Atelier Morales: two ways of understanding space

/ 8 March, 2014

Whomever has followed the evolution of Atelier Morales’s artistic work (Teresa Ayuso and Juan Luis Morales) will notice a radical change in their last photographic series, Tributo a Monet (Tribute to Monet, 2013), displayed in Palazzo Bembo during the 55th Venice Biennial Exhibition. However, if compared with its earlier presentations, we will notice a substantial change of attitude in the way space is conceived within the oeuvre. It would be good to see that, perhaps because coming from the field of architecture, the artistic discourse by Teresa and Juan Luis makes some emphasis in a narrative of space as an object of representation. Tribute to Monet, however, is not now that review of the past and the spatiality of its memory that Atelier Morales acquainted us with in those early series loaded with a strong subjectivity.

The first and most visible of these forms is the one observing space as a mediating and impartial agent facing the dynamics of the present. In the second, space is seen from the physical height of an aerial view which, at the same time, is the symbolic height of an emblematic cultural institution for contemporary artistic production: the Pompidou Art Center. The third, alluding to the inner problem of art genres positioning, is thus summarized by Atelier Morales: “to induce and achieve in this way the approach of photographic art to the imperative material precept of painting, the creation of works unique in themselves.”

(…) Is AM an artistic duet making architecture or architects making art?

Avoiding falling into undesired generalizations, we may run the risk of saying that their architectonic projects view the design of spaces created to experience subjectivity. That is, conceived to fill the expectations, whether physical or psychological, of spaces dreamed to inhabit and feel at ease under the protection of a home, in which the need to display the imagination of those inhabiting it is taken into account. As I see it, it is this degree of subjectivism present in its architecture what converges in the first photographic series mentioned. In it, AM’s inner view strongly counters reality by inventing a photographic space full of details and plasticity. In both fields, that of art and that of architecture, subjective space almost always ends displacing the neutral space in which its artistic view is stamped. (…)

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