Aerial photography does not create space but registers surfaces
23.11.2018 – 22.12.2018
Open On Saturdays and Sundays 2-6 pm
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During a flight from Brussels to Madrid to meet Cristina in February 2018 in the Spanish capital, I was deep in thought when, all of a sudden, I saw the shadow of an angel hovering under the plane, surrounded by coloured rings, a rainbow-tinted halo. What I initially thought was a hallucination was in fact a rare natural phenomenon, a play of light familiar to mountain people and referred to as the ‘Brocken spectre’. What I had thought was the shadow of an angel was in fact the shadow of our plane on the clouds. I hastened to film this apparition and to post the video on social networks as soon as I arrived in Madrid …
Sharing the poetry of the ephemeral, sharing the journey, sharing the unfathomable beauty of the sky and its light. And yet the apparent romanticism of the approach hides less glittering flaws. Cristina puts her finger on these vulnerabilities without judging them. For several years now, she has been collecting, almost like an archaeologist, images from the Internet and has been asking herself questions about what takes place behind the scenes of the art world: fairs, art photographers, networks, leitmotifs in works, fashion, recurring devices, tote bags, exhibition curators, collectors, gallerists, etc.
This small world – along with its economic and social contingencies – is continually being questioned and reflected in a mise en abyme in the works of Cristina Garrido (b. 1986, Madrid).
The installation she is presenting at FdG Projects in Brussels consists of images found on the web that she has collected and that are available on a Tumblr page from her website. Cristina Garrido realized that many exhibition curators posted photos on their Instagram account that were taken from the windows of the planes taking them from one corner of the planet to another as they visit exhibitions, biennials, fairs and more. She was touched by the simplicity of the subjects photographed – the sun, the clouds, the landscapes. Although they are constantly confronted with images in exhibitions – which they generally document relatively little, for that matter – these people are still moved by views of the sky, as is everyone who occasionally flies.
Cristina Garrido also highlights the fact that these photographs reveal a desire to be in the world and to signal our presence to others, but also to communicate a journey and thus promote destinations.
She also points out the paradox of the globalization of art. Art likes to denounce social, economic and ecological abuses, while resting on a system that encourages mass travel by plane, one of the most polluting means of transport. There is also in the work of Cristina Garrido the recurring idea of showing the ubiquity of images, which come from all over the world, invade our screens and allow us to be everywhere.
Lastly, the fact of appropriating the images of the curators to exhibit them is not insignificant. She appropriates their gaze in order to direct it and to turn the artist/curator hierarchy upside down, deciding on the spatial setting and the medium best adapted to the images according to the place that hosts the installation. Depending on the display device, she adapts the images that sometimes change media, from printing on glued vinyl in a very large format to printing on diaphanous veil, completely changing the understanding of the motif to ‘stick’ to a precise artistic atmosphere (classical, pop, conceptual, materialist, etc.) that resembles a group exhibition bringing together different artists. She immerses us into a simulacrum that shows us the image of a ballet, both aerial and critical, and undoubtedly reframes our priorities and the limits of this system.
This exhibition is the result of a collaboration with Mira Sanders for the 3rd Wandering Arts Biennial, a research and production platform highlighting movement, walking, ephemeral productions and the display methods of nomadic practices.
Thanks to Frédéric de Goldschmidt for hosting this exhibition at FdG Projects, and to the WAB and the Société d’électricité.