Here is the new and long-awaited publication by Javier Viver, after Révélations. Javier brings us both a book and an exhibition, inaugurated on April 26 at the Museum of the University of Navarra, which also publishes the book.
If Révélations explored human pain, Aurelia takes us beyond it, to the edge of everything that makes up our humanity and its finiteness. Several books are arriving these days that in one way or another, in a very different way, deal with the subject of death. Javier presents us with a dilemma, both philosophical and ethical, religious and artistic, under a scientific appearance.
Aurelia Immortal (with two M’s, in English, the language used by the scientific community) is the name of a common jellyfish that has the particularity, discovered by the Chinese biologist He Jinru, of being immortal, by regenerating after death. Javier shows us the cycle of Aurelia’s life, with a very beautiful series of photographs taken with microscopic cameras, forming in the leporello a cycle that has neither beginning nor end, with the detail of hiding in the covers of the book some magnets that join them to form the perfect cycle. Aurelia Immortales has a lot inside.
Wrapped in gold, symbol of perpetuity, the book tells us of man’s desire to succeed in defeating death, and of the project called 2045, the year according to which immortality would finally be achieved, through uniqueness. A project very seriously studied by the “Singular University” launched by Google and NASA, with the best scientists. “Aurelia Immortal” makes a journey between the present, the already verified immortality of the fabulous jellyfish and the future, projecting us into the year 2046, from where Javier writes his notes in his diary, telling us how the research that leads him to this work began.
Thus Javier presents us with a work with multiple facets, a fascinating “mise en abyme” from the hypnotic and so beautiful blue dance of the jellyfish and its radiating light, (inside it is the figure of a four-leaf clover, which will be transformed into the symbol of immortality), to the future and the evolution towards a transhuman life. From the genesis of the work, starting with the letter sent to the student in biology, to the advances that science has “made”, with the materialization of clones.
Between the beginning and the end are the great questions and uncertainties, which lead each man to reflect on his own finiteness, and on the role of art throughout history, which has been nothing more than an attempt to overcome death, bordering on the idea of eternity. Is Art finished if immortality is achieved? What is it for now? asks Javier Viver, while showing us some photographs of fossilised bodies from Pompeii, life trapped in ashes.
The first clones seem to be born from drawings made by the demiurge Javier Viver, and they are all women (“we all want to be women”, he says…), disturbing photographs of an army of “replicants” in an aseptic and painless world.
Aurelia Immortal is a complex and ambitious work, in the best sense. With scientific approaches and methods, it uses however the most primitive tool of art, the hand of the artist. It takes us from the most microscopic particle to the most distant star. From the most perfect and ethereal creature to the most terrifying artifact. Full of symbols, it brings together beauty and uncertainty, past, present and future, inside its golden box.
And it must also be said that book and exhibition make up the same work, the book citing the exhibition and the exhibition feeding off the book… The installation that we can see these days at the Museo Universidad de Navarra shows both the series of photographs and the book itself, or some magnificent sculptural pieces that reproduce it in large size, as well as a video. We hope that it can be seen in other places below.
Aurelia falls in love and shakes at the same time. Javier Viver , an artist of great culture and great concerns offers us a deep reflection and a wonderful journey. Something like a Jules Verne humanist, poet and philosopher.
But he himself reminds us, “he who tells stories is a storyteller”…
… “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal – yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!”…
John Keats. Ode on a Grecian urn.
Many thanks to Javier and the Museum of the University of Navarra.