WINTER ART

With the winter around the corner, we make a brief review of how the artists got inspired by this season for their works. These dates are usually associated inevitably with the end of the year and the abundant parties, but the beginning of winter has traditionally been a time celebrated by many cultures as it gives way to a period of growth of days and a stage of preparation for the upcoming cycle. Even Greek mythology has a story for this phenomenon. Demeter, goddess of life and earth, separated from her daughter Persephone, who had been abducted by Hades and condemned to remain in the underworld, agreed to spend half of the year in her company and the other half on Olympus. Demeter was sad in the months when she was not with Persephone, which correspond to autumn and winter, leaving the earth neglected and withered, as opposed to spring and summer, time spent with her daughter.

Camille Pissarro, “Avenue de l’Opera. Efecto Nieve 1”

From the classicism, winter was approached with naturalistic perspective. This approach goes through the different artistic branches and has also served to feed the nineteenth-century narrative that represents this season in a raw way to underline the social differences that many characters of the literature of the time should pass through. As for the visual arts, authors opted for more realistic expressions, an exercise that often served as pictorial analysis on the depiction of the natural state, the changes of light, the reproduction of textures, volumes... in scenes dominated by snow in the rural environment.

Stepan Kolesnikoff, “On the way to market”, 1942

The winter, present with its hardest, implacable and almighty face, composes a mental image fueled to a great extent by the literature of the late nineteenth century as well as by the recurrent representation of realistic painting that began to pay less attention to elitist themes. The flight of pictorial productions of religious content or portraits by order gave way to a real concern for society, for the situation of the individual in their daily lives and the expression of an authentic and not always docile life that required, among other things, facing the winter in unfavourable circumstances. In this naturalistic trend, one sees the will to change the focus of attention of the aristocracy to the ordinary people, and to elaborate an egalitarian discourse that does not highlight the powerful over the weak but treats all individuals equally.

Jason Paul freerunning in Harbin, China © David Robinson

Our perception of this season has changed in recent decades. The linking of these dates with the grand celebrations make up an inseparable whole in which consumerism has absorbed the beginning of the season and almost goes unnoticed. The current representation of winter connects with snowy prints, red lights and smiles on the face. There is, in all this, a search for the ideal beauty, a compositional artifice that floods all our behaviours in society and reaches, even in a false way, the very strength of nature. Today the winter, after having surpassed in the arts the traditional pictorialism, is represented mainly through photography, a discipline that dares to recreate nature in a more wild and challenging. In fact, documentary photography is a very exploited line in our days, and the result is images of high visual impact.

 

Thirteen years have passed since its beginnings, and in all this time the Video Art Festival PROYECTOR has grown and consolidated its position as an essential event in this discipline. Since its inception, the initiative has tried to give visibility to a discipline that has always been relegated to the background in the usual exhibition circuits. Although video creation is not new, since it emerged by its own in the 60s of last century, the way to get to know it and enjoy it has not always been easy. On many occasions, the exhibitions only included a few isolated pieces within the main route, as if the video was the anecdotal contribution to the whole. However, our daily lives are invaded by moving images, and there is a paradox that video art, despite being a format of artistic expression very much in tune with the habits of today's society, remains a minority discipline

Frame from “Hel City”, by Gregorio Méndez Sáez, 2019

To some extent, PROYECTOR was born to reverse this situation, to value video as a creative format and to offer a wide, itinerant space to host a multitude of proposals, coming from inside and outside our borders. In this time, the growth of the festival has led it to travel the world, but also, to be a benchmark that each year arouses more interest. In the open call to receive proposals, they reach almost half a thousand, and a hundred works selected by the jury are a representative sample of different ways of understanding video creation, with pieces mainly from Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

In turn, PROYECTOR wants to be more than a video showcase and offers a large program with talks, workshops, masterclasses, meetings with artists, visits and concerts. A complete experience that always has the moving image as a backdrop.

El Instante Francisco Ruiz de Infante. El bosque que se mueve (errores de medida)

In this evolution, another circumstance stands out: video is a creative format that has its own codes, but it is also one of the disciplines most open to artistic hybridization and the widening of uses. The video may, therefore, be the genuine idea of an author who conceives an autonomous project to be carried out in this format, but it can also be the complementary result of an action or the documentary record of a previous performance being recorded to guarantee its survival. The versatility of the moving image and the potential that it has acquired in recent years allows us today to speak of numerous branches of art that focus on the fusion of languages and the integration of techniques and methodologies from other sectors, and in many of them, the video is still a cornerstone. So it is with technological art, interactive sound art, performance recording, the transformation from big data to image, artificial intelligence, and a long etcetera. Precisely for this reason, PROYECTOR offers a panoramic vision of this reality, with an extremely interesting program that plays with the variety and wealth of proposals.

Frame from “Herdança”, by Thiago Rocha Pitta, 2007

The 2020 edition will run from September 9th to 20th. As usual, the program displays in various venues throughout the city of Madrid, each of which will house a small section of the activities. This year the festival will count with the collaboration of the Casa Árabe, White Lab, Cruce, El Instante Fundación, ¡ésta es una PLAZA!, Extensión AVAM (Matadero Madrid), Institut Français de Madrid, Medialab Prado, Quinta del Sordo, Sala Alcalá 31, Sala El Águila, Secuencia de Inútiles and White Lab, in addition to the collaboration of the INELCOM Collection and the video art collection of Teresa Sapey.

The festival is also the ideal place to articulate the cultural fabric, since it involves numerous professionals in the sector, from curators to creators, from centres managers to critics and teachers. The 2020 program also has the collaboration of the FUSO Festival and the Museo Reina Sofía, which are providing some of their pieces for the exhibition.

In short, an appointment that lovers of contemporary art should not miss and that promises many novelties in this 13th edition.