The representation of the landscape is generally associated to the traveler’s gaze who discovers constructions and images scientific or romantic during his journey. However, a difference exists between the walker who observes and what Dennis Crosgove describes as an insider: the one who inhabits the landscape. For this one, he says, “there is no clear separation between scene, subject and object”, because his relationship with the landscape has to do with a social and familiar place.
In this sense, Juan Carlos Coppel is an insider of his own territory. His job as a farmer forces him to be continuously immersed in the management of a productive space, which at the same time returns sensible images about the power of the industry and the exploitation of the earth from a close and emotional perspective.
Although his images and sculptures could be linked to the tradition of geographical landscape photography, or the cabinets of naturalist explorers of the seventeenth century, they are actually records of observations and daily work on the transformation of the land. Therefore, his gaze is not only aimed to discover the sublime in the monumentality of the landscape, but to warn a critical stance on industrial agronomists processes, which at the same time reveal textures, reticles and tissues that alter our perception of the natural environment.
Similarly, the waste collected by the artist during his journeys across the crops (animals, mud, plastic, wooden boxes) are reconfigured in almost archeological sculptures and installations where the landscape is tamed again. In the exhibition Peregrino /per-agrare/ which means man walking the field, the artist distorts the landscape from abstraction -analogous to a Smithsonian “no place”- while evidencing notions about the process and time of work. Finally, Coppel is as incisive as poetic, as he makes the reflection between exploitation and perception of the landscape, and brings us to a critical perspective about power, nature and the passage of time.