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Crisálidas, Mental Landscapes in Transformation
Regine Debatty, 10 Mar 09

Crisálidas (Chrysalises), an installation on view until April 6 at LABoral in Gijon (Spain), is a luminous collage of moving images processed from mass media, re-interpreted into an intuitive and sketchy drawing on acetate, and furthermore regenerated through layering and chance encounters with other drawings.

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Photo Marcos Morilla

This process results in the chance emergence of hybrids and in strange random combinations of the drawings. These collages are the starting point for the enfolding mural art installations and the animation videos that complete the piece by Fernando Gutiérrez, generating subjective atmospheres as invitations to the world that approaches the unconscious from an iconographic perspective. Crisálidas is a piece that innovates the traditional technique of drawing from within, while redefining it and positioning it in the present by the use of new techniques and supports.

The project, developed by Fernando Gutiérrez, is the winning piece in the second edition of the LABjoven_Experimenta Award (the previous award went to Situation Room by Pablo de Soto from hackitectura.net), an annual award open to young artists born or residing in the Principality of Asturias. Its purpose is to facilitate the development of experimental art projects conceived specifically for their exhibition in Sala Plataforma at LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial.

I asked Fernando Gutiérrez to give us more details about his artworks (if you scroll down you can read the original answers in spanish):

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Photo Marcos Morilla

Crisálidas uses images extracted from the mass-media. Is there any political or ethical reason behind this choice?

Crisálidas is part of a body of work based on the metamorphoses that small things submit us to. Such as going on a trip and coming back with the accent of the place we've just visited. We constantly reconfigure ourselves because of our empathic nervous system. Similarly, the drawings of Crisálidas contaminate each other in a process made of articulated collages, in which everyday images that we see in the media intervene. The selection of images is subjective and capricious, forming a visual diary of a reality that has been filtered to the point of intimacy.

There doesn't seem to be, at least not in a conscious form, a political or ethical motivation behind Crisálidas. There's no prejudice. When i draw in a fast and careless way, images remain stripped, only their basic structure remains. It is difficult to determine its origin, its starting point. We might sometimes find an element that vaguely evoke its source, maybe we in a subliminal way we are reminded of its shadow. The idea that we can build parallel worlds on the basis of light evocations interests me.

0aagriiigio.jpg
Photo Marcos Morilla

You invited El Hijo to accompany your work musically during the opening of Crisálidas at Laboral. The concert, i read, was designed as a soundtrack and musical backdrop for your installation. Can you explain us how it went? And why did you chose El Hijo?

More generally, has music any influence on your work?

The work has been conceived without audio, i wanted the stimuli to be purely visual. On the other hand, we wanted to create something special for the inauguration and we invited El Hijo to create a sound environment.

El Hijo's imagery deploys itself between the dream and the experience of life, reflections of the world reverberated in a poetry that caresses the metaphors of the work. Crisálidas identifies itself with his music and words: "emotional music that insinuates itself inside memory like water gets into the ears...", i would like my drawings to be interpreted that way.

Music has a lot of influence on me, it is always present when i generate ideas, create associations... it's a permanent stimulation. However, there's been occasions when i have incorporated music into my work. That's something i've been thinking about more lately, i like the idea of working with musicians.

FotoFlexer44_Photo.jpg
Image courtesy LABoral

Crisálidas seems to be a seducing mix of drawing and new technologies. Had you experimented with new technologies before? What did the technological aspect bring to your work? Is the technological element, something you would want to keep on working on in the future?

There is a very suggestive relationship between drawing and new technologies that i would like to keep on exploring. In my work i modify spaces through graphic interventions that organize emotional, sensitive and sometimes playful atmospheres. In parallel to the interventions i started experimenting with small animations and i found myself incredibly fascinated by the fact that images can take on a life of their own. In that occasion the two media could be integrated in the same space, different graphic skins through light and video.

In Crisálidas the use of a digital and multi-function robot-projector DL1 enabled me to face a space of multiple projections, i could control the laps of time between animations and the movements of the beam on various spots in the room. All those features would be inconceivable with a standard projector. On the other hand, something as simple as changing the light in the room and the use of photoluminescent painting for some of the drawings enabled to get light in the dark, purely from the graphic impulse. I'll try and make a subtle use of these features, adding up technology here and there and in a very simple way. Not as a spectacle nor for the sake of it.

FotoFlexer_Photo.jpg
Image courtesy LABoral

How did LABjoven_Experimenta help you developed your project? Which kind of support did you receive from LABoral?

LABjoven_Experimenta offers the possibility to develop a site specific work with a professional production budget. It's a privilege to be able to work in these conditions...

The work has been supported by LABoral's impeccable follow-up. The working team engaged themselves in the project right from the start, offering an intelligent support, helping its development and solving at every step the technical doubts we encountered.

José Luís Macías and David Almazo were in charge of software programming for the projector DL1, they dedicated themselves emotionally in Crisálidas and they have broadened the perspective of the art piece. The experience has been very enriching.

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A previous work by Fernando Gutiérrez: Graphic intervention, Cimadevilla Gijón, 2008. Image courtesy of the artist

Spanish version of the interview....

Crisálidas uses images extracted from the mass-media. Is there any political or ethical reason behind this choice?

Crisálidas gira en torno a un flujo de trabajo a partir de las metamorfosis que nos producen las pequeñas cosas, como salir de viaje y volver con el acento del lugar que has visitad. Nos reconfiguramos continuamente desde un sistema nervioso empático. De la misma forma, los dibujos de crisálidas se contaminan unos a otros en un proceso de collage articulado, en el que se intervienen imágenes cotidianas que vemos todos los días en los medios. La selección de imágenes es subjetiva y caprichosa, conformando un diario visual de realidad exudada desde la intimidad.

No parece existir, de una forma consciente, una razón política o ética detrás de Crisálidas. No se hacen juicios de valor. Cuando dibujo de forma rápida y despreocupada las imágenes quedan desnudas, tan sólo permanece su estructura básica. Es difícil saber cual es su procedencia original, el punto de partida. En alguna ocasión algo nos puede recordar vagamente a su referente, tal vez de forma subliminal recordemos una sombra. Esta idea me parece interesante, la construcción de mundos paralelos a partir de leves evocaciones.

0aaintervcriis.jpg
Photo Marcos Morilla

0aagriiigio.jpg
Photo Marcos Morilla

You invited El Hijo to accompany your work musically during the opening of Crisálidas at Laboral. The concert, i read, was designed as a soundtrack and musical backdrop for your installation. Can you explain us how it went? And why did you chose El Hijo?

More generally, has music any influence on your work?

La pieza está concebida sin audio, quería que los estímulos fuesen únicamente visuales, pero queríamos hacer algo especial para el día de la inauguración e invitamos a El Hijo a realizar una ambientación sonora.

El imaginario de El Hijo se desenvuelve entre el sueño y la experiencia vital, reflejos reverberados del mundo en una poesía que acaricia las metamorfosis de la pieza. Crisálidas se identifica con su música y sus letras: "música emocional que se aloja en la memoria como el agua en los oídos...", me gustaría que mis dibujos se interpretasen así.

La música tiene mucha influencia sobre mi, está presente de forma continua a la hora de generar ideas, crear asociaciones... es un estímulo permanente, sin embargo en contadas ocasiones la he incorporado a mi trabajo. Algo que estoy reconsiderando, me seduce mucho la idea de trabajar con músicos...

Crisálidas seems to be a seducing mix of drawing and new technologies. Had you experimented with new technologies before? What did the technological aspect bring to your work? Is the technological element, something you would want to keep on working on in the future?

Existe una relación muy sugestiva entre el dibujo y las nueva tecnologías que me gustaría seguir explorando. En mi trabajo altero espacios a través de intervenciones gráficas que organizan atmósferas emocionales, sensitivas y ocasionalmente lúdicas. Paralelamente a las intervenciones empecé a experimentar con pequeñas animaciones y me producía una fascinación tremenda el hecho de que las imágenes cobrasen vida. En esta ocasión podía integrar los dos medios en el mismo espacio, distintas pieles gráficas a través de la luz y el vídeo.

En crisálidas la utilización de un robot-proyector digital multifunción DL1 me permitía afrontar un espacio múltiple de proyección, pudiendo controlar los períodos de tiempo en las animaciones y el movimiento del foco en distintos puntos de la sala, cosas que serían impensables con un proyector estándar. Por otra parte, algo tan sencillo como un cambio de iluminación en la sala y el uso de pintura fotoluminiscente en algunos de los dibujos, permitía luz en la oscuridad desde el propio impulso gráfico. Traté de hacer una utilización sutil de estas prestaciones, sumando la tecnología puntualmente y de una forma sencilla, no como espectáculo ni un fin en sí misma.

How did LABjoven_Experimenta help you developed your project? Which kind of support did you receive from LABoral?

LABjoven_Experimenta ofrece la posibilidad de desarrollar una obra site specific contando con un presupuesto de producción profesional. Es un privilegio poder trabajar así...

El proyecto estuvo respaldado con un seguimiento impecable por parte de LABoral. El equipo de trabajo se involucró desde el principio en el proyecto, ofreciendo un apoyo inteligente, facilitando su desarrollo y resolviendo en todo momento las dudas técnicas y de montaje que se produjeron.

José Luís Macías y David Almazo se ocuparon de la programación del software para el proyector DL1, implicándose emocionalmente en Crisálidas y ampliando la perspectiva de la pieza. La experiencia ha sido muy enriquecedora.

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Graphic intervention, Cimadevilla Gijón, 2008. Image courtesy of the artist

This piece originally appeared on Regine Debatty's blog, We Make Money, Not Art.

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