ÁVILES – What do the communication signals of fireflies, visions of ‘promised lands’ held by immigrants, and signage erected by roadside brothels have in common? For Spanish visual artist Carlos Coronas, the link is electric light.
Coronas’s installation, Los Territorios Soñados (Spanish for ‘the dreamed territories’), fills a gallery at Centro Niemeyer – a mammoth art complex and one of Brazilian modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer’s last completed buildings – in Áviles, a small town in northern Spain.
The work comprises a series of intricate polygonal wooden structures to which the artist attached fluorescent tubes in different colours. When activated, the light pulses, changing intensity. The interplay of colour and light constantly alters the perception of visitors as they wander through an exhibition capped by Niemeyer’s soaring curved roof. The various structures sit on reflective sheets of stainless steel, which represent the ‘territories’ that mirror the things we wish for. ‘The installation works with electric light as a metaphor for our desires, dreams and happiness,’ says the artist. ‘Light acts as a trigger for seduction, a calling. You can see this in the neon signs that dot nocturnal urban landscapes and in the gaudy neon signs outside highway brothels in Spain.
I was interested in the parallel with fireflies and the codes they use for mating, as well as in human movement – think of the waves of immigrants who have a dreamed, neon-light-filled vision of utopia.’ Coronas chose not to hide the cables that feed his installation but to leave them in a tangled fashion among the spikes of light. ‘I love these chaotic spiders’ webs,’ he continues. ‘They are like neurons that light up our ideas. This type of duality – between order and chaos, the logical and the impulsive – I find extremely attractive.’
Photos Marcos Morilla
This installation was featured in Frame 112. Find your copy in the Frame store.