Vanessa Donoso Lopez: A Painful Excess of Pleasure

6 September 2013

We move and displace ourselves from the moment we are born.  We try to identify with objects from an early age, in order to make a connection between our inner reality and the world outside of us. (1)

When an individual displaces themselves to an unknown geographic space, deliberately placing oneself in an alien context, they transform into the fundamental protagonist of a challenge, a challenge that is often initiated with the acceptance of loneliness.  Nonetheless we are able to enjoy the freedom that anonymity allows us and to appreciate the possibilities that uncertainty offers us.
Vanessa Donoso López  traces the journey from a familiar place to an unknown environment, and the type of experiences  one  encounters in order  to assimilate in this transition.  A Painful Excess of Pleasure, attempts to deal with this notion of a struggle between the enjoyment of experiencing a  new environment and at the same time the pain of trying to adjust to it.  Jouissance ( A painful excess of pleasure)  is Jacques Lacan’s notion which posits that the subject divides and is compelled to transgress the prohibitions imposed on his enjoyment and to endure a  pain beyond pleasure.
For this show Donoso López works with transitional objects, such as collected and handmade furniture, objects in glass boxes and various plants that act as vessels, holding the experience of surviving and changing in altering contexts.  The plants are presented as  traces of their original self made from a homemade laser machine- rekindling a sort of low-tech artisanal skill.  Alongside these works Donoso López  places a series of drawings which contemplate and explore the subject and its psychic duplicity.
The gallery hosts a large greenhouse structure, which like so many of Donoso López  pieces, acts as a container and a laboratory in which plants can alter and grow. This space invites the audience to walk in and around the objects within, traversing elements of the artist’s “inner psychic reality” and “external reality” and  her past and present. The provisional nature of the structure and the imperfect domestic objects talk of the balance between being settled and being uprooted. Vanessa Donoso López ‘s  work is committed to exploring concepts of transitional phenomena allied to contemporary  life, with its cross-cultural identity and narratives, its mutability and intricacy, and its potential for the loss of identity, language, and compatibility with original cultures.
Vanessa Donoso López was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1978 and now lives and works in Dublin. She studied in Spain at Llotja School of Art and Design, Barcelona and the University of Barcelona, and at Winchester College of Art in UK. Since graduating in 2004 Donos López  has exhibited both internationally and nationally and prolifically shown work throughout Ireland and Europe. Her decision to move to Ireland was deliberately to place herself within  unknown location, culture and landscape.
1. In 1951 English paediatrician and psychoanalyst Denis W. Winnicott introduced the theory of transitional object. This object, he suggested occupies an intermediate space between the “inner psychic reality” and the “external reality”.