Video is one of the most unstable supports in contemporary art, and marble, on the other hand, is a resistant material through which the Egyptian, Greek and Roman statuary has reached to us. This action of choosing a durable medium such as Stone is related to the Rosetta Stone, a key piece in history that helped decode the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing. Daniel Silvo engraved these pieces of video on marble to conserve them, and transmit them to future generations, as if it were a time capsule.
The act of translating and copying this videos onto Stone will protect and preserve the ideas that these artists wanted to communicate with their work. The fetish object will disappear, the tape, film or digital information may be lost, but the knowledge will remain thanks to this new translation and copy. There, they will be protected by the earth, and they can be found by archaeologists of future civilizations that will give a new meaning to those forms and images.
Re-elaboration of the Land Art idea. If Smithson’s non-sites brought rocks and construction material from the surroundings of New Jersey into the gallery, COPY reverses that action: he takes objects out of the own gallery and abandons them anywhere. This way of operation would be consistent with Smithson’s entropy concept, too: “There is no going back” (Smithson, 2973). When the references of those abandoned pieces disappear, the culture that sustains those objects will not be able to be reconstructed, and its faithful interpretation will be impossible or improbable.
Those mirrors that Smithson takes to the Yucatan jungle, which he names Mirror Displacements, do not remain there, but are transported later into the gallery. In the illusions that I pose, I transport the images from the gallery to the natural landscape, where they will reflect there a totally different reality: the culture and the plastic references of an artistic West that have a lack of meaning everywhere they go.
Dust/Polvo, 2016 (video, 39´)
The main thesis of this work states that video art is the fundamental support on which land art is based. These modifications of the landscape have been made known thanks to photography and video, which have played a crucial role in its development.
Land art is, therefore, an important inspiration for this project, as it is also the road movie genre or the phenomenon of time capsules, simple brass boxes filled with known objects and buried to be discovered years later.
It is also a way of curating, since I select a series of works related to each other from different artists, that are placed in different points of the space. The Dust/Polvo project consists in the abandonment of four works by renowned Mexican artists at four points near the Mexican border. These places, situated in the states of California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas coincide with the frontier crossings of the Mexican migrants en route to the United States. This idea arises from the work that the Tucson Samaritans realize at the south of the city: they leave water barrels, food cans, and blankets under the trees of the areas that migrants cross on foot.
These four works of art are abandoned in these lost places of the American landscape. This piece, made by the artists Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Felipe Eherenberg, Sarah Minter, and Alejandro Alamanza, belong to a category of art that is normally exhibited in a gallery, they are objects quoted in the market but abandoned in remote and unknown places.
These abandonments are recorded in video. It recreates the journey and the action that takes place on this route that takes us from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico along the southernmost roads of the United States. Dust/Polvo transforms gallery works into land art pieces, reversing the process that made artists like Smithson, bringing nature into the gallery.
Expansion and Subversion of the Exhibition Space. If the sculpture concept began to fade because of what Rosalind Krauss called “sculpture in the expanded field”, in the case of COPY, the term “gallery”, or even “exhibition space”, becomes obscure. To justify this, I will resort to a possible definition of the exhibition space that I have elaborated myself: exhibition space is the space that is delimited by each of the works that define the exhibition. Therefore, from my point of view, it is not the gallery what delimits the place where the works should be placed, but are the works that define the location of the exhibition space. This also happens in the Documental of Kassel, the Skulptur Projekt of Münster, Madrid Abierto, or the White Nights of European cities, exhibition projects that perfectly understand this idea of the expanded exhibition space. The particularity of this new expansion is in the limits. COPY does not point out the places where the works are buried, nor does it propose any limits that can be covered. It is not a tour that can be done by courageous spectators, capable of walking through a city with a backpack on their shoulders to see each and every one of the works that make up the urban exhibition. No, COPY limits a space as large as a big region of a country, and those places where each work will be located will be separated by miles of land and mountains. There will be no walls, no possible route. Just pieces unconnected to the experience, but connected by the same idea and by a unifying gesture made by the artist-commissioner: a journey through the north of Morocco.
Why in Morocco?
Europe would be the most dangerous and inhospitable place to preserve these pieces for their durability and communication with future civilizations, since its soil is doomed to exploitation of any kind. The quickest way out of Europe is, in our case, through the Strait of Gibraltar.
Copying as a form of preservation
In COPY I’m not only proposing the copy or translation of the video into marble, but also using the photographic copy, a multiple mean of reproduction that does not involve the destruction of any mould or plate, thus, allowing a reproduction of the image that tends to infinity. From each abandonment I take a photograph, making a unique colour copy on framed photographic paper, but we also find a thousand black and white copies of the same marble plaque that accompanies the colour image. These copies are acquired by the collector together with the colour photograph, committing to give these copies to a thousand-different people within two years, thus contributing to the distribution of the image. This gesture supposes a dissemination of the image that will end up in very different places: drawers, attics, storerooms, folders, abandoned bags… making each of these spaces a kind of improvised time capsule.
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