“Like the roots of a tree, a monument reminds us every day of our history and keeps us immobile, anchored to the land we were born in, in a time that is not ours and in a static condition that does not belong to us.”
Varsi Art&Lab is pleased to present the first residency at the new Varsi Lab. This new space opens its doors with the Open Studio Residency of Gonzalo Borondo. The Spanish artist worked together with 56Fili in our screen printing lab to the realization of a series of limited edition works exclusively for Varsi Art&Lab.
"Monumenta" Paintings series
What is a monument?
The term “monument” comes from the Latin monere and indicates a “sign that was placed and that remains in the memory of a person or of an event”.
A monument represents the architectural exposition of a message, of an ideology, or of a thought. Its physical matter is infused with a meaning related to a certain time or place. A monument is erected to celebrate a moment and to last forever, which is an intrinsic contradiction in terms.
This contradiction also extends to the urban fabric to which the monument belongs. As Aldo Rossi writes, each city finds its image, its essence and its memory through “the contrast between what is specific and what is universal and between the individual and the collectivity”, and therefore through the relationship between what is eternal and what may change, between the “urban facts” that structure it.
Gonzalo Borondo questions people’s need to perpetuate themselves and their vision of things by imposing their presence on their surroundings. This translates into their compulsion to leave an indelible mark. But the context and the society they belong to are instead characterized by eternal change, which cyclically encounters the urge to oppose what remains unalterable.
Like the roots of a tree, a monument reminds us every day of our history and keeps us immobile, anchored to the land we were born in, in a time that is not ours and in a static condition that does not belong to us.
The destruction of a monument, be it physical or ideological, thus becomes the medium and the symbol for a revolution that establishes the breaking point necessary for evolution.
“Monumenta” springs from this inexhaustible relationship of dependence and conflict: a series of paintings on aluminum plates through which Borondo speaks to us of rupture and reconciliation, of inertia and change, of all eternal antinomies.
"Fundamenta" Prints series
The “Fundamenta I” series is derived from a photograph taken by Gonzalo Borondo that he defines as the still image of a “vision”. It is a snow-capped mountain with trees in the background which, when illuminated by light, emanate a powerful spectrum of colors. The red signs on the trees compose a progression of numbers that, at first glance, seem to create a horizon line that blends into the natural picture. Looking closely, they instead reveal the passage of man and of his becoming part of the immortalized landscape.
This vision has stimulated Borondo with new reflections on the relationships between human beings and nature and between reason and instinct, in which he reads a possible reconciliation between forces that are increasingly in conflict with each other.
Classical architecture imitates the functions of nature, but its means of expression are forced by geometric canons and references that bring the human intellect hierarchically in the foreground, with the intent of subduing and controlling the randomness of everything that is not human.
Sacred sites are no longer natural spaces in woods, plains, and mountains, but become constructions erected in the likeness of man; a tree becomes a column, the sky becomes a roof and the earth is separated from human feet, detaching man and nature in an increasingly unbridgeable manner.
Borondo, therefore, decides to reconstruct the vision that touched in him the hope of a new dialogue, a new coexistence, and empathy that we have forgotten but which is essential to recognize ourselves.
Through different techniques and their combination, Borondo, together with 56Fili, reconciles randomness and rationality without trying to overlap one with the other.
He characterizes opposite elements and creates new links between them: trees and caryatids, archetypes and their anthropomorphic evolution, origins, and their evolution into humanization. In the middle, all of these elements’ numbers appear to unite what has been separated for centuries.
Caryatids are reproduced in series through screen printing. They bring forth human rigor, the univocal vision of a pre-established order, and communicate at the same time, without hierarchy. The accidental style of the monotype speaks to us of a variety of solutions, evolutions, and changes typical of the natural order of things, imagining a time in which woods will become again sacred places and in which man will find a way to welcome unpredictability without fearing it.
The reflections behind the “Fundamenta I” series are the basis for the “Fundamenta II” series, which is born from the synergy between Gonzalo Borondo and Edoardo Tresoldi.
Borondo starts working on his production by elaborating – on a graphic and conceptual level – his reflections on columns as connecting elements between man and nature. Then, almost as a sign of the connections he is seeking, he encounters a work created by Edoardo Tresoldi with 56Fili in Varsi Lab.
The result is a spontaneous and unexpected interaction that finds its raison d’être in the dialogue between different visions, methods and poetics that are seemingly in contrast, but which find their common roots in the encounter between man, nature and what is sacred.
The screen-printed capitals by Tresoldi and 56Fili, which convey on paper the compositions created for the installation “Opera” on Reggio Calabria’s seafront, represent an ethereal, light element that thrusts upwards, while pointing at a sacred sphere in which the element disappears. This is the element where Tresoldi’s entire poetics finds its origins, and which narrates the Absent Matter, thus emptying architecture of its physical mass and transforming it into pure language, capable of merging with the landscape and of seeking for the contact between anthropic and natural spaces.
Borondo inserts himself into this imagery with a pictorial and instinctive gesture, depicting an equal and opposite drive, i.e. the site that holds the column anchored to the ground, which keeps it tied to the organic, material, and mutable sphere that generates life.
Once again, in the juxtaposition of elements that are so radically different, it finds the answer to how to start a new path of reconnection and dialogue, which can bring people back to their rightful place in the order of things.
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