FestivalOff PhotoESPAÑA 2019

Tree, TREE…

Myoung Ho Lee

A grove of trees from a point of view

Juan Millás



The Álvaro Alcázar Gallery presents three exhibitions that reveal different points of view and a personal conception of nature and urban spaces by means of photography. This is a project that seeks to create a dialogue between artists who deal with apparently different topics but who actually have a relationship between them: the contemporary aesthetics gaze.

Thanks to a collaboration between the Spanish Korean Cultural Centre in Madrid and the Hyundai Gallery from Seoul, the Álvaro Alcázar Gallery presents the singular work of the south Korean artist Myoung Ho Lee. In this exhibition the artist brings up to us some unusual questions about the representation of reality, art and environment in his series Tree, Tree…. His photographies show a simple concept through a complex realisation: the trees are shown in his natural context but separated superficially by a white cloth that frames them and, at the same time, taking them out of their context. Thereby, the artist separates the subjects from their original circumstances to reflect on the difference between subject and image. A new representation of nature is built and reveals an optical illusion that is ultimately the artwork within the artwork that encourages us to analyze the image and delve into our way of looking.

On the other hand, Juan Millás sets in his series A grove of trees from a point of view, a study of nature that seeks to achieve a sight, nowadays utopian, of those who contemplated a landscape for the first time in nature. In this way, he also makes a study of our gaze revealing a proposal, imagined, about the origin of the landscape. In the words of the artist himself:

A few years ago I wanted to make a documentary project about ‘the walk’ in the purest style of the writer Robert Walser. I wanted to practice the art of getting lost with the camera in a forest. That intention was transformed into a work about the landscape, also about photography, understood both (the perception of the landscape and the photographic gaze) as hallucinations caused by the crossing, “at an infinite speed” (Jean-Marc Besse), between the world and thought. The vehicle I found to move from one universe to another was the menhir. The architect Francesco Careri, author of Walkscapes: walking as an aesthetic practice (Gustavo Gili, 2002), describes the prehistoric monolith as an object that “contains in itself architecture, sculpture and landscape”. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is a body interposed between nature and culture. It is territory because before standing up it lacked of symbolic connotations. But the menhir is also order, composition, representation. By rotating it, the human being transforms the stone into something else: strangeness, dream, story. I went into the woods, north of the French region of Brittany, imagining that it would still be possible to distinguish the contour of that differentiation. Pursued the utopian vision of those who contemplated for the first time a landscape in nature.”

Finally, the series Lo que has leído, eres by Paz Juristo and Anuca Aísa reflects the most personal section of this project. The artists honour Francisco Calvo Serraller creating a tour of all the countries described in the literature that they read with him, thus closing a journey that, as a whole, rethinks the gaze. Each photo represents the following sentences: