24 nov. 2015

The rationalization of feelings









The paradoxical expression "to believe in science" can lead us to induce that for many people, especially those who revere the reason above all forms of knowledge, science is a religion. In that case, the museum would have with no doubt the role of the cathedral. In that sense, and to gild the lily, modern science museums would represent the main stronghold in the constellation of museums. 


Let me introduce you a new photo series I've created to illustrate this idea. All the pictures were made in Barcelona in 2011. Recently I have converted them to black and white and added them some skies to mimic the effect of double exposure of the analogic cameras. I made this action in order to intensify the relation between knowledge and faith. I believe (or think!) both share a common goal: to make our lives more bearable.





 

                                                       CosmoCaixa (Barcelona, 2011)



                                                                                              (MNAC, 2011)



                                                                                                                              (MNAC, 2011)





If museums symbolize today's cathedrals, the National Art Museu of Catalunya (MNAC) in Barcelona not only shares with other museums the ritualization of culture but it literally houses parts from Romanesque churches inside. I am referring to the wall paintings. A couple of years ago I posed the following questions after visiting the rooms of the MNAC:

Where does the prayer end and the contemplation begin? When does contemplation fade and analysis start? The paintings have endured over time, but are no longer on holy ground... What impression are they giving us now when we look at them in a museum? We could assume that the XII century wall paintings enraptured the believer, they generated a mixture of the fascination and respect of the sacred arts. Within a museum the image is rationalized, we see it filtered by the reason, we observe it and examine it. But also what captivates us is its majesty, its beauty, its universality ... its art. Where does the sense of transcendence, the devotion, or the intellectual pleasure come from ? Perhaps there is a common place where emotions emerge... Aren't the emotions the stimuli that feed both faith and knowledge?

The light, size and peacefullness of a museum are similar to those experienced in churches. Even our behavior is similar in both spaces. Perhaps the most notable change of this transit from the museum to the church is it shown in our way of looking at the paintings. My working hypothesis here is simple: there has been a rationalization of feelings in our perception of the artworks.




                                                                       CosmoCaixa (Barcelona, 2011)



                                                                        CosmoCaixa (Barcelona, 2011)



                                                                  (Sagrada Familia, 2011)




La paradójica expresión “creer en la ciencia” puede llevarnos a inducir que para quienes veneran la razón por encima de todas las formas de conocimiento la ciencia es una religión. En ese caso, el museo tomaría, sin lugar a dudas, el papel de catedral. Y para rizán más el rizo, los museos modernos de ciencia representarían el bastión principal en la constelación de los museos. 


Os presento una nueva serie de imágenes que he creado para ilustrar esta idea. Todas las fotografías se hicieron en Barcelona en 2011. Recientemente las he pasado a blanco y negro y he añadido varios cielos mimetizando el efecto de la doble exposición de las cámaras analógicas. Esta acción tiene el fin de intensificar la relación entre la razón y la fe. Creo (o considero!) que ambas formas de conocimiento comparten un objetivo común: hacer que nuestra vida sea más soportable.
 


Si los museos simbolizan las catedrales de hoy en día, el Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) de Barcelona en particular no sólo comparte con el resto de museos la ritualización de la cultura sino que alberga literalmente partes materiales de las iglesias románicas en su interior. Me refiero a las pinturas murales. Hará un par de años me planteaba las siguientes cuestiones tras visitar las salas del MNAC:



¿Donde termina la oración y comienza la contemplación? ¿Cuándo se desvanece la contemplación y se inicia el análisis? Las pinturas han perdurado en el tiempo pero ya no están sobre suelo sagrado ... ¿qué impresión nos dan ahora cuando las miramos dentro de un museo? Podemos suponer que el s. XII las pinturas murales embelesaban el creyente, le generaban una mezcla de fascinación y respeto propia de las artes sacras. Dentro de un museo la imagen se racionaliza, la vemos filtrada por la razón, la observamos y la examinamos. Pero también nos cautiva su majestuosidad, su belleza, su universalidad... su arte. ¿Qué nos produce esa sensación de trascendencia, esta devoción, o este el placer intelectual? Quizás hay un lugar común donde se encuentran las emociones? ¿acaso no son éstas los estímulos que alimentan tanto la fe como el conocimiento?
La luz, las dimensiones, la tranquilidad y la paz de un museo son parecidas a las que experimentamos en las iglesias. Icluso nuestro comportamiento es similar en ambos espacios. Quizás el más notable cambio de este tránsito de iglesia al museo se manifiesta en nuestra mirada sobre las pinturas. Mi hipótesis de trabajo es sencilla: se ha producido una racionalización del sentimiento en nuestra percepción de las obras.




16 oct. 2015

Picasso's inspiring copyrights








The Picasso museum of Barcelona was one of the first museums I had the opportunity to photograph with the complicity of the institution. At that time (2011) the director of the museum was Pepe Serra. Several years earlier (2003), I had worked on a commissioned project (by Gao Lletres) called "La Pedrera as seen by... a biologist” . By then Pepe Serra was heading the cultural activities of the Casa Milà through the Territory and Landscape Foundation of Caixa Catalunya. Thanks to my work (he remembered it) and his natural enthusiasm he welcomed me in the museum, and I could take pictures periodically for a couple of months. Soon, Serra was appointed director of the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) and a new director got his place in The Picasso. This one was not so interested in my proposal of documenting how we look at artworks and the photographic series was stopped. In fact, the images have not been shown publicly since the paintings of the Spanish genius are protected by copyright. Given that what matters in my pictures is the individual looking and not so much the art piece, it seemed to me appropriate to intervene the photographs in order to address the concept of copyright.

Here I introduce you two different series. Both are the result of the impossibility to show Picasso's paintings. One is called Mirrors, and it refers to the self-referential relationship that we, as observers, have with an artwork that has been created to discuss about who observes (see also this other post Contemplatio Photographic installation). The second is called Only some pixels left. This series reflects how the limitations of Copyright in the art world can lead to new forms of visual expression. 



 Mirrors (Picasso museum Barcelona, 2011)










 









  




Only some pixels left (Picasso museum Barcelona, 2011)
























El museo Picasso de Barcelona fue uno de los primeros museos que tuve la oportunidad de fotografiar con la complicidad de la institución. En aquel entonces (2011) Pepe Serra era el director del museo. Por casualidad varios años antes (2003) Gao Lletres me encargargó un proyecto llamado “La Pedrera vista por… un biólogo”. Pepe Serra era entonces quien dirigía las actividades culturales de la Casa Milà a través de la Fundació Territori i Paisatge de Caixa Catalunya. Gracias a que recordaba mi trabajo y a su entusiasmo natural me abrió las puertas del museo, y pude hacer fotos periódicamente durante un par de meses. Al poco tiempo, Serra era nombrado director del Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) y le sucedía el actual director. A éste no le interesó tanto mi propuesta de documentar a quienes miran obras de arte y la serie fotográfica quedó parada. De hecho, las imágenes no se han mostrado públicamente debido que las pinturas del genio malagueño estan protegidas por derechos de autor. Pues bien, como en mis fotografías lo importante es la persona que mira y no tanto la obra, me ha parecido oportuno intervenir las fotografías con el objetivo de abordar el concepto de derechos de autor o copyright.



Aquí os presento dos series distintas, ambas son el resultado de la imposibilidad de mostrar las pinturas de Picasso. La primera la llamo Espejos, y se refiere a la relación autoreferencial que tenemos como observadores con una obra que se ha creado para hablar de quienes observan (mirar también este otro post Instalación fotográfica Contemplatio).

La segunda se llama Sólo nos quedan píxeles. Esta serie refleja cómo las limitaciones de los derechos de autor en el mundo del arte pueden conducir a nuevas formas de expresión visual.



 

22 oct. 2014

"Magic Rooms", the origins

Magic rooms is my first series about the phenomena of culture consumption and how we look at art. The pictures are made in 2009 and 2010, but it was shown as a fine-art series in 2011. This work obtained the El Pati de la Llotja award and was invited to participate at the EMERGENT Photography and Visual Arts International Festival (Lleida, Spain, 2011). Magic Rooms has been exhibited France (REGARDS Rencontres de Photographie - Villenueve de la Rivière, 2012), Spain (Sala EnArt photo&co -Lleida, 2012, LOOP Fair -Barcelona, 2012) and nowadays one can enjoy it in Germany (Gat Point Charlie – Berlin, 2014).




                                                                                            The watcher (2009)



                                                                                     Emerging absence (2009)



This is the original text I wrote in 2011 to decribe the series:


It moves me to observe people looking at something or someone. Perhaps it is because I identify with the person that stops to contemplate that which has caught their attention. I find that the attitude of observing the unknown and following it with the gaze reveals individuals as they truly are, stripped of their emotional armour and identifying clothes. Magic Rooms is my first photographic incursion on this theme and a small ode to contemplation.

This series of photographs is situated in a singular context: a fair of video art exhibited in the rooms of a hotel (LOOP fair, Hotel Catalonia Ramblas, Barcelona, 2009 and 2010). A labyrinth of corridors and bedrooms submerged in the darkness required for displaying the work. An enclosed space whose only windows to the exterior are fictions of light and movement. And it is that veil that separates fiction and reality that fades until it disappears into the shadows that envelop everything. The privacy associated with the idea of a bedroom contrasts with the presence of a public that circulates freely into every corner of the hotel. The spaces are shared and the concept of intimacy is redefined. Ultimately, the visitors are strangers that find themselves in the same bed, sharing a sofa or hiding in the same bathroom. Everyone visible under the half light of the video projections. Everyone submerged in the contemplation of the works.




                                                                                  The Rite (2009)



                                                                                             The witness (2009)



                                                                                       Backward glance (2010)



                                                                                           Failed meeting (2010)




                                                                                                The dock (2010)





                                                                                            The threshold (2010)





                                                                                          The experiment (2010)



                                                                                          Out of nothing (2009)





Magic Rooms can be also seen in my webpage.



Here I let some articles related to this work that were published in different media.



 Sortir (num.133) Sumpplement of L'Independent (18-05-2012, Perpignan, France)



Review by Josep Miquel Garcia- Diari Segre 30-09-2012 (Lleida, Spain)



The Sunday supplement - Lectura Segre 756 (18-11-2012, Lleida, Spain)



Remote viewing - A Book by Loop and Arts Santa Monica (2009, Barcelona)




And some pictures of the exhibition during the festival REGARDS Rencontres de Photographie (Villenueve de la Rivière, France, 2012).


 







                                              


  







14 oct. 2014

Contemplatio – The photographs

Contemplatio is a project that turns around an idea: how we look and relate to museums. It focuses on visitors’ attitudes and behaviours upon viewing the objects of a collection. The moments of calm, intimacy and contemplation that occur in these spaces fascinates me. I have the impression that we forget our concerns and everyday fears when we put our attention and curiosity in anything that awakens our senses. My priority is the person who is facing the object of knowledge, whether it's a work of art, an archaeological relic, or a scientific phenomenon. In other words, their reactions at the time of the real and direct contact with the object.



                                                                    The stranger



                                                                               Matter and Soul



                                                                                  Innocent walk



                                                                                            Way out



                                                                                        Face to face



                                                                                          Dish-man


                                                                                  Young hierarchy



This photo series is portraying the visitors of the Museu of Ceràmica de Barcelona, and it is the last visual record of the collection in the Palace of Pedralbes. A selection of 42 pictures conformed a photographic installation in the rooms of the Museum of Ceramics in 2013. Each picture was located where it was token and this played a game of presences and absences with the views of the room. The visitor, looking at the “other” visitor of the photography, could feel as reflected in a mirror (see this previous post).



















You can see some more picture in my website.







And also you can read about the creative experience in the museum of ceramics (although it's written in Catalan).


                            TERRART Revista de Ceramica Contemporania nº 42 - (2013)






A catalog was made for the photo installation in the Museu de Ceràmica de Barcelona. There are in total 61 pictures.















10 oct. 2014

Media coverage of Contemplatio

The project Contemplatio was exhibited in the form of a photographic installation in the Museu de Ceràmica de Barcelona from 15-11-2012 until 03-03-2013. These are some of the notices and reviews that appeared in the media. I am very glad of the echo on and off line!

Paper:


                   CULTURA/S 553 - Sección Documental - La Vanguardia (23-01-2013)


   
             QuèFem! -La Vanguardia- Contemplatio - Els observadors observats (23-11-2012)


                                                   CASA VIVA nº 189_ Una mirada fotográfica  (30-01-2013)


                                                 TERRART Revista de Ceramica Contemporania nº 42 - (2013)



                                                       DT Magazine_ Pillados in fraganti (05-12-2012)




Internet:















TV:









 No t'ho perdis (capítol 55)_ Canal 33, TV3