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LANDSCAPE An Exhibition by Carla Arocha and Stéphane Schraenen @ Sala Juárez, Guadalajara


Sala Juarez -LARVA - Av. Juarez 451. Centro Historico. Guadalajara, Mexico

Opening January 31, 2015

Untill February 28, 2015

Cafe Benito/ Sala Juarez is open from 9:00am-11:00 pm

Closed on Sundays

A royalty-free, generic photograph of a European-style mountain landscape scene, obviously pixelated and intended to be experienced onscreen, served as the starting point for this new installation at LARVA, Guadalajara, Mexico, by the Antwerp-based artist duo Carla Arocha and Stéphane Schraenen. In the photograph’s foreground pink flowers fluoresce against the garish green hills in contrast with the blue sky with fluffy white clouds; brown shadows and yellow can be picked out in the scene in patches.

Distilling this image into six colours in an abstract, six-pointed starburst configuration – its hues could easily have been borrowed from the stripes of a Mexican blanket or facades - Arocha and Schraenen reinsert these colours into the exhibition space in broad bandwidths on the walls. Two layers of veils composed of identical, mirroring segments, hang in symmetrical formation: they bracket the centre and re-explode the abstraction into a new spatial experience. The double-sided mirrored veils composed of identical segments – squares frames - create a mise-en-abîme, different in every direction.

As viewers walk through the installation, their movements activate optical mixing. The distilled palette of the original landscape image is isolated, then remixed in real time, transformed and re-experienced, offering a 21st century reversal of the optical principles underlying impressionist painting. At the same time, Landscape offers an abstract model for viewing and renders the act of seeing (images) tangible. The installation also shows how translating distinct formal elements into new cultural and geographical contexts constitute an act of creative regeneration.

The Antwerp-based duo Carla Arocha (Caracas) and Stéphane Schraenen (Antwerp) have been collaborating since 2004. Their sculptures, 2D works and installations recalibrate optical and cultural phenomena: they pare them down to their essence and redirect them in material objects that are reminiscent of modernist design and abstract and minimalist art of the Twentieth century. Some works include references to film noir and popular culture, thereby investing abstraction with a narrative perspective. Their modular veils fragment spaces and invite viewers to engage in an optical choreography that is activated by their own movements. Carla Arocha and Stéphane Schraenen have exhibited widely throughout Europe, the United States and Mexico. 2014 saw the realization of Persiana, a 10-year survey at CCMechelen in Belgium.

Kate Christina Mayne

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