Un terreno inculto (2020)
TECNIC Acrylic on aluminum
Following his investigation in Pericastó, an extension of dryland in the province of Huesca which has been farmed by his family for three generations, the artist Enrique Radigales decided to stop growing barley in order to let the land regenerate, and to allow biodiversity to take over the terraced fields. A biological process that takes place over slowly germinating cycles outside the scale of human perception and time. Nonetheless, and as he has done on previous occasions, Radigales operates at one remove from the visible elements of nature, manifesting an ongoing interest in the concealed. At the outset, Radigales grounded his practice in the intangibility of net.art, yet as his career developed he began to transfer the information existing behind the textual (source codes) to the physicity of his works, as one can appreciate in the colossal installation Gran amarillo at Matadero or in the series Disolvente sobre tiff, Souvenir, Desapariciones, and others, in which nature is veiled by processes of erasure, erosion or die-cutting of the various materials used. More recently, the exhibition La frecuencia Jürgenson was based on a technology able to act as a kind of medium, uncovering paranormal activities in the natural environment. Pericastó itself is private family land that Radigales brings into the public domain by means of indexing it. This physical and virtual taxonomy serves as a basis for a wide.-ranging investigation which he develops across various projects, including those now on display here.
In the Fourth Generation the artist focuses on materials and mechanizations related with the field of technique and technology, as well as a series of actions to activate painting usually associated with industrial processes. The paintbrush is replaced by a grinder—a common tool used by the artist’s father—to create light effects on an aluminium surface, at times impregnated with colour which is then eroded. But working with the land is more than just scratching its surface, you also have to dig down and to dig up: acrylic is injected from the underside of the previously perforated support, but it is analysed frontally, like seeds sprouting from the earth. What we see are the colours of Pericastó: the bluish green of the honeyberry, the brownish grey of sandstone, the violet of mallow, the toasted sienna of the earth … The evident lack of control in the execution is a sought-after recourse that approximates the randomness of natural processes rather than the skill normally associated with brushwork in painting. New images generated in the light of a paradigm shift, for an ecology that can no longer be natural.
The two exhibition rooms are traversed by a structure of aluminium profiles (another extruded material), commonly used in the design of assembly lines or computer servers (though normally hidden). This installation acts as the support for macro photographs of shavings, fibre and other specks contained in the painting material that has sprung from the support. We contemplate these biomorphic images from an underside view, as if we were located underground. What is, in principle, a contrived field of vision with respect to the layout of work in a gallery subverts the correspondence between painting and photography in the field of figured space and the plane of painting. Nor is there any heterogenizing intentionality in this formalization: Radigales’s fascination with technology and nature is based on the premise that both things are being constantly redefined or rethought and that this drive generates variations in their register, whether it be through painting, photography, installation or whatever serves his purposes to express the core concern of this paradigm between the technological and the analogical. The Fourth Generation is that, a Pericastó new sample, subject to the temporal professional constraints of a chain of succession and of production.
Photographs by Roberto Ruíz