In “Not Exactly Love,” a series of simultaneous videos, Leticia Bernaus caresses a dead fish, a big beautiful shell, brown-gray fur, a large side of meat, a bag of trash, a dead bird, and green grass. It’s not too much a stretch of the imagination to imagine a person experiencing real love for any one of these things (honestly, it’s not), but nevertheless that is not quite what Bernaus is doing. Her gesture is faultlessly gentle, seemingly endless, mesmerizingly patient—she is not being a lover here, she is being a caretaker, and she is doing it through the touch of her fingers. But caretaking what? Not an elderly relative or an ill child, but rather the things of the earth, rendered somehow inanimate. That’s where we live, folks, on a planet full of all sorts of things, extraordinary and not, being decimated one by one by one. At this point, it’s starting to seem like the best we can do might be to caress them gently after they die.
—Lori Waxman 2020-02-01 9:32 PM