Rebus as Paragon
There is also, among those stills, Rebus – an intriguing vision of a woman whose body is almost entirely covered by a squared folded impenetrable metal. The image behind the strange shield could only be guessed, as in a rebus. Like in the Unveiling, the screen disguising the woman’s body in Rebus opens up sporadically in some windows torn in the metal, to display esoteric symbols. Their meaning is no doubt significative – like everything Hagea does. But I must insist on the metapictorial effect of the image because this seems to be also part of the artist’s project. Again, Hagea plays with visibilities and invisibilities.
We may agree that the main discourse or, the text of the picture, is the woman’s body, the eternal sacrosanct mystery. The split meta-pictures in the windows are no doubt attempts to penetrate this ineffable enigma. They are meta-pictures, or para-texts, like in para/ergon. Let us come close to this important term. Paragon is what is added to the work (ergon), and according to some interpretations, it is what might be in conflict with it. As Derrida puts it, “parergon is against, next to and extra to the ergon, the work done.” In Hagea’s opus (ergon), these parergonal images are presumably some visual glossing around and about that impenetrable vision, which could only be contemplated as in a mirror, placed in a kind of mis en abîme. Indeed, in spite of the figurality and the visibility of the meta-pictures, the meaning of ergon remains undisclosed, it is a mere rebus essentially obscure. But as Derrida (La vérité en peinture, Paris, 1978, 63) argues, parergon is not totally lost. From a specific exterior point, it touches and cooperates within the operation. Neither completely exterior to the main discourse, not simply within it, it is a vision which we, the spectators, must accommodate alongside.
We may also read Hagea’s perplexing picture with J. Hillis Miller’s deconstructivist theory (Deconstruction and Criticism, New York, 1979, 219), where para is a “double antithetical prefix,” signifying at once proximity and distance, interiority and exteriority. Para- is a “permeable membrane” connecting inside and outside, placing the outside in, and the inside out, dividing and joining them. And this might be, after all, the very nature of this picture, a reflection of wit and grace of the artist, which enchants us, and once again seduces our soul. This is such a game (concetto in Spanish Baroque) in which we let ourselves be engaged.
(Text by Nicoletta Isar / Victor Hagea • Amazing, ISBN 13: 9789189685239)