COLOURED WOOL FOR A TERRESTRIAL OCEAN

Today we want to focus on artistic proposals that use atypical techniques for their compositions. The ability to surprise in contemporary creation has come in recent times with technology. The incorporation of artificial intelligence, the use of sound and visual algorithms, virtual reality... propose a hybridisation between the artistic and the technological with unpredictable results. But at the same time, many authors choose a return to more crafted and accessible methodologies that require a considerable investment of time but offer a more intimate and respectful connection with the natural environment. In fact, in some of these initiatives, nature becomes the preferred leitmotif in many of these works.

Mulyana, installation “A man, a monster and the sea”, photo by Tarys Hys, 2019.

Among the authors who openly embrace this alternative, Mulyana's work has caught our attention. This Indonesian artist has chosen an alias to identify his work: “The Mogus,” a word formed from Monster and Gurita, the name given to one of his most famous characters: an octopus. This denomination is a clear allusion to the places that it reconstructs in its pieces, typical of the seabed. Indeed, Mulyana has appropriated wool as the main raw material of his work and has dedicated herself to weaving huge marine scenes with endless details and colours. His installations invite us to walk through space as if we were in an oceanographic museum, and we could identify and recognise the multitude of species that live in the depths.

Mulyana, installation “A man, a monster and the sea” in Orange County Museum of Art, 2019.

The Mogus wants to represent through coral reefs the help of the other and the generation of tolerance spaces in a society full of prejudices. These structures are home to many beings that live in harmony and symbiosis under the shelter of these natural constructions. This demonstrates the ability of species to interact in confined environments with respect and harmony. In addition to this, the artist is an octopus lover, whom he always includes in his works, because they represent the human capacity to help others and always lend a hand if necessary. Precisely for that reason, the artist has carried out social integration projects that involve the trans community and domestic workers to provide them with tools and resources that they apply in their day-to-day life.

Mulyana currently has an exhibition at the Orange County Museum of Art, in Santa Ana, California, with a proposal entirely in white that breaks the usual work trend of this creator: "A man, a monster and the sea".

Vanessa Barragão, “Botanical Tapestry”, 2019.

Vanessa Barragão is another artist focused on the representation of the marine environment through the use of knitted yarns and wool. Their pieces are sometimes arranged as water mats that the visitor must travel, or they are posed as hanging elements, to emulate the suspension within the water. The concern of this creator for the care of nature and the fight against some of the most polluting industries on the planet, such as textiles, lead her to reuse all the materials she incorporates into her work. On the other hand, she has chosen themes that serve to denounce the irresponsibility of the sector.

Vanessa Barragão, “Coral Reef”, 2018.

Seeking that society becomes aware of the impact that our daily activity generates in the world, Vanessa has focused on the oceans, which absorb 90% of the total global pollution. In addition to her creative activity, she also directs a textile design studio that strictly follows ecological and sustainable processes in its production.

 

We embark on a journey that crosses our country from end to end, which crosses the capital as an obligatory step, as one who threads the needle and tight its ends towards the corners of our territory to die to the sea. From the coast to the nerve centre of this vast space we travel asphalt and dirt ways, paths transformed into roads that attest to the passage of time and the evolution of our history. We pass through villages that were once the cradle of the great events of a common story. We recognise the names of places we study as essential enclaves of our legacy. Others arouse rather surprise and perplexity, curious, strange and bombastic, but already devoid of a genuine sense as a population.

José Manuel Navia, La Alcarria de Cuenca, parada coche de línea en Olmedilla de Eliz, “Alma tierra”, 2019

The desolate places of a progressive and unstoppable rural exodus resist oblivion thanks to road signs and an isolated tavern that remains open to quench the thirst of the traveller. The kilometres and the time surrender to our passage and throughout the route we see a bitter reality: the depopulation affects today 80% of the territory, while the big cities attract more and more people and concentrate 80% of the entire population. The image has certain similarities with the metaphor of "The Nothing" of The Neverending Story, where the emptiness was invading the kingdom of Fantasy because children did not read or let their imagination fly, which is what feeds the stories of the fairytales. In real life, these same stories are lost in the domains of oblivion, confined in a past that seems remote and obsolete, subjugated to the impositions of progress and urban life.

José Manuel Navia, Angelines en Susín, Sobrepuerto (Huesca), “Alma tierra”, 2019

However, it should be borne in mind that the place we are in today is in debt with our villages. The evolution of events cannot be explained without a shared history marked by milestones that have taken place throughout our land. We also face a serious social problem that must respond to the need to reconquer our spaces, preserve our traditional culture and take advantage of the resources that our land offers.

With the desire to value this immense wealth, unknown and helpless, Acción Cultural Española AC/E has launched the Alma Tierra project. This photographic journey through the work of José Manuel Navia offers a wide panorama of landscapes, situations and environments where there is always room for feeling, nostalgia and hope for the future.

José Manuel Navia, Belén, ganadera del valle del Corneja (Ávila), “Alma tierra”, 2019

“These villages died so that we can live and from their misfortune comes our luck. The rich manage differently, the poor are always guilty." Luis Mateo Díez, “El espíritu del páramo”, 1996.

The project brings together a total of 158 works, gathered in a book with texts by Julio Llamazares, who explains that the initiative is "an elegy, a plea against the marginalisation of some Spaniards by the rest and a call to reflection." An exhibition in the Diputación de Huesca collects a selection of photographs and gives us some of the most poetic images of interior Spain.