It is not down on any map; true places never are, said Herman Melville. We have been systematically erased from all maps; geographical, political or cultural maps have ignored our people, throwing it to the sea. We are a holiday destination, but a crude one. Nobody finds here what one has come searching for. We are, in many aspects, a flat jungle. The same jungle in which Johan Van der Keuken renders the region bathed by the Wadden Sea. Sometimes land, sometimes sea, filled with profound socioeconomic changes that drag us downhill. We are not a retirement paradise. Cold winters and years during which rain does not give a truce for three hundred days. Art has depicted this situation throughout history and today artists are doomed to exile. It is still an impossible task to show one’s work 500km from the geographical, political and cultural center of a country.
The current economic crisis does not seem to have impaired us anymore than we have ever been. Our home has always been far from our homeland: Buenos Aires, Caracas, São Paulo, New York, Melbourne, Frankfurt, Geneva, London or Paris.
Damián Ucieda, Misha Bies Golas and Manuel Eirís have as a common link their interest in real life, the environment in which they work and an outcome which reaches three contrasting formal limits. Even though not one of them remembers the other two, their work arises from a similar idea: the three of them find their location, materials and even their work, already completed, in their urban environment.
Manuel Eirís works with a series of conditions that oblige him to constantly redo and rewrite his work. Paintings that speak of an experience linked to his life and which find no place for shame. Everything responds to a process with its ups and downs, with trials and errors that result in a meta-painting exercise, in which besides the ending, the important thing is the way and the trail generated. Permanently facing uncertainty, finishing a project becomes a dilemma for Eirís, which drives him to doubt as a working method. The way Eirís deals with representation alludes directly to metonymy as analyzed by Lacan. One thing is named through another, which becomes its container or is a part of it, or is connected to it. Through sum or deduction Manuel Eirís plays at building individual or collective memory. He seeks to recover a story in which possibly something unremarkable has happened. His intention is to extract a piece of the life that has been developing in certain places, making plastic samples which allow him to decompose the chronicle that has shaped the passage of time.
Working in a style inherited from photographers such as Jeff Wall, Philip Lorca diCorcia, Andreas Gursky or Thomas Struth, Ucieda captures moments, perfectly preconceived moments in which nothing is left up to chance. Situations created with the firm conviction of showing probable moments, without a doubt, but that hide scenes in which the spectators interpretation plays an essential role. The formal ability of a photograph doesn’t explain anything. The events portrayed are mysterious in themselves or as John Berger sees it explicable depending on the knowledge the viewer has before seeing the photographs. If there is something Berger can be characterised for it’s his simple way of explaining in the same manner that Uciedas images reach the viewer. It’s not about generating moments that are characterised for their spectacularity if not to play recreating scenes that disconcert the viewer due to their familiarity but it’s this point of uncertainty that could break the balance at any moment.
Misha Bies Golas
Misha Bies Golas' work starts from appropriation. His studio could be regarded as a warehouse where a huge amount of all kind of objects are accumulated and which share the possibility of finding a place in his work. The result is sometimes confusing, it's a question of reading between the lines, or noticing the hidden face of each of his pieces.
Also concerned about painting as a topic of research, his interest in monochrome leads him to rescue objects that play with that idea or even to generate pieces through works signed by others. Wandering while looking for nothing, is the best way to find something. When we go out into the street with an objective we rarely reach it. In this way Misha Bies Golas strolls while doing his daily tasks, far from art, and his work starts to appear slowly. His studio is a space for experimentation that defines the final shape.
Ángel Calvo Ulloa
Ángel Calvo Ulloa (Lalín - Pontevedra, 1984) lives and works in Santiago de Compostela.
Graduated in Art History from the University of Santiago de Compostela. Post-graduate in Contemporary Art: Creation and research at Faculty of Fine Arts from the University of Vigo.
As art critic is editor of Dardo Magazine, A*desk Critical Thinking and Dardonews.
As curator has developed the public interventions project Un disparo de advertencia (Lalín-Pontevedra) in 2011, the solo exhibition Natureza! Estás soa? with the artist Álvaro Negro in PALEXCO (A Coruña) in 2011, the group exhibition Welcme to my loft in the CTB (Ferrol) in 2012, Wily Forza Ingobernable at FAC (Santiago de Compostela) in 2013, Agora!, artistic interventions project at winery Martín Códax factory in Cambados (Pontevedra) in 2013 and Sssh! Del sielncio un lenguaje at Nuble gallery (Santander) at the end of 2013.
He has conducted during 2011 and 2012 the project Espazo Sirvent (Vigo) and now works in his next project, Diálogos Improbables, that will run between 2012 and 2013 and is co-curator of the project Afluentes that analyse figurative painting in Galicia since 1968. Is member of the curators group OsTres with whom organizes some exhibitions during 2013 at Miramemira space in Santiago de Compostela (Damian Ucieda, Ian Waelder and Pedro Magalhães).
He has worked as project coordinator at Look Up! Natural Porto Art Show in the city of Porto in 2010 and now works in different projects for Granell Foundation (Santiago de Compostela), Salon Project (Madrid) and Louis21 gallery (Madrid).