Translations: Tampering with reality

An exhibition comprised of four installation developed during the artist residencies by five artists at LABoral which shows us alternative ways of understanding the world.

Published: Aug 05, 2013
Translations: Tampering with reality

Artists of Translations

By Marta Lorenzo, My Art Diary

Last Wednesday 31 July saw the simultaneous opening in Gijón of the exhibition Translations, a show that takes place at two venues: LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial and the Centro de Cultura Antiguo Instituto. Parallel unveilings in time and the outcome of an artistic exchange in the context of the Atlantic Arc which bring together the results from artistic residencies by five artists, three based in Nantes –Neal Beggs, Bevis Martin and Charlie Youle- and two Asturians –Regina Dejiménez and Fran Meana.

Why has the term Translations been used? Frédéric Emprou, co-curator of the exhibition along with Alfredo Aracil explains this to us in the exhibition press kit : “The term traslación [translation] comes specifically in this case from geometry and designates taking something from one side to another or displacing something or someone. In 3D vocabulary it is used to indicate the movement of an object parallel to an axis. It is also a linguistic false friend, in French, Spanish and English, of the word traducción [translation]”. Definitions like to move or false give us the keys to understand the exhibition whose guiding thread is the exploration of reality along its borders with space-object-materiality and time, consciously avoiding anything that can be mapped or defined.

As a result of research into hitherto unexplored channels, four installations have been created in the Plataforma 0 Production Centre at LABoral, where they have been nourished while also feeding back to each other out of their own resources from their respective art systems: Gijón and Nantes. In the words of Alfredo Aracil, the project’s co-curator, the works: “go beyond the objective space of the representation and give us a new experience in return”. For this purpose, they use reality at their own discretion and alter it using new technologies, drawing us closer to a timeless state and fiction, and also evoking the vortex of our times where every day distances become shorter and the local merges with the global.

Starting with Neal Beggs, the most veteran artist in the exhibition who belonged to the Scottish artistic scene in the late 1990s, who amazes us at the Centro de Cultura Antiguo Instituto (Gijón) with an installation called Red River Valley. In this the artist uses historical events in recovering an anti-fascist song bearing the same title used by the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. Through an installation which mixes captured images, a guitar and a 3D gun made with the cutting-edge resources owned by LABoral, the piece recreates and creates the profile of an era under a new aesthetic in low tech style. For Beggs, one of the leitmotifs of his work is that pop music can reflect culture and, in turn, art works can function as pop songs, as he explained himself in this interview made for the exhibition.

Neal Beggs assembling his installation. Photo: LABoral / S.Redruello

For her part, Regina Dejiménez in Reinos en traslación: el cobre, who shares space with Neal Beggs, offers us a completely different vision centred on the various uses-states of material. Specifically, on copper and its usefulness throughout history, beginning with its relationship with alchemy and coming up to the present day with its electronic conductivity properties. The results are extremely poetic works, full of symbolism in which photographs, taken in mines in Asturias which the artist visited, along with other pieces are intermingled with liquid elements that are copper mixtures or come directly from this element. A noteworthy study on the transformation of the natural world applied to culture.

The artist Regina Dejiménez at work during her residency at LABoral. Photo: LABoral / S.Redruello

Moving to LABoral, we come across the piece Ways of Seeing by the artist pair Bevis Martin & Charlie Youle. Their case, in particular, is a clear example of how the technological resources provided by LABoral are essential for the development of the work by these two artists in residence, as it can lead to the start of a new project as this has been the case. At their workshop in Nantes they work with ceramics and do not have this technology available, which once placed at their disposal in fabLAB, allowed this artistic duo to explore the behaviour of the artefact or object in the fourth dimension.

During their artist residency they have put together the different ways in which various people have tried to explain how the object functions in the fourth dimension through drawings and texts. Once again, the city of Gijón has helped them in their search with visits to many museums in the locality - Museo del Ferrocarril [Train Museum], Termas romanas [Roman Baths] and the La Campa Torres Archaeological Park and Nature Reserve. The results, based on a combination of the primitive practise of modelling and high technology, are virtual sculptures that aim to approach a simulation of the above mentioned dimension. Geometry, modelling, and above all, the transmission of knowledge are the key concepts in his their work.

Image of the creation process in Ways of Seeing. Photo: LABoral / S.Redruello

Finally, taking up again the sound exploration which Neal Beggs also draws from, the name of the artist Fran Meana appears. El límite del tiempo [The Edge of Time] is an installation formed by audio tracks which are synchronised in upright speakers which recreate a conversation. His work mainly investigates the relationships between production forms and the construction of the imaginary. To achieve this fictional elements are generated to create deliberate erroneous readings. During his residency he worked intensively with a fiction script to then transfer it to the text with voice processing. The final results displayed to visitors are three voices that point to three times and three social models, yet, in reality, it is the same voice crafted in different ways. Once more, the borders between the real and fiction are dissolved to throw us into a new reality per se and in itself.

This exhibition undoubtedly continues with the line of work created by LABoral, reclaiming the loss of reference points and where reality and fiction come together to abandon its longstanding traditional antagonism.

Fran Meana performing sound test for his piece. Photo: LABoral / S.Redruello

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  • 33203 Gijón (Asturias)
  • Spain
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