Inked light

Solo show
Digital photography copied watercolor paper

GC Gallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2012

Inked light is a series of digital photographs copied on watercolor paper. Photographs of fireworks areturned into their negative image. As a result, the darkness of the night turns into a white background and the intense white light spots into absolute black. The colors vary in hue, but not its intensity, resembling bright ink or watercolor strokes.

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Extract from a conversation between Carlos Huffmann and Martin Bonadeo

CH: With this series of works, I started thinking about the way in which all colors come in two forms. The black is a surface that absorbs all the visible light spectrum and is also the absence of light. Fireworks are a way to paint the sky. Your photos of fireworks on negative look like dripped and splashed color inks on watercolor paper. There is a quest to achieve multiple polarities: light/pigment, sky/earth, fire/water. I was wondering what do you think about this sign-change operation, from positive to negative and vice versa.

MB: Whenever I think about perception and image formation within the mind, I question for these pairs of opposites, these dualities that you mention and how much of these notions are learned cultural constructions. In the case of this series is interesting because it arose from a post-perception. I was watching a fireworks show on New Year´s eve and after a huge explosion closed my eyes. My retina kept the negative image of what I had just seen, a spot of color on white background that was spreading like ink on paper. What I felt was so intense that I went to get the camera and started to shooting and editing in real time.

CH: It's interesting because you talk about how these dualities are constructions while you talk about how the negative image of light to the retina is impregnated. I am interested in this other duality between the elements of culture and those who seem to be natural phenomena. The difference between good and evil is often very arbitrary, however the difference between light and shadow is very clear and can be defined rather unambiguous. I wonder if you criticize in your work is the political use is given to words that name the sides of a duality or duality critical thinking by itself.

MB: I think that the polarities are structural to thought, especially to categorize, to sort. In this place, there is always shade depending on the light, but is relative because in the darkest of black shades intense colors can be found. This is an issue that the Impressionists took from the oriental print artists 150 years ago. If we speak in the language of photography it depends on the amount of light exposure. Photometers are set by default to give denser picture with greater amount of black to white. White is taken as overexposure, as burned areas in the image. In contrast, the black is not usually marked as sub-exposure. These arbitrary conventions are present in all languages and we make use of them without thinking. Ther is a very clear example in speech and writing The words we are using now are not precise enough. There is a limitation in all of the nomenclatures and selected terms based on contrasts, polarities. But the visual images and objects always have expressive edges and are impossible to classify in linguistic terms.

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