Art Madrid'24 – 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.

 

Francesca Poza. Courtesy of the artist.

ARTE & PALABRA. CONVERSATIONS WITH CARLOS DEL AMOR

Thread is one of the most seemingly fragile materials in existence, yet a combination of threads can be indestructible. It is the triumph of fragility over brute force.

Among its many virtues, thread has its meaning, both real and imagined. It is a word that oozes poetry and makes us think of following a trail, sometimes infinite. Francesca Poza (Mataró, 1965) adds the written word to the many virtues of thread, giving her works a firmness that is always delicate but almost impossible to break. She weaves between letters and memory, pieces that seek to establish what has been lived, to leave a trace in a world that is increasingly ephemeral, more fleeting, more liquid, more elusive. In his work, poetry, literature and time intertwine in a harmonious way, resulting in creations of beautiful originality that are as subtle as they are powerful.

Perhaps Francesca has managed to give an answer to what Carmen Laforet wondered in "Nada", when she said: Who can understand the thousand threads that unite the souls of men and the reach of their words?

The poet reborn. Fabric made with book paper. 2023.

If you had to define yourself as an artist, in one sentence, how would you define yourself?

I could define myself as a multidisciplinary artist who poetizes matter.

The thread even predates the advent of writing, perhaps it's not exact, but I like to think that it began to "write" by spinning... Then came the written word, and in this encounter full of history and ancestors is your work. Spun words, sounds good, doesn't it?

Spun words sound good, the subtlety of the thread that organizes time, the connection, the continuity, the rhythm of literature without reading, because it is a very recurrent phrase in my work, that as the weft is made and unmade, the work and the poetry reappear.

As if they were chains. Fabric made with book paper. 2023.

Why does everyone say that you are unclassifiable? Don't you think we live for labels? It's nice to be difficult to classify. Do you feel like a "freak"?

No, I don't feel like a freak. I like the fact that I am unclassifiable. It's difficult to define me as a sculptor, an engraver, or a weaver. I try to make poetry with the material I have, to make the fragile speak to us, to transport us; the paper as matter and the thread as symbol, to penetrate us.

When one stops in front of your work one has two sensations, well three, one of tranquility, the other two are paradoxical because the first impression is one of fragility, however, after a while you realize that these "threads" are strong because they are united and have made common cause. It's a bit like so many things in life, isn't it?

Yes, that's really what I'm looking for, to express peace and tranquility above all. We are going through very difficult times and I like to express the good that people have inside us.

Testament of Oscar Wilde. Fabric made with book paper. 2023.

Memory is an intimate territory that sometimes betrays us, and forgetting is its main enemy. Is your work against forgetting?

Yes, the art of remembering and forgetting is a recurring theme in my work, because I had and still have the idea that we have to be something, that something has to remain in our memory. So I try to create a poetics that is embodied in different aspects of creativity. You could say that this essence of a series of needs, of leaving a permanent record, is because we don't want to be forgotten, and this is a way I have of expressing myself.

Your work is very poetic... What do you think is impossible to poeticise?

There is nothing impossible, nothing that cannot be poeticised. And yes, my work is poetic, why weave, what for? Poetry and weaving travel in the imagination and come together. Visual art, manual art, in short: poetry.

Music of broken windows.Hahnemühle paper 300gr. 2023.

The thread leaves a trace, the words leave a trace... Your work leaves a trace. Where do you want it to go?

Words leave traces and I want my work to leave traces: the feelings and sensations of the viewer. That the work of art is not just for decoration, but something that when you wake up in the morning, you look at it and you feel different again, that it leaves you with something to feel.

Where do you think your work is going?

My work itself, I don't know where it's going, it leads the way, it guides me day after day. I would like to be able to continue weaving poems that travel in the imagination, to enter and leave through the multiple paths that the material and the feelings take me.