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Israel Ariño & Clara Gassull

Israel Ariño (Barcelona, Spain, 1974) &
Clara Gassull (Barcelona, Spain,1994)

—Installation Plaça Doctor Guardiet (Map)

Voyage en pays du Clermentois is a project completed at four hands by the photographer Israel Ariño and the artist Clara Gassull. The work has been presented both in exhibition form and in a book published by Ediciones Anómalas.

Previously, both Ariño and Gassull had already collaborated in Variacions sobre la gravetat del lloc (Variations on the Gravity of Place), which created a dialogue between Gassull's sculptures and photographs from Ariño's work La gravetat del lloc (The Gravity of Place).

The photographer usually works with black-and-white images taken with large-format cameras. His technical mastery —which might say virtuosity—  of historic analogue processes (ambrotype, salt paper, wet collodion...) enables him to exercise great stylistic variety.

Voyage en pays du Clemontois is the result of an artistic residency that Israel Ariño completed at Diaphane, a photography centre in Hauts-de-France. A long creative from July 2017 to December 2018 took him all over the territory Clementois in the different seasons of the year. The germ of the images is formed by the photographs of these landscapes to which Clara Gassull has added colour without concern for the actual colours. She digitally repainted the landscape using a limited colour range rich in pale, creamy tones. In this way, she creates new images and new meanings from other images. The result is a painterly style with Impressionist inspiration over the monochrome brushstrokes of silver halides.

Photography always had a yearning for colour, and painting was soon recruited to colour postcard images. As a result of the very history of the technical invention of photography, born in black and white and later expanded to embrace colour, we psychologically relate the former to the past and the latter to the present. Indeed, this is narrative resource that we have become used to observing in films. However, in the work that concerns us here, the colour of the photographs created by Ariño-Gassull isolates them from the present and transports them to a timeless, fictional space. Colour transfigures reality and the very representation of reality. With metaphotographic purpose, imagining and subverting reality, the images evoke both the past and the future and lead us to see and recognise ourselves in the landscape.

Objective correlative is a literary technique that employs a series of poetic images in succession to awaken thoughts and feelings in the reader. The viewer is invited to contemplate the poetry of these photographs in a similar way.