Over the last years I have been looking for natural landscapes and spaces that suggest an idea of silence, with the intention of giving it a tangible form through my own photography.
This body of work was born back in 2009 with my first visit to Iceland and the fascination for the beauty and melancholy of the Icelandic landscapes. Later on I discovered places that have been dislodged from their original context, places that have been abandoned, or forgotten. Thus the core theme in this work is the silence, in nature as well as in spaces of desintegration and decay as an indicator of the inevitable and progressive of linear time.
Inspired by painters from the 19th century, I attempt to evoke to meditation by combining visual material in a way that resembles the arragement of words in a poem, seeking for a balance among them and blurring the boundaries between the naturally-occurring and the man-made, between painting and photography in a series of diptychs and triptychs.
I establish links between decaying interior spaces with pristine natural landscapes, creating metaphors about the fate of those interiors returning to their initial state, where nature regains its lost space. I try to find images that are complementary and that somehow relate, either by the type of light, texture, colour, the atmosphere that they transmit or the aura they have. There must be something that unifies them and they should give us the feeling that they belong to the same place; that they belong to each other.
Each work, part of a series, could function independently, however, when combined, the dialogue and balance between them manage to convey my own system of seeing and understanding. I try to create atmospheres that are located between fact and fiction, reality and imagination.
Unfinished Dreams (2015)
The series Unfinished Dreams originated in the summer of 2015 in Kea, one of the Greek islands of the Cyclades archipelago. Alone or in clusters, set in the barren landscape and built up until about 2009, these unfinished buildings are indicators of the discontinuity of history.
Unlike the buildings located in the immediate vicinity of the ancient city of Karthaia, they have no harmonious relationship with their natural environment. Instead, following the principle of modernity, there is a contrast between the softness of the topography with the strict geometry of the architecture. At most, aligned with a spectacular view, the unfinished elements of the building site look rather random. The construction process has left scars in the natural soil, which are successively covered by the sparse vegetation.
By exposing the "core structure", of which every visible part is at the same time an indispensable part of any finished construction, the skeletons provide an abstract image of architecture. By providing no evidence of room layouts or intended formal expression, they allow the viewer plenty of room for interpretation, which is in an inverse proportional relationship with the degree of completion.
Short Passages (2017)
The work Short passages, is based in the act of gathering and realigning images, which serves to generate new associations, new figurative and conceptual realities. The way I create visual essays, is developed around my own doubts and curiosities about the mysteries I encounter in the world, through my own personal experiences and interpretations. The foundation of my photographic series is based on stories, which are, whether a framed moment of intimacy or a interpretation of a given reality.
Now I am Gone, and I did Have a Name (2017)
Man has spread across the world as a wandering being. In tens of thousands of years of human history, he/she has always moved, departing from Africa.
Wars, conquests and expulsions dating back to prehistoric times, have triggered flight migrations. Even the oldest historical and literary sources report of flight and expulsion, of the loss of the ancestral homeland felt as catastrophe.
In my work Now I am gone, and I did have a name, the names of 105 of the probably over 300 people who drowned off the coast of Lampedusa on the night of Thursday 03.10.2013 appear. Since the 1990s, more than 200,000 people from Africa and Asia have been fleeing civil war, hunger and misery in Lampedusa. It is estimated that ten to twenty thousand people lost their lives in the same period.
Despite all the statistics, it is easy to forget that for every number there is one person, with a name and a story, who has spent his family's savings to escape poverty, war and lack of opportunity and put his life at risk. As long as people in their home countries have no future or cannot be sure that they will survive the next day, they will continue to go where living conditions are better, or at least where there are opportunities for a better existence.
The work is designed in such a way that names inside a lightbox seem to float below the surface of the water. They represent the many other fugitives who may have had the same age, the same name and whose bodies are in the same place at the bottom of the sea. The names of the victims, I got in the context of a temporary art action initiated together with other artists, which took place on 2 December 2013 in Brussels in front of the European Parliament.
Limbs, or the Discontinuous Structure of Matter (2017)
Self-similarity seems to be one of the fundamental geometrical construction principles in nature. For millions of years, evolution has shaped organisms based on the survival of the fittest. In many plants and also organs of animals, this has led to fractal branching structures. For example, in a tree the branching structure allows the capture of a maximum amount of sun light by the leaves; the blood vessel system in a lung is similarly branched so that a maximum amount of oxygen can be assimilated. Although the self-similarity in these objects is not strict, we can identify the building blocks of the structure, the branches at different levels. The distribution of craters on the moon obeys some scaling power laws, like a fractal. However, it is generally impossible to find hierarchical building blocks for these objects as in the case of organic living matter. There is no apparent self-similarity, but still the objects look the same in a statistical sense.
In probability theory and related fields, a stochastic or random process is a mathematical object usually defined as a collection of random variables. Historically, the random variables were associated with or indexed by a set of numbers, usually viewed as points in time, giving the interpretation of a stochastic process representing numerical values of some system randomly changing over time, such as the growth of a bacterial population, an electrical current fluctuating due to thermal noise, or the movement of a gas molecule. Examples of such stochastic processes include the Wiener process or Brownian motion process, which is the random motion of particles suspended in a fluid (a liquid or a gas) resulting from their collision with the fast-moving molecules in the fluid. Each relocation is followed by more fluctuations within the new closed volume. This pattern describes a fluid at thermal equilibrium, defined by a given temperature. Within such fluid there exists no preferential direction of flow as in transport phenomena.
In summary, many natural shapes possess the property that they are irregular but still obey some scaling power law, introducing some element of randomness into the otherwise rigorously organized classical fractals.
The Ephemeral (2018)
The concept of Ephemera come from the late 16th century: plural of ephemeron, from Greek, neuter of ephēmeros ‘lasting only a day’. As a singular noun the word originally denoted a plant said by ancient writers to last only one day, or an insect the Ephemera, is the fly which is born but to die, living a single hour, and hence was applied (late 18th century) to a person or thing of short-lived interest.
For the work The Ephemeral, I was inspired by a writing, originally published as “Lettre à Madame B.” but better known as “The Ephemera,” strikes a rare note in the canon of Franklin’s writings: a note of melancholy. In its brooding over the brevity of life and the vanity of human endeavor, creates a mood of the short-term of appearance and disappearance, the fragile and the transcendent and the fleeting existence of an instant.
“It was, he says, the Opinion of learned Philosophers of our Race, who lived and flourished long before my time, that this vast World, the Moulin Joli, could not itself subsist more than 18 Hours; and I think there was some Foundation for that Opinion, since by the apparent Motion of the great Luminary that gives Life to all Nature, and which in my time has evidently declined considerably towards the Ocean at the End of our Earth, it must then finish its Course, be extinguished in the Waters that surround us, and leave the World in Cold and Darkness, necessarily producing universal Death and Destruction“
How Much is Enough (2018)
-six old wood money boxes, (mostly used in shops to stash away cash payment)
(Shanxi province, China). 17 x 26 x 17,5 cm (6x)
-one self-made reproduction of the antique wooden box in metal (brass). 17 x 26 x 17,5 cm
Only one metal box, hanging among the others, represents in a metaphorical way the 1% of the population, to which half of the world's wealth belongs. This leads us to think about the actual world order.
The work deals with the uncertainty of human conditions connected to the acceleration of globalization, the legacies of colonial occupation throughout the world, and the control exercised by the private industry, which is causing global inequality. All those aspects lead to the question, why inequality is so difficult to overcome.
To find an answer, Adrian Bejan, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University discovered the Constructal Law, in which physics can predict wealth inequality. Bejan's Constructal Law addresses the fundamental principle of physics that underlies the evolution of flow systems as they change in design over time to increase flow access. It reveals that flow patterns govern the structure of the entire universe—most clearly evident within rivers, neural networks, lightning bolts, electrical circuitry and trees. Every flow architecture on Earth follows the same order, which is a natural tendency to want to flow more easily. "The Constructal Law extends the power of physics over all of the phenomena of evolutionary design and organization, from geophysics to biology, technology, and social organization,"
“The annual wealth, gross domestic product (GDP), is essentially proportional to the useful energy or 'work and movement' generated by a group or territory, so we can think of wealth as movement. Also recognize movement (wealth) as inequality that is hierarchical." This finding is "pivotal for physics, because it shows that the economics concept of wealth has a physical basis, which is measurable as work, fuel consumed, or movement effected by fuel, food, and work" "This unites economics and physics. The equivalence between wealth and movement is evolutionary because wealth and fuel use are increasing over time."
Even if Bejan's Physical Law describes the phenomenon of global inequality in a comprehensible way, human actions can change this law significantly. From a humanist point of view there is nothing natural about extreme inequality, it is man-made, and it has to do with power. From this point on, the work could also refer to Bertolt Brecht's play Die Dreigroschenoper, in which social conditions ultimately determine people's actions.
The installation How Much is Enough attempts to illustrate also the inequality between countries, which has been increasing by orders of magnitude over the past two hundred years, and shows no signs of slowdown. As long as a few rich countries have the power to set the rules to their own advantage, inequality will continue to increase.
Growth has been the main object of development for the past 70 years, despite the fact that it can’t work for all. Growth is not an option any more, we have already grown too much. We are blowing past planetary boundaries at a high speed. And the truth is that the global crisis is almost entirely a result of overconsumption in rich countries.
Instead of pushing poorer countries to “catch up“ with rich ones, we should be thinking of ways to get rich countries to “catch down“ to more appropriate levels of development. In order to achieve that, we have to reach a higher level of understanding and consciousness about why we are on this planet and what we want to do with it.