Gaze and Objects

from Pep Dardanyà

We are caught up in a hyper visual and hyper technological society in which most of human relations are built and developed virtually; in which the use of new information and communication technologies have led to a dematerialisation of both the artistic object and subject. But, at the same time a more introspective look to the new paradigms in art and design takes us to vindicate the object and the physical contact with it, a need to touch and touch each other again, to exchange not only looks, but things too, to intoxicate us with new ideas and new ways of making.

This paradigm enhances objects as things useful to us for reflexion and introspective thinking. A new context for reflection showing that an object is always good to be used, a prosthesis and at the same time it is good for thinking, a symbol, a metaphor, a vehicle, a means with further meaning beyond its precise function, that it enables us to evoke believes, unique stories and collective imagery. We surround ourselves with objects that identify us and so we are singled out. The dichotomy between industry and art, design or handcraft becomes more evident. Industry is generally related to mass production and normalization, to uniformity with standardized components. Art and design, on the other hand is related to the production of short series, not standardized, for local markets presenting irregular productions and thus singular and above all with self-managed production and distribution processes.
The exhibition “Emptying out the gaze” is a good example of this paradigm. The conceptual approach of the exhibition project and the shown objects suggests that a good artist or designer is, above all, a good and thorough observer both of social background and of private emotions panorama, ultimately a voyeur. A kind of voyeur in search of the best place to look from without being noticed, who wanders the scenery as a romantic flaneur in search of the best point of view to focus precisely before shooting. The four artists in this exhibition are positioned in this approach. Nicole Deuster vindicates freedom to observe as if a basic human right, without forgetting the responsibility it means and in turn the duty of allowing to be observed and explored in a permanent gaze exchange at times perverse. In this intercourse, the object flashes work as a playful winkle asking for a complicity sign from the observer. Carmen Roher underlines the poetry of everyday objects to build a metaphor on the contradiction it means to try to understand the outside when looking into the inside and to look inside yourself to be able to see further. Montse Basora addresses us with a blunt “Don’t look”. A provocative conceptual gesture referring to the game of seduction between the right to intimacy and the narcissist and irreverent morbid desire to show and make it public in the attempt to share it with others. Carla Garcia Durlan uses the physical impossibility of seeing as a metaphor of a society blind to the most relevant problems. With her proposal called “Cataract” pushes us down the river accompanied by objects built with irrelevant materials, recycled from the dump of history which may save us from imminent drowning.
Reflections, feelings, and emotions are projected and represented with materials, colours, and miscellaneous shapes in a proposition to make an effort to empty our way of looking at things out of prejudices. If we look at, touch and wear these objects we may experiment on our own skin those reflections, feelings, and emotions. In this way, we may break the dividing lines between theory and practice, technique and expression, craftsman and artist, maker and user, and we will finally and unequivocally belong to a modern society.

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