression.

So, at the beginning of the twenty-first century Cristina Barroso integrates new elements in her work. In a time where it becomes more and more difficult to live without internet, e-mail, portable telephones and other multi-levelled communication systems, Barroso feels how her creativity wants to respond to these systems in a critical way. Within her recent artwork she reflects upon the idea of place and displacement. Where is someone´s private place? Is it possible to create one´s own and, at the same time, be part of the mass media oriented world? And what about identity? Barroso confronts the viewer with fragments of pictures of her own history in relationship with her national background. As transparent photocopies they are layered over geographic maps who are the origin
of this information. Through this juxtaposition she communicates the wish to be seen as an individual person in the network of modern civilization.
But above all this, one shall not forget that the necessity of the identity stands in direct relation with the need to be present within a certain time and place.

Maybe that is why Cristina Barroso gives in her latest work so much importance to the numbers that make possible to locate the human within time and space. For Barroso they are very important because their function as point of reference for her own “beingness”.
Erno Vroonen
Munich, March 2000