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Christian Villamide. In Landscape Mode

27 September 2019 - 23 February 2020
Paula Cabaleiro

In this exhibition, Christian Villamide (Lugo, 1966), addresses the distance we people usually put between us and the territory we live in, focusing the spotlight on the force and violence we subject nature to.

We know that the term ‘landscape’ is a cultural construction based on what we see when we look at the countryside. The artist talks of the current landscape from a perspective of sculpture and installation art, visualising scenes and non-places we end up concealing as a society. He talks about “what is also landscape” in that tension between the force of nature, constantly changing, and its relationship with humans. He highlights the conflict brought about by the capitalist economy oppressing nature and knowledge for the sake of speculation, inducing and suggesting a world of poverty, and energy and environmental destruction. He unveils natural elements concealed (and drowned) under human influence, takes an ironic look at those natural spaces that are practically prefabricated, enclosed, that seem like the perfect embellishment in the new cities labelled as sustainable. He also reflects on the new, completely artificial trends, in which ‘living a unique experience in nature’ becomes a kind of mass pilgrimage in search of snapping the best photo. Christian Villamide makes an appeal for self-criticism. What can we do to avoid being accomplices in this system of oppression towards nature?

From an artistic, visual, multidisciplinary language, Villamide evokes and provokes, in perfect symbiosis between ethics and aesthetics, that action of contemplating, so typical of Romanticism, in the search for the sublime. But he does so from an analytical point of view, based on these nearly Situationist digressions, in which walking, as an aesthetical practice, already constitutes a form of constructing landscapes. Natural, even organic, materials, mix with industrial elements, which oppress, condition or direct, in a reflection on the inescapable action of man. And, permeable to all history of Land Art, Christian Villamide also intervenes in nature itself, and each work registers the footprint of a journey, of a physical, mental or intellectual activity in nature, of a critical and aesthetical immersion in the landscape to discover and rediscover, to create an effect based on affection.