Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Beings of Light - an installation created by Marisol Cavia

I have to say that every new artwork that Marisol creates, invariably involve the use of, and hence the purchase of something unusual. In the past she has required rat traps (sourced in an Indian market), hair pieces that weighed more than twenty kilos each (sourced in China) and thousands of sewing needles (also obtained in China). By the nature of where she obtained these items, they had to find their way to her studio through transportation on planes, in the luggage, and it is uncertain what the customs authorities would have made of them had they made careful examination of the luggage that contained these items.
In the latest work from Marisol, called Beings of Light, she has once again opted for the use of some equally unusual components. Rubbing shoulders with photographs and textile is a child's pram and a translucent balloon of  serious size. She describes the work as a representation of the aura that emanates from and surrounds all beings. The work was created to be exhibited in Leon, and she has stated that the inspiration of this work came from the colours and light that one sees inside the Cathedral of Leon, when the sun shines through the spectacular coloured glass windows of the Cathedral.

She explains that the aura which she has captured through the use of a program that processes images (of people who agreed to have their images included) snapped through a digital camera, appears in the form of all kinds of colours which change as our feelings and thoughts change. The colours are associated with characteristics which are often described in works on the topic of aura, and the installation shows many of these aura photographs together with a display of the characteristics for some of the colours.
The installation is in two parts displayed side by side. The first part depicts the aura of a newborn child and it shows a pram from which a white balloon emerges which has associations with pregnancy and childbirth as well as the emerging aural energy which being white represents purity and innocence. The balloon is back lit from the recesses of the pram which gives the piece its 'light'. The second part consists of the photographs of adult auras which are displayed captured in glass jars, whose covers give off halos generated by the clever use of lighting. There is a digital display of photographs as a slideshow and a cloth that has been covered in a variety of colours with words describing the characteristics of each colour. A brief explanation informs the viewer that the colours used come from the Hindu festival of  Holi, which is a celebration of life and is held the springtime in India.
In Leon at the well known Vela Zanetti Gallery, her installation formed part of an exhibition of work by a group of London based Spanish Artists known as SAL (which stands for Spanish Artists in London). Needless to say the pram and all the elements of the installation had to be transported to Leon from her studio in Laredo, about two hundred miles away. Later the same exhibition was moved to Laredo at the Sala Ruas, for which all the work in Leon had to be packed into the back of a small car. It helped that we had experience of travelling on Ryanair and often had to pack our cases with careful use of space.
Public response to her work has been interesting, since this kind of conceptual art is not so common in the communities where it was shown. People of all ages made positive comments. Young people found the use of the unusual materials intriguing, while adults appreciated that the work was different from the traditional view of 'art' and that one had to think about the concept to grasp its significance fully.
Later this year Marisol has another exhibition planned. If her past work is anything to go by, it should be interesting to see what she comes up with next.

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