- PhMuseum 2023 Photography Grant
Study on the construction of a garden
Dates2020 - 2023
A garden is a space for the manifestation of a beauty that must be pampered. Its construction implies care and the desire to perpetuate our existence. Created with our best efforts and wealth. Perhaps the best description of this attempt was given by Victor Hugo when he was imagining the space of the Old Summer Palace of Beijing and its gardens, destroyed during the Second Opium War:
“Imagine an inexpressible construction. Something like a lunar building, and you will have the Summer Palace. Build a dream with marble, jade, bronze and porcelain. Cover it with precious stones. Wrap it in silk. Make a sanctuary here. Put in gods. Put monsters inside. Built by architects who are poets, the thousand and one dreams of the thousand and one nights. Suppose, in a word, a kind of dazzling cave of human fantasy in the form of a temple and a palace: this is how this monument will be”.
Inspired by Victor Hugo's text, "Study on the construction of a garden" uses photography, reinterpretations of the pictorial work of Claudio de Lorena and museum archives, as the main tools for his composition.
The starting point of the project is the news of an illness. Guillermo has been my mother's companion for the last twenty-five years and the closest figure that I've ever had to a father. My intention is to narrate the last years of his life, his love story and the attempt to build a future from his absence. Through a project that aspires to be a kind of monument to his memory and a reflection on the passage of time. Using the house where they lived as a scenery; the portraiture, and a series of family objects treasured by my mother like the pieces of a family museum. These objects, furtively decontextualized of their original use, are transformed into a kind of ephemeral sculptures or models of utopian projects for a future garden. Where the strange enters into the realm of the domestic. Mixing reality with dreams, in an exercise that pursues the most sublime beauty as a way of narrating, in a symbolic way, the progress of the disease, their love story and the passage of time.
The total absence of vegetal forms (not artificial) in the house, is countered by glass forms that suggest them and with the use of archives, coming from various sources, and photographic reinterpretations, generated with Polaroid film, of the work of the painter Claudio de Lorraine, considered the first pure landscape painter in the History of Western Art. Lorena reflected in his work a new conception of landscape that was essential for the History of Art. The so-called "ideal landscape", which shows a vision of utopian nature, at the same time that it reflects the inner and ideal world of the artist. The influence of his work was essential for the consolidation of the theme of landscape as an artistic discipline in the art of the Western world. In the same way, the echoes of his work had a major influence on the development of the English garden typology and subsequent artistic and literary movements, deeply linked to landscape and nature, such as Romanticism.
My objective is to carry out a multidisciplinary project, based on the idea of study, investigation or notebook, where the photographs of my parents, the reinterpretations of works by Claudio de Lorena and the sequences of strips of negatives, sketches and mockups made with our domestic objects, they merge into an amalgamation of trials, errors and successes, which pursue is a the creation of an intimate and subjective version of our family memory, and the construction of an imaginary garden or monument about love, memory and the passage of time.