At VOLTA 15 Basel SET ESPAI D'ART presents a dialogue between recent works by Cristina Almodóvar, Arancha Goyeneche, Lukas Ulmi and Janek Zamoyski, connected with an interpretation of nature beyond nature, reflecting on how art sees, represents and transcends the natural realm. Painting, photography, sculpture and installation are gathered to reflect on nature as human experience, on the organic and inorganic, natural and technological, on perception and on an individual's place in the landscape. Works that expand the limits of perception with a great conceptual load, where pictorial surface crosses over the boundaries of two-dimentionality and translates into an expanded space. Light gains special prominence in the exhibited works : it's a source of mystery, activates color and shadows, and alludes to both nature and technology.
Cristina Almodóvar (Madrid, 1970) proposes an aesthetic journey through the painful concept of postindustrial landscape. Starting from the terrible reality of plastic islands that cover, increasingly, our oceans, she explores the concepts of transience and natural perpetuity, gravitating in turn around the idea of transmutation. A result of a collective project, based on the collection of materials from the post-industrial world of the packaging of processed consumer products (PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate derived from crude petroleum), Almodóvar creates delicate micro-pieces resembling colonization of mosses, lichens, sea shells and other proliferations of organisms in perfect symbiosis with the natural environment that is, in turn, colonized by industrial waste. Fluorescent color is reflected on the surface as a slight hint at the latent toxicity of the material, enclosed and suffocated in its own regenerative rot.
Arancha Goyeneche's (Santander, 1967) industrial expanded paitings experiment with with vinyl, PVC and aluminum, with nods to both Minimalism, Expressionism and Arte Povera. In addition to studying the concept and pictorial practice outside of its traditional supports, nature is an intriscic part of Goyeneche's work. The research lines are linked to the seasons, to the natural cycles, to the landscape understood as vital human experience. Goyeneche interprents empirical landscapes and subsequently decontextualizes them, researches, translates or drives through an abstract interpretation. Her interest is the landscape as an inhabited space and its relationship with the territory it occupies, her works aspire to be a portal, a vehicle that transforms the viewer to experiences and memories rather than images and objects. The colors take an unmistakeable value, symbolic and referential, that helps provoke direct identification of the thing represented: the white of frost, the gold of wheat, the magenta of the sunset. Those sensations are translated into asbtract expanded paintings, with wide variety of hues, glosses and textures.
Lukas Ulmi's (Lucerne, 1955) practice reflects on the cube drawn in the space, offering the lightness of an idea and the strength of his drawing materialized in the space with iron, time and light, redoubled with the participation of the viewer, the kinetic and the visual and luminic effect. The cube is established as a possibility blurred and traced with fine iron rods that appears only at a point or becomes reality only as a shadow drawn on the wall. Ulmi's visual labyrinths transcend beyond their physical form to become ideas and structures orchestrated in a dialogue between geometry, vacuum, time and the infinite being. The total volume of these pieces escapes into the air between the line's material presence and their projected shadows, doubling as a form of impossible figures which vary as we move around them, unstable, moving the static architecture, playing to pervert the foundations of constructivism and minimalism.
Janek Zamoyski's (Warsaw, 1978) series of photographs depicts glaciers, rocks and waves in the Antarctic area. Zamoyski documents the natural architecture of the space of this unique and homogeneous region, paying attention to the fractal structure, undefined scale and subtle differences of its elements. The theme does not play the main role here; Zamoyski focuses his research on the theoretical and aesthetic assumptions, autonomously in relation to the reality represented. In the blurred line between photography and painting, he continues to study the aesthetics of the digital image. The internal paradox of the works consists in the combination of a strong imitation of the realism of the landscape with real abstraction. The pictorial parallels are most found in the empty horizons of Caspar David Friedrich, the "pictures of nothingness" by J.W.M. Turner, the wide and simplified Arctic of Lawren Harris to the unlimited voids of Barnett Newman.