pinelopi gerasimou / blanca viñas

pinelopi gerasimou / blanca viñas

A Place Where Light Casts Many Enigmatic Shadows
curated by Basim Magdy

“A Place Where Light Casts Many Enigmatic Shadows” brings together the work of two young artists who are stretching what it means to experiment with analog photography today. They capture the thrill of being alive in ambiguous compositions and colors; the representational magic inherent within the smooth movement of light between objects and people to sculpt growing and receding meanings and shadows. The work of Gerasimou and Viñas composes strange poetry about people and the terrains they cover in their lifetimes. It levels time, archaeology, solitude, beaches, geometry, abstraction, and landscapes without beginnings or ends like bricks on top of one another in beautifully fragile visual structures. In their own ways, they populate time with the usually overlooked vastness of detail. Ultimately, a sense of seductively familiar but unrecognizable place emerges. Both artists’ photographs were created through a variety of elaborate processes of enhanced alteration, where the most basic of photographic tools are treated as new discoveries, to be understood in unconventional ways.

At first glance, Blanca Viñas seems to pay more attention to the places humans inhabit than to the inhabitants themselves. But like a déjà vu drowning in quicksand faster than your ability to process the situation, comes the realization that it’s never about the places we know or inhabit. Viñas is constantly working on a way to show us what a different world based on our existing knowledge would look like, one subtle photograph composed using a few color filters at a time. In “Triple Landing”, 2015, colorful men and women wheel their inflatable boats out of a flaming sea, claiming a new territory of evolving questions. It is impossible to overlook the romanticism of their ant-like patterns on the shore in favor of the possibility of impending violence. In “Liquid Diamond”, 2017 the geometry of light and shadow seems to take people by surprise as they enjoy the calm hypnosis of the sea, perhaps waiting for a new myth to arise, while in “Yellow is the Color of Ambivalence and Contradiction”, 2017, their gaze is overcast in an ominous fog that calls for the emergence of a savior.

Pinelopi Gerasimou’s work pays tribute to what looks like a life outside of what we have been socialized to do over thousands of years of constructing civilization — to settle in groups. In solitude, her subjects look like renegades from an ancient historical cult, burdened with uncertainty and the vulnerability of their journey. Each one of them is either blurred, camouflaged or non existent. Their power lies in the details of their hiding. In “Other Mind’s Archive”, 2015, a black and white image, a man’s shadow is lighter than the color of the wall it has fallen upon; like a ghost he stares at us with haunting sword-sharp eyes. In “I Disappear Here”, 2014, an unidentifiable person arrives at the critical point of finding direction on a narrow trail. Surrounded by a vast dry landscape, the person’s unintentional camouflage mirrors a possible attempt to evade decision-making. Gerasimou’s poetic photographs’ approach to detail is like an archeological dig—they slowly unfold into playgrounds for hypothetical scenarios.

Pinelopi Gerasimou (born 1989) lives and works in Athens. She studied photography at AKTO Art & Design College, Athens and the International Center of Photography, New York. Blanca Viñas (born 1987) lives and works in Barcelona. She studied graphic design at Escola Massana Centre d’Art i Disseny, Barcelona and Architectural Technology and Construction at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya EPSEB.