The Apartment is a showroom rather like a domestic space. It is a setting propitious for contemporary art and incorporates pieces of furniture, but having no windows. An interior without a link to the exterior, a closed room, without a view.
Through photography and its expansion towards text, video or objects, A Room with a View, proposes a double game. On one side , it exhibits the only possible view of the place: that created by the artist; on the other, it questions our perception of the environment through fragments of reality which are so precise that they begin to blur the limits of that which exists and that which doesn’t, between what we recognise and what challenges us from instability.
In spite of the book by E.M. Forester (1908) and the film by James Ivory (1985), the title of the exhibition is from a Madrid band called A Room with a View (1990-2000). It’s a reference to post-hardcore as a possible way to meet post-photography in art. In the same way the group began to distance itself from the premises of hardcore to explore less related sound modules, Mishka Henner, Gabriel Pericàs, Cristina Garrido, Marco Kane Braunschweiler and Ditte Gantriis use photography to rehearse other connected discourses with a language – visual – in continuous transformation.
The work of Mishka Henner (Brussels, Belgium, 1976) is based on the systematic adoption of images produced on the Internet: a massive production of photos which supposedly allow the users to satisfy their thirst for virtual recognition. Through this adoption, the artist focuses his attention on those dark and controversial areas which political and economic power wish to evade or hide. In the series The Fields (2013-2014), Henner uses hundreds of images from Google Earth to show in large format the alteration of the natural landscape brought about in the USA by the two axes of its industry: petroleum (Oil Fields) and meat (Feedlots). The aerial point of view, distance and precision of every detail convert his images – in this case Centerfire Feedyard, Ulysses, Kansas (2013) – in a formal and chromatic composition where reality becomes pure pictorial abstraction.
The work of Gabriel Pericàs (Palma de Mallorca, 1988) is based on narrative exercises and intuitions and accidental connections. The artist presents two pieces which are distant in time, but linked to one of the objects which is most recurrent in his work: the chair. Efficiency & Abyss (2014) are three small photographs distributed around the showroom which open up an intense dialogue from the micro perspective. Three images of metallic chairs especially designed to be stacked, occupy a minimum space (efficiency) and which at the same time, generate a fantastic speculation of the tunnel which the act of stacking creates ( the abysm). Objeto (buena idea) (2010), synthesize his interest in curved Wood derived from the the desgns of Michel Thonet. Closely related with the furniture of The Apartment, the sculpture explores the limits between the physical charcter and the performed story which accompanies it. A story where the historical and autobiographical data intertwine in an indisociable manner.
Evolving from intervened images and re-interpreted images, the work of Cristina Garrido ( Madrid, 1986) analyses such intangible concepts in art such as commercial value, legitimization and financial speculation. They are these or they may be others (2014-2015) implies a visual investigation of ways of display which are dominant in current artistic practice. It is a an extense file of images extracted from online platforms dedicated to international contemporary art diffusion which the artist summarises in 21 categories. Once defined, Garrido three progressive movements: a staged exercise with each of the objects, a moment of photographic documentation and a final act of pictorial intervention by using texts which convert the pieces in memes of an ironic and meta-standardized character. In this case, three of her tags – carpets, screens and things which lean between the wall and the floor – are seen in the showroom in a double condition: object and image. As well, on one of the tables, we find an iPad with the 21 categories in digital format.
The passage of time and its perception in everyday life is the main theme of Marco Kane Braunschweiler´s work (Switzerland, 1985), an occurrence the Swiss-American artist usually exhibits by incorporating natural flowers in his work. Ranging from graphic pieces which integrate newspapers used by flower vendors to wrap bouquets or by filming irises which move gently in the wind, Braunschweiler confronts us with the brevity and fragility of the living moment. In this sense, the series of videos Timelapse and in this case Timelapse 14 ( 2014) – represents an authentic contemporary vanitas. A temporary sequence of three minutes allows us contemplate the beauty of the irises and produce a feeling that time is irremediably running out.
Finally, the tour closes with a specific fragment from Body & Soul (2014) by Ditte Gantriis (Copenhagen, Denmark, 1980). With the aim of showing the falseness of every commercial image, Body & Soul combines multiple registers which question neoliberal consumerism and offers a new system of meanings, emotions and experiences extracted from the slogan “ Body and mind”. For this purpose, Gantriis creates a new imagery in appearance absurd but ideologically freed of any strategy of submission. As a way of reclaiming arts and crafts and spirituality, a blue monochrome mural, the image of a vase produced manually and two drawings of baboons which interact with each other live together in the showroom without quite knowing what´s going.
In conclusion, A Room with a View is a specific collection of some of the formal and conceptual changes which redefine the mutable nature of the photographic image nowadays. Changes marked not only by technological progress, but also by the desire to resist the willingness to accept the norm which so defines our constant visual consumption. At any rate, it is a speculative exercise able to narrate images which don´t quite fit in the narration we expected to find.