“Air, Light and Color”

The Venezuelan sculptor Rafael Barrios and the Mexican photographer Rodrigo Alcocer de Garay propose a dialogue between the sculptural and photographic spaces, both focused on virtual reality, though not any less real. Barrios creates optical illusions of volumes presented as a challenge to gravity, to the different perceptions of the planes that make up the object, depending on the mode
in which sunlight falls at different times of the day. Alcocer creates images of the light effects of sunrises and sunsets, generated through analog photography and augmented videos found on Youtube. Two artists who for generations have explored different themes and techniques, finally converge in the same space and with the same objective, united by similar effects related to seriality, lightness and dynamics, light and color, as well as an interest in “deconstructed” matter and remodel the space. If Barrios creates “virtual volumes,” Alcocer recreates, in an augmented and analog reality, “virtual images.”



While Barrios starts from physical matter towards virtual, Alcocer travels the opposite way, from the virtual to the physical image. Apparently simple images but with a complex plot, resolved by distorting the optical scale. It is worth including the text that Jesús Soto, artist and Barrios’ colleague, dedicated to him as it could well have been written for the current exhibition: “Insofar, as we insist on proposing virtual reality as a simulation or a representation of universal identity, we are making the same academic error as when it is stated that painting is destined to fix a moment of reality without realizing it, that not even photography, considered as the closest invention that allows us to capture instantaneity, escapes the temporal value between the fixation of the stimulus and the time of its apprehension.”

“Let us remember Heraclitus’ river and Plato’s cavern, apparently contradictory allegories but that make us reflect on the fact that we are not witnessing the knowledge of reality except through its projection. Today we receive the light of stars that disappeared millions of years ago. Is it that this image is not part of our real world? Therefore, art will be closer to the truth, as long as its content incorporates the virtual as a sublime fact.” Both artists, though their own medium, offer images that, beyond their chromatic similarity, address the problem of knowledge of reality. As conjurers, they play with the deception and the limits between reality and appearance. That which connects with the current moment where mass access to digital technologies has brought us harsh issues such as “fake news,” “post-truth,” and a paradoxical lack of connection between person and person in a hyper-connected world. Some of all this lies behind the production of both artists, judging by the words of Jesús Soto about Rafael Barrios referred to above, and by those of Rodrigo Alcocer about his work, which we reproduce below:

“I take photographs on photography. I am interested in how photography, in terms of practice, discipline and epistemological modality, is inserted in and reacts to generalized discourses and practices of production and consumption of images in our culture at this precise historical moment. I am currently working on the transitions of photography –and how we read our context from it– between the increasingly dominant strategies and methods of the digital (mass/generalized production, and the almost instantaneous distribution of visual products) as opposed to the methods and practices related to photography as an official practice within contemporary art (large format, chemical photography and seriality), considering that it is in these changes of interval where in many ways continue to reflect and explore different natures of what resides in photography in a world where we all make, edit, show and share images. “


“The nature of my recent work is better understood as an investigation around the information flow of photographic images and their possible materialities, in a moment in time where practically all of us carry a camera and can share massively and immediately anything we have photographed. Where almost everyone, at almost any time is in the field of view of a camera connected to a network, and where we can assume that all places accessible by man have already been photographed, and most of these images made public. At this moment, when the questions about the photographic tend to revolve around subjects (who or what entities make the images and of whom and under what
social conditions) there are far fewer of us who try to reflect on how these images are constituted and what conceptual and material implications (and what opportunities to create work from this question) have the most recent cultural turn towards the immaterial and digital image that we are living, where most of the photographic images are made by vision-machines to be read by other vision-machines, and where it is “the images connected in a network that see us.’”


Teresa Pérez-Jofre Santesmases