Built with Indexhibit
The following are english translations to some of the texts:
The relationship between man and his surroundings is present throughout Camilo Echavarri?a's work. He approaches landscape as a cultural and thus subjective entity central to mankind and transcends literal photographic representation by expanding the photograph's descriptive and narrative possibilities. His photographic practice also involves photography-based video work which diffuses visual and conceptual frontiers between both mediums.
Landscapes are cultural manifestations that record the history of mankind's relationship with its territory. Man is vital for the existence of landscape as a concept. In his absence, nature is little more than a random ensemble of topographical, botanical and atmospheric components. As a result, subjectivity, idealization and the ambiguities of memory and desire inevitably influence the way landscape has been represented throughout history. The way these elements pervade our perception of nature, as well as the variety of implications inherent in its representation are the main concerns addressed by this project. Above and beyond their necessity to replicate visible content, these images intend to translate sensorial experiences arising from both memory and physical presence. I use photography and video searching to erase their technical frontiers and expand each medium's particular descriptive and narrative attributes.
This project is shaped by my experiences in the landscape and the reflections that arise regarding how man relates with his natural milieu, either as an observer, an inhabitant or an agent of transformation. Its aim is to become a visual, personal atlas of the botanical, geological and climatic diversity of the northern Andes mountain range, from the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, to the Chimborazo volcano and the peruvian desert. I intend to represent the beauty of nature's vastness as well as the fragility of the infinitesimal particles that compose it. By recording nature's building blocks -botanics, geology, weather and so on- in the context of a landscape image these works renders the complex and indivisible connections between the grandiose and the miniscule. A leaf is at the same level of importance as a volcano; all matter is alive at it's core.
Illustrated Landscapes is an ongoing endeavour that started more than eight years ago and comprises travels made in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Interview with Oscar Roldán
O.R. How did your passion for the photographic image begin? How did you start in art?
C.E. It was born from a wish to use images to conserve impressions of travels I have made since I was very young, perhaps my strongest childhood memories. My start as an artist was very gradual; it was not a deliberate decision.
O.R.: A fundamental part of your work concerns documenting your travels. When and why did your expeditions begin?
C.E.: At a very early age I began to travel with my family. These were road trips, so there were substantial differences in altitude, climate, vegetation, and even in smells. Going to the coast by car was always an intense experience. The “otherness” of many landscapes always enchanted me. Later, at the end of the 1980’s and beginning of the 1990’s, I undertook many trips to isolated places in national parks. However, I just wanted to travel and contemplate, not to take photographs. I think that part of what motivates my travels and attempts to document these landscapes is a wish to reconstruct places that exist only in my memory.
O.R.: Within that logic, can you tell us about the importance of territory in your work?
C.E.: I seek aesthetic and sensorial experiences from my early travels which have, in some way, stayed with me. I am also curious abut constructing landscapes based on alien territories that have become familiar, either because I have repeatedly seen pictures or read about them. I am interested in constructing concrete and images representing ideals that do not exist in reality. In many cases, the territory is only the raw material for the mental images I want to create.
O.R.: Among other things, art can be used to narrate stories. What stories are you interested in telling, documenting or recreating?
C.E.: Each place has marks and imprints left by man that may interpreted and used by the observer to create different stories. In a deliberate but subtle way, I like to include aspects which refer to mankind’s situations and occurrences. The landscape is a living testimony to history.
O.R.: Although the bulk of your work may be described as photographic, you have been using a method of your own to experiment with time in animated photographs. Can you tell us about that?
C.E.: These technical and conceptual strategies are the basis of previous works (Axis Mundi and Punto de Inspiración) and I use them as a platform to represent the ideas and concerns behind Paisajes Ilustrados [Illustrated Landscapes]. In this work, in addition to portraying space, I show time and incorporate movement. The result is a “total” landscape, where the narrative possibilities are expanded allowing more options for representing observations, memories and concerns.
Afluente evoques the colonial dream of opening a new agricultural frontier through hard work that will provide the foundation for a prosperous future as represented in Horizontes, one of Colombia's emblematic paintings by F. A. Cano. Afluente is a photo-based video piece made in the context of the Illustrated Landscapes project. The combination of still and moving images enables the expansion of a landscape's narrative and descriptive possibilities adding new layers of complexity to it's understanding.
Inspiration Point (Tunnel View)
"Inspiration Point" is the label assigned in some countries to a tourist attraction from which a natural panorama of great visual impact can be observed. This work focuses specifically in Tunnel View, a lansdscape archetype located in Yosemite Valley, California, historically photographed to satiety by all types of photographers. Its dramatic topography, ease of access by car and the imposition of a fixed vantage point, forces visitors to consume and reproduce a prefabricated image. All this, added to the infallibility of today's photographic technology and the versatility of digital devices facilitate an almost endless availability of ideal representations in the worldwide web.
The channel marker in the center of this image finds itself in the frontier that separates the ocean and the city, just in the limit between nature and artifice. Similarly, this work exists in a place between photography and video. Time, but not movement, is added to the still image in order to expand the fragment of time it represents.
This series focuses on the two-dimensional qualities of the photographic image. By removing perspective y emphasize the formal aspects of the buildings depicted, thus lessening the importance of their functionality. This images seek to transcend traditional photographic representation