A NEW DIMENSION FOR ART: THINKING BIG!

One of the attractions of art is the possibility of hosting proposals that exceed the limits of the possible, that allow creations that extend the contours of reality, that play with the implausible, the hypothetical, the impossible and the extraordinary. Many authors follow this impulse because the feasible and the near remain small and need to give way to ambitions that think big.

Anish Kapoor, “Leviathan”, 2011 (via thehardt.com)

In this search for new formats and forms of expression, there are two main challenges, on the one hand, the location of the works, since some great ideas cannot fit within a closed space, and on the other, the choice of execution materials. One of the best-known ways to overcome these barriers is mural art, with no restrictions other than the size of the wall or building to be intervened and with the use of a classical technique such as painting.

JR, “The secret of the great pyramid”, 2019 (via designboom.com)

However, mural painting is intimately connected with urban art and can have connotations that contemporary artists try to avoid. Therefore, new proposals for intervention in the public space arise, which often take advantage of the architectural elements of the cities to develop the pieces. A well-known example of this is the work of the Boa Mistura collective, which disseminates word puzzles on facades, stairs, benches, lampposts and other elements to create optical tricks that encourage the viewer to participate and to look for the correct angle to read the message. With optical illusions also dares Jean René (known as JR) a French urban artist who came to make this spectacular composition for the Louvre Museum. This work, formed with 2,000 sheets of printed paper and placed with a degradable glue, lasted just 24 hours. As JR himself said “The images, like life, are ephemeral. Once pasted, the art piece lives on its own.”

Jeff Koons, “Seated Ballerina”, 2017, ©Photo: Tom Powel (vía www.architecturaldigest.com)

KAWS, Massive Inflatable Sculpture in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour (via www.thisiscolossal.com)

Likewise, there are also who want to work with new forms and materials to avoid logistical limitations in the construction of their works. This is what happens with inflatable sculptures, a fashion that many contemporary creators have joined since it is a more affordable method, lightens the weight of the pieces, allows their transportation after disassembly, and also makes it possible to occupy spaces each time Older and more ambitious. In addition to the impressive “Monumenta” that Anish Kapoor installed in 2011 at the Grand Palais (and this is not the only giant inflatable work of this author), we also highlight the proposal of Jeff Koons, for the Rockefeller Center square. Besides, artists like Kaws also dare with this format, with impressive results.

Emmanuelle Moureaux, “‘Universe of Words”, 140,000 Pieces of Paper Form a Colorful Installation for the Tanabata Festival ©Photo: Daisuke Shima

On the other hand, other creators dare to redesign the exhibition halls with immersive installations that completely change the perception of space, and even of reality. A recent trend is to use threads and fabrics to provide volatile networks and structures that expand through the ceiling and the walls. These works produce a diverse effect; some resemble the interior of a living organ, others remind us of the flow of water, and others create a feeling of being somewhere else as if we lived in a parallel dimension.

Chiharu Shiota, “Counting Memories”, installation for the Muzeum Śląskie

All these proposals play with temporality and are designed to produce a passing effect. The ephemeral life of large-scale works never seen before.

 

The CEART opens this Thursday, November 14th in the room A an exhibition dedicated to this master of photography, which will be open to the public until February 9th. The show includes one of the artist's latest projects, focused on the hard work carried out by the miners of Serra Pelada, an open gold mine in the heart of Brazil where employees daily risked their lives.

Immigration, poverty, marginal life, slave labour, man's relationship with the land, the use of natural resources... are issues that have always fascinated Salgado. From the beginning of his career as a photographer, his work has opted to give visibility to the most disadvantaged groups and to create with his images a vivid and impressive visual story without fakes. With a raw black and white, this author's work transits between photo-reportage and naturalistic photography.

And the idea that permeates all his work is human dignity. Salgado portrays employees, miners and gatherers from a purely humanistic approach that wants to value their integrity, their strength and their resilience.

“If you photograph a human, so that he is not represented in a noble way, there is no reason to take the picture. That is my way of seeing things.”

Salgado entered this discipline long after completing his studies in economics between Brazil and the United States, and a doctorate in statistics in France. But in 1973 his life took a turn, and he decided to start his career as a photographer. He achieved to work at the Gamma Agency and Magnum Photos for more than 15 years until in 1994 he founded his own agency “Amazonas Imagen”.

With the “Gold” project, the photographer portrays a harsh reality that takes place in the Serra Pelada mine, a name given to a totally devastated and anarchically excavated mining enclave, the world's largest open-pit gold mine, through which more than 50,000 people have passed. In the heat of the legends about the mysterious “El Dorado”, the enthusiasm for this precious metal led to the development of strenuous exploitation practices for the workers and to originate tales of grief and glory, of human victory and defeat between the soil, the tunnels and the cargo baskets.

The CEART exhibition brings together Salgado's full portfolio in his characteristical black and white and large-format photographs that leave no one indifferent.