Seen from a distance, the photograph of Ri Anderson entitled "Orbit" resembles a part of outer space, yet, as we get closer we realize that we are looking at teeth. Upon learning more details about the craft of this work, we learn that what we believed were stars are the baby teeth of her daughters. Thus the idea that everything is made of the same substance is a common thread. The work that will be exhibited starting January 20 in The Museum of the City of Querétaro uses intimate family biography in abstract symbolism, Renaissance based scenarios, and Victorian Parlour Games.
One mythology is inserted into another: the history of the human family with its myths is inserted into the natural universal mythology. Ri Anderson has two daughters, Lola and Lucy, who have played different roles in her photographs. It is as if the collection called "Sangre de mi Sangre" was given the opportunity to imagine her family as part of a myth, and the myth of creation is given a biographical connotation. As in the best poetry each element ends up having multiple meanings: the umbilical cord in “Voyage to Mexico” is also the cord of the circus, something in which the photographer’s family became involved when they moved to San Miguel de Allende.
This body of work finds its inspiration in the history of the painting (like work of Cranach the Elder), as if the artist recognized the painters of whose works she has chosen to recreate as ancestors of her daughters. Everything has a whimsical character, and this is clarified by the artist explaining that "Families in the Victorian era had a game of riddles where they dressed and acted to recreate either a painting, a myth or a religious scene. I picked this parlor game as part of my way of creating portraits of my children.” In this way the origin, the moment of creating a photograph, has its first impulse in the recreation of a game, and in its most direct form corresponds to the portraits where Anderson’s daughters appear as the Guadalupe Virgin, or as a queen.
The rigorous technique of Ri Anderson not only includes the creation of well-balanced compositions and color that connects you with the substance of a painting, but also the minute development of a system Anderson calls "digital embroidery." This technical achievement has allowed her to work with her daughters' hair to create works with strong Catholic symbolism. "Lily", " Crown" and "Dove" are based on fine hair weaving, as if that which was said to be a shared substance of the Father (an essential theological notion to Catholicism) was therefore a shared substance of the human in its most intimate, physical version ⎯ the hair of her daughter Lola. Similarly, the meticulous play of the artist and her offspring in "Sacred Heart,” which is constituted by hundreds of images, in intimate repetition, of Lucy being born, reveals an essential reading of religion, and returns it to its etymology re-ligare "to rejoin .”
Ri Anderson focused her artistic interest on the sweat imprint at the dance floor. A disappearing sweat imprints as the monoprint of the human body reveals us her fascination with the unstable images and the seductive beauty of vanishing moments. The process and technique she embraced show us some recollection of the common artistic tactics of 20th century's avant-garde as well as elements of the Surrealist techniques of decalcomania and frottage.
The object of Ri Anderson interest is not the human body itself but the marks and traces as an evidence of being. Her photos of disembodied bodies look like a haunting and unerring reminiscence of the wet plate photography. Anderson was intrigued by the aspect of Mysticism focused on the nonmaterial and spiritual level of her inspiration. The photographic portraits of her Mexican circus troupe family and mystical idea of the fleeting moment leads her into an abstract painting that French conceptual artist Yves Klein labeled 'Anthropometry' in the 1950s. In her experiments with the photos of the human frottage, she reaches the strong spiritual connection with the models. With the genuine fascination of the indefinable she literally transmits the experience of the human object that reveals on the floor a spiritual impression of their bodies as an outline of the human soul.
The key idea of the Ri Anderson's portrait anthropometries is the fact that photographers could communicate with the viewer through the power of the astract form. Her personalized sweat imprints achieve powerful but intimate and personal visual message. With the effect of painting, she accomplished the magic that makes up the art of photography.