Figurations: Interplay between Science & Art
Rosa JH Berland, Art Historian, NYC
Intended to be printed in large format or onto a heroically sized wall space, Santiago Rueda’s photographic series were inspired by the problematics of cloning and man’s age-old struggle to come to terms with his own immortality. Rueda also addresses ideas of archetypal images and universality and points to Michel Hoeullebecq’s novels as one source of inspiration. At first, I was perplexed by the scientific complexity of these works, but the more I look, the deeper I fall into the visual and conceptual intricacies of Rueda’s practice.
Never satisfied with just taking pictures of endlessly beautiful women (although he does this very well and with a great deal of panache and imagination), Rueda tells us that this began as a visual experimentation interpolating geometry with models of feminine beauty. As he developed the process and imagery, the figures became more kinetic, multiplying in intricate compositions to form an enormous DNA molecule.
Using the tromp l’oeil device, Rueda has created an illusion of movement and form. Examination of the pictures and pictures within shows an ever-changing consciousness. The print may look schematically geometric from afar, while close study shows in fact, that there are shapes, letters, and symbols, scientific ciphers formed by strings of people. Some of the most interesting works include the heroically scaled images of molecules, such as DNA Molecule (2010), which depicts DNA formed by human bodies, and another molecule image Post-DNA Molecule (2010) comprised of post-human archetypes. The intricate patterning resembles a kaleidoscope, and the works are truly experiential, the audience is a key player. Subject to the distance of the viewer, as well as each viewer’s perception, Rueda’s images fluctuate back and forth between ideas of invention, our culture’s vocabulary of fantasy about science, and ideas of models or human archetypes.
August 16, 2015
Rueda’s images fluctuate back and forth between ideas of invention, our culture’s vocabulary of fantasy about science, and ideas of models or human archetypes.