Artist: Karlos Gil
Exhibition title: Sub Rosa
Venue: García Galería, Madrid, Spain
Date: January 24 – March 27, 2015
Photography: Courtesy of the artist and García Galería
In his upcoming exhibition at García | Galería, Karlos Gil presents a new body of work under the title sub rosa, a Latin expression meaning “under the rose”, used to indicate a secret or confidentiality. This project is one of the elements that make up a long-term investigation of the artist’s, through which he studies the hidden connections and similarities between beings and objects. On this occasion, he focuses on the ergonomic aspect of the relationships established between these two concepts.
The term ‘ergonomics’ appeared as such in 1857, in the book The Outline of Ergonomics, where the Pole Wojciech Jastrzebowski described this concept for the first time, etymologically made up of the Greek roots ergon -work-, and nomos -natural principles, laws, and foundations. Jastrzebowski decided to apply these principles to industrial instruments and applications, thus adapting tools to man. In this way, a certain mimesis between the natural world and that of man-made objects was created for the first time. Gil now places an emphasis on this relationship, updating the function, as well as the meaning, of said components.
The first series of works in the exhibition, Stay Gold, take a as a starting point a set of etchings by Jastrzebowski that studied certain formal characteristics from nature in order to develop industrial instruments, and from which Gil extracts details and enlarges them until they are barely recognisable. These images are reproduced using a Jacquard loom, one of the first tools to function with perforated cards, widely used for cutting edge fabrics today. The relationship between nature and technology, one of the artist’s running themes, is thus reinforced once again. The result is a series of tapestries where natural forms have been altered by the author and adapted using large-scale industrial production methods. Whilst Jastrzebowski’s ergonomics described phenomena such as the camouflage of certain creatures in their natural environment, in the works developed by Gil a perversion of the phenomena is created where those very characteristics produce a new reading of nature.
In addition, the exhibition also includes three sculptures he calls “object ideograms”, created through the casting of packing foams for electronic devices and domestic appliances. Although maintaining some formal similarities at a surface level, these negatives of technological instruments generate images that are completely different to their originals.
The exhibition concludes with an audio piece that works like a soundtrack for the show, and which collects fragments of Exotica music from the 50s and 60s, selected by the artist.