"Photography has arrived at the point where it is capable of liberating painting from all literature, from the anecdote, and even from the subject."
Painting with light
Historically, those works with a unique and irreproducible character have been considered High Art, which far from having a practical purpose, have as their main goal that of expressing and excelling beauty through the virtuosity and sensitivity of the creator. Photography as a discipline has often been unfairly set on a lower tier compared to other arts such as painting, for its technical character and aesthetic effects, immediately accessible to a large audience. This immediacy also deprives it in the eyes of academia of the metaphor that painting allows, which is still a paradox since if painting has survived, it has been thanks to photography, on which it based itself to reencounter some of its identity in art history. As Paul Strand already noted in 1923, "Photographers would like to be accepted into society as true artists just as painters are. For this reason, they have tried to turn photography into what it is not, so they are apprehended to infuse a supposedly pictorial essence into their works." What irritated purists is that photography with artifices, that which didn’t limit itself to archiving time, invaded the realm of the impalpable, of technique and imagination, a place only accessible to painters, considering the camera as an almost illegitimate shortcut to achieve the status of an artist.
A century later, photography has proven to be a medium as worthy as painting or sculpture, further enriched by the numerous streams of research around the technical mixtification and hybridization of media and images of very different origins, which facilitate its fluctuation between different disciplines. In "RGB" Irene Cruz endorses this idea by taking ownership of the photographic language, which is the language she masters, and merging it with the language of painting, with which she has been experimenting with for a few years.
But how does an artist that developed her career amongst cameras and lenses approach painting?The hasty strokes of the sculptor Venancio Blanco, who was his neighbor and unintentionally became sort of a youth mentor, served Irene Cruz as a way to incorporate sketching into her daily creative process, a working methodology that she has used as a pretext to delve into form, movement and color, metaphorically eliminating barriers between disciplines. By sheer interest in continuing to exploring inspired by other photographers who historically introduce techniques and resources alien to the medium, such as Gerhard Richter, or the Arnulf Rainer and Dieter Roth tandem- she embarks in 2016 on a first project of hybridization of the photographic with the pictorial in collaboration with Víctor Alba. With the painter, Irene Cruz explores the versatility of plasticity, thus overcoming the direct confrontation between the artist and the photographic eye. In "RGB", this time individually, she rekindles with the creation of mixed works, where the photographic element is present as another technical process, necessary for the constitution of a meaning that in no way depends on the traditional concepts associated with the photographic medium, but, quite the contrary, in this case it results precisely from the overcoming of those concepts by the artist.
With this particular outlook, and total creative freedom, Irene Cruz paints with the light of her images a beauty and a narrative, which seem already almost pictorial, stressing the idea that her language is neither simple nor mechanical. Both photography and painting have in common that both are capable of capturing what the artist tries to express and translate into images what reflects their own point of view, this being the ultimate goal; their personal way of looking at the infinite universe of reality.
To support this hypothesis, Irene Cruz plays, resorting to the intervention with painting, intertwining both languages in a chromatic dance where the four elements are very present; the blues of the skies, the air so dense that could almost be physically felt, the water, which is a metaphor of photography, the fire-red, pure energy of combustion that gives way to creation, and the earth that leads us to the pictorial, natural pigments seeking a connection with the primal. Painting is an element that in "RGB" Cruz utilizes to inquire into the textures, which she uses and incorporates in the image as a form of conceptual expression, highlighting the accented framing, exquisite details and intense colors.
And always very present, the human element with which Irene Cruz aims to expand our understanding of social reality. In a universe where everything flows, its characters also roam with total freedom, without the limitations and boundaries conjuncturally imposed (a movement that also serves as a metaphor between the constant interaction between artistic disciplines). The individuals that Irene Cruz portrays, dance weightlessly opening a way for the light to shine upon the unpopulated lines of an unjust world that separates and classifies us, flowing with its energy, intertwining its vitality with the nature around it.
This way, with "RGB", Irene Cruz shows us that photography, and more specifically, the hybridization between image and plasticity, it is also an inexhaustible personal way of looking at the universe, it is an alternate language that influences, gathers influences and transforms them, because not only photography is able to show us in a reliable way the transformative capacity to turn space into time, painting also complements it and provides an element that transforms everything; the uniqueness of the piece.
And it is precisely this unique character that transcends the concepts of photography in relation to reality, the instantaneity and reproducibility, which have no reason to exist in this new conformation of the meaning and purpose of the work; that of painting with light.
"RGB" is an exhibition submission by Irene Cruz for the Tomás y Valiente Art Center of Fuenlabrada, composed of photographic images of different sizes, installation and video.
"RGB" was actually born before this strange 2020, inspired by various influences, faced with a need for personal, spiritual and aesthetic change. Of maturity as a human being and as an artist. From the most genuine desire to break with the usual direction of my work, in short, as a natural reflection of the change of consciousness in my life that has been emerging since 2018.
Back in 2016, I was lucky to collaborate and learn from one of the teachers that life offered: the great Victor Alba. I love his work and his paintings. Amongst his simplicity there is a complex skill, a magical inspiration and a wonderful person. As a result of this and with a lot of lessons learnt along the way, "Symbiosis Naturae" emerged, exhibited for the first time in Room C of CEART (curated by Noemí Méndez). This same center is the one that now hosts in Room B the result of this evolution under the title "RGB" (curated by Elvira Rilova). I believe this work could not be understood without taking this life event into account.
Since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by everything that is art. Art is the language that I consider native to me. It was not through languages (Spanish, English or German), that I have learnt to express myself and speak my mind, but rather through photography, painting, video and drawing. All of them, and each one, have allowed me to showcase what I have inside. Relatively recently, I have dared to translate and explain in words what I express in my images.
Perhaps my need to speak so many languages is in this "longing" to learn to communicate, to free myself, to externalize myself and also to be understood in society like others.
D. Eceolaza is one of the people who knows me best and has grown in parallel with me. The video directed by Daniel, which opens the exhibition, is his perception and representation of me. Those tears that are shown are the concentration of the whole universe that is in me: my constant blockage in the throat, that "RGB" and 2020 have managed to begin to break. Daniel has collected, in this film, all the symbols of that healing: minerals, the forest, nudity, the car as movement, water, rain…).
This text is an effort to make myself known in another way: it is born from emotions, experiences, images, music, symbols and gestures to words.
And "RGB" only influences the concept of translation. From free expression to the conventions of spoken language, the languages of color, the different artistic disciplines and the structures that the art market often imposes.
Before diving into the depths of "RGB" and delving into more details, I would like to explain a little the more technical subject of color theory, especially for those who are not familiar with it, as it is important to understand the title, and the metaphor of the processes.
These that I will expose here, are the characteristics of the two polar chromatic languages in which I navigate, and that in a (creative) way I am translating and combining in this project: the language that for me is native (additive synthesis, light, photography) and the foreign, which I learn (subtractive synthesis, pigment, painting).
When I refer to additive synthesis, I am talking about the formation of colors through the sum of different lights at their different wavelengths. The additive primary colors are: red, green and blue (RGB). The concept indicated refers to the addition of color, considering white as the sum of all light in the maximum proportion of the visible spectrum. Additive synthesis is what is used for color separation and thanks to it we are able to see and reproduce colors on different screens.
On the other hand, when I speak of subtractive synthesis, I am referring to obtaining colors by mixing pigments. In fact, it is called subtractive because as pigment colors are added, it actually subtracts color (all together it would result in black).
The primary colors of the subtractive synthesis will be the complementary colors of the additive synthesis.
The primary subtractive colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow) are those that are created by absorbing certain wavelengths. When white light touches a material or surface, the colored pigments on that surface absorb all the light waves except those of its colors, which are reflected and perceived by the eye.
For example, a red paper would absorb all wavelengths except those of the color red, which would be sent back into the atmosphere and perceived by human vision. Subtractive synthesis, being of reflected colors, needs white light for its creation. If we continue with the example, the red paper is red because the light reflects on it, but if we turn off the light, the color disappears and we see black, that is, the absence of color. White is the result of the reflection of all light. White paper is white because it reflects all light.
And if we are talking about language, about the way of seeing color, about technique; Why am I under the impression that it is established that some techniques are more valued than others? Why do I sometimes feel that photography costs much more (to sell and to move around) in the market? It is clear, that a technological evolution has a huge influence, the internet, for example, which gives us thousands and millions of images. What is "free" is not valued, images we constantly publish through social networks. I just want to make myself understood, express myself, using all the tools or languages that I explore. Truth to be told it makes me very uncomfortable to be classified, because that always implies limitation, and that is precisely what I want to get away from.
But am I more of an artist or less because I use one language or another? Does the same thing happen to writers who express themselves and create in English or German or any other language?
Through these questions, the aesthetic and conceptual proposal of "RGB" was created. I wanted to disintegrate the limits of photography and painting, of video and even those of music by creating my own sound pieces. I don't really know how to classify this whole explosion, and I will integrate
it under the handy "mixed media", "video-art" and "still image-art".
To do this, I paint with additive colors, through pigments, which we have been told all our lives are subtractive, and that if you put them all together it will result in black. And I keep them in the purest, red, green or blue. Sometimes directly from the paint pot, which in the opinion of the experts "is not recommended." In turn, I also painted the photographs with light. Because etymologically that is what I do from my Greek name, like Irene, and as a photographer: φῶς (root
φωτ-, phōs, «light»), and γράφω (root γράφ-, graf, «scratch, draw, write»).
Writing with light, painting with light, re-painting with foreign pigments for photography, simulating another new intrusive light (RGB) but without its essence, innovating and having fun with textures and in each brushstroke questioning and diluting the limits of art above pigmented ink snapshots directly onto aluminum plates.
I can even go further. I paint my videos with light, with gels of red, green and blue colors. And I even challenge/dare myself to complete the audiovisual. I mean, without pretensions,
to unleash my hidden talent in the form of music, of sound pieces, which like my father, I play as if some entity possessed me, like a divine gift, by ear. And it fits well. My Compositions low-fi, electronic, and once again, difficult to classify, accompany and interpret the images retroactively,
the free movements of my female and male muses that once danced without sound, only with nature, the Stimmung (state of mood of the environment) and the surroundings.
And I register them, as a translation of who they are through my work. Because it is through those first explanatory brushstrokes that I vaguely give them that they trust, and are unconcerned,
and I only interpret them. The energy of the person in front of my camera is as important as the work itself, that intimate moment that I create with them is what inspires and excites me the most. They are the people with whom I have lived 2020, who have shared my personal life with me in an emotional way.
I compose music, and title it in the most unusual language, which was born with that idea of universality: Esperanto ("ruĝa, verda kaj blua"). Having little idea of its written system (music theory), which I always resisted learning, I compose using intuition, practice, trial and error. I play
with loops , with sounds that I download from the internet, mixing them with others that I believe, as a reference to this chaos of influences, to this world of infinite possibilities that we do not pay enough attention to, to the eternal return of situations that are repeated, that make us learn and evolve.
In addition, as part of the exhibition, of this project, it seemed very logical to include a video-installation with absolutely all the Instagram stories that have emerged throughout the gestation and production of the project. Collecting all that eagerness that we have to share everything that happens to us (and all the strength it gives me to know someone is watching, is there anyone who creates Instagram stories for themselves? Is there someone who creates art only for himself?) . The millennial language of those of us who are practically digital natives takes this to its extreme. And we care about sharing. Why aren't we going to treat it like art? If in the end art is the expression, it is the search, the intention, to teach what I do, the sketch, not just the final work. This is nothing more than the work that will precede the project that comes to mind as a result of it. And so on until I die. Because creating is an absolute necessity, it is therapy for me, channeling the exterior into the interior and the interior to the exterior, the cycle of my life.
I hope this writing full of attempts at voicing my emotions,
does not take away your freedom to freely interpret my
works and to make this experience only yours.