Visual Pollution

The world is my representation; this truth is applicable to every being that lives and learns, although only human kind has conscience of it; to get to know this means to own in the philosophical sense. When human kind understands this truth it will be clearly demonstrated that he/she doesn’t know just one sun nor one earth but an eye that sees the sun and a hand that touches the earth; that the world that surrounds him/her only exists as a representation, in relationship to another being, the one that perceives it, himself/herself. If there is one truth a priori this is it as it explains the general form of experiencing, the more general one including the one related to space, time and causality.

Arthur Schopenhauer


Aníbal López (A1-53167) is a conceptual artist specially known for his performatic pieces and actions although in this exhibition he presents a more intimate series of works linked to questioning the idea of representation by utilizing different techniques all based on drawing. The first work of art in the exhibition which gives the title to the show, Contaminación visual (Visual Pollution), is formed by four drawings made of fast lines representing a dumpster. In order for the spectators to see these drawings they need to cross piles of trash stacked in the gallery. The representation in the piece is shown in two ways raising questions about the real object, its artistic form and the context where is presented. The work of art shows a clear relationship to conceptual art, the piece One and Three Chairs (1965) by Joseph Kosuth conforms a good example of this same subject in which the object itself is accompanied by two ways of representing it; a photograph and a written definition. As Kosuth, Aníbal López works with different codes, on one hand the object based code and on the other the visual one presenting the function of the real object (the trash) in relationship to its representation (the drawings).


Following the same model of questioning perception and representation the exhibition includes the piece Línea recta (Straight Line), formed by a meter height of stacked paper each paper has a black dot in the center. Per its definition a line is a continuous and indefinite succession of dots in one dimension. The artist creates a succession of dots but he transfers it to a tridimensionality that is invisible to the spectator who can only see the first dot. Again Aníbal López plays with perception, in this case with the idea of a definition and its particular way of constructing it, creating something that we suppose exists but we can’t completely see.


In Dibujo Asistido (Assisted Drawing) the artist refers once again to conceptual art, on one hand he arouses questions on the artistic authorship and the importance of the artist’s hand in relationship to the concept of the work of art by presenting himself as a tool used by another person to create a drawing. In the video a person guides his hand and next to the video the final work of the action is presented: the drawing. There is a clear wink to conceptual art through the title of the piece which refers to the assisted ready-mades created by Marcel Duchamp. In the case of Duchamp the assisted ready-mades were objects, not produced by the artist, which the artist himself put together or modified such as in The Bicycle Wheel (1913). Aníbal López utilizes a new way of “assisting” in which it is another person who produces the object by using the body of the artist. As with Duchamp, in this new way of producing the importance of the artist resides in his role as creator of the concept or the idea, setting aside the more “artisanal” aspect of art.


Within the exhibition there are two pieces that are more traditional in their production but that are also able to generate readings at different levels. The work of art Sin título (Untitled) is formed by thirteen drawings of trees that once put together function as a forest. The artist commented that during his stay in the U.S. in the 80s he used to go the forest, select one tree and make a drawing of it. The drawings would change according to his mood, this way the works of art formed an eclectic “forest” shaped by images that range from surreal settings to spots and sketches related to automatic painting or abstract expressionism. The variety of forms in which the artist represents the idea of a tree over and over again point out to perception and its possible models in relationship to mood. As part of this same interest on nature the piece from the series àrboles transnacionales (Transnational Trees) shows the drawing of another tree but in this case the leaves have been substituted by business cards that another artist provided. This way the piece conforms a sort of genealogy or map of contacts and depicts the movements of a person during a specific period of time making references to the relationships generated within the art world.


Throughout Contaminación visual Aníbal López achieves a multitude of models of representation and perception generating at the same time questions on the role of the artist in relationship to the work of art. One of the most interesting aspects of the exhibition is that is formulated in its totality utilizing drawings showing that this genre, considered as minor in the past and related in many cases with the most traditional aspects of art, allows today a great range of experimentation within various diverse avant-garde forms.


Idurre Alonso