Solo Exhibition by Alejandro Guijarro
Exhibition Period: 25 November 2017 – 5 January 2018
Preview: 24 November 2017, 7 – 9 pm
Galerie Huit is delighted to present the Hong Kong solo debut exhibition ‘Remnants’ by Madrid based artist, Alejandro Guijarro.
Over the past decade, Guijarro (b. 1979) has created two significant bodies of work ‘Momentum’, the acclaimed series of photographs documenting the blackboards in world renowned quantum physics laboratories, and the newly launched ‘Lead ’, that reveals the ‘invisible’ within the great paintings of the Old Masters.
The exhibition comprises a selection of key monochrome prints from both series, serving as an introduction to Guijarro‘s oeuvre.
‘Momentum’, the first major series, was the culmination of a three-year collaborative relationship between the artist and the most prestigious universities in the world. Oxford, M.I.T, Cambridge, Stanford and Berkeley permitted Guijarro access to their quantum mechanics departments to photograph their blackboards. Interested to explore the relationship between art and science, Guijarro noticed that the accurate equations posited by the pioneering physicists looked abstract and painterly and were in themselves artistic in expression. Oftentimes, he would enter a room after a lecture or at the end of the day, and capture the poignant artistic aftermath of the seemingly erased formulas.
Investigating the mercurial shift between abstraction and reality, Guijarro’s palimpsest documents are markers of time, gathering the past and present at once, ‘I’m not just photographing one moment. It’s a bit like history of science…. Theories are written and erased, but traces remain.’
Printed to 1:1 scale, the ensuing monochrome photographs mimic the experience of looking at a blackboard. Yet, they are not only visual records, the numerical forms, chalk scribbles and scientific symbols can now be read as painterly abstract gestures. A shift occurs in the interpretation of the image and the blackboards are transformed into canvases.
Continuing to use photography as a way to re-present the surface, Guijarro takes 17th and 18th Century paintings as a starting point for his new series, ‘Lead ‘. Over a four year period, collaborating with major art institutions such as The Prado Museum, The National Gallery and The Louvre, Guijarro researched extensively the archives of their conservation departments in order to scan the X-rays, infrared and ultraviolet readings of their Old Master pieces.
The archival X-rays often revealed reworked brush strokes, stretcher marks, conservation work and prominent traces of lead pigments. Painters such as Michaelangelo, Rembrandt and Da Vinci favoured the use of lead paints. In his scans, Guijarro saw that the lead traces tended to dominate the image, which determined a new direction in the overall composition. Whilst the X -rays disclosed secrets of the Old Masters’ authorship, the scans produced photographic transcriptions that reconfigured the historical paintings into surreal montage. Guijarro‘s ethereal images share a dialogue with contemporary painting and photography.
Remnants, the title of the exhibition suggests fragments, parts and residue. Guijarro’s scientific approach to his practice, calls forth the truthful nature of the photographic medium. He employs it to distill substantive matter, in order to reveal the potency of the unseen, hidden and overlooked.
About Alejandro Guijarro
Alejandro Guijarro lives and works in Madrid.
Selected solo and group exhibitions include 2017, Lead, Tristan Hoare, London, 2015, Momentum, Marlborough, Madrid, 2014, New Order: British Art Today, Saatchi Gallery, London, Photography 2.0
PHotoEspana14, Circulo de Belles Artes, Madrid.