MINED LANDSCAPES | ABSTRACT FOR WHOM?
series of 50 paintings
20cm x 20cm
Acrylic on black paper 300g/m2
Mining is the foundation that has sustained the colonising, predatory and murderous pattern of modernity model of society. It was the reason why Latin American, African and Asian territories remained European colonies for centuries. The glitter of gold for the manufacture of artefacts like earrings and jewellery destined for the European elite was reason enough for the genocide and enslavement of millions of people. This is not a story of the past.
Look around and you will see that mining surrounds you. Iron and other minerals are probably present in the objects that touch your body at this moment, just like in your everyday life. The mobile phone, the train, the car, the bicycle, the phone.
But it is on the other side of the globe that the shining beauty and commercial usefulness of metals shows itself in another form: kilometre-long holes in a landscape completely sickened by the logic of commodification of the Earth and the beings that inhabit it, including human beings. Scars.
The great Brazilian indigenous philosopher Ailton Krenak says: "This package called humanity is being detached in an absolute way from this organism that is the Earth, living in a civilizing abstraction that suppresses diversity, denies the plurality of forms of life, existence and habits."(free translation)
Mining, the way it is done, is an imperative of death, cultural, environmental and human. Not seeing it is part of the disempowering privilege of those who can simply abstract.
In this sense, the series of apparently abstract paintings at the same time that reveals in materiality the aesthetic reference of mined territories, also proposes a reflection on the "abstract" as a key element for sustaining colonized imaginaries.
Brown, red, purple, yellow, a palette that emerges from the depths of the earth and replaces what was once living green.
Someone who has seen an iron ore mine up close would probably be able to associate the paintings in this series with the memory of a mined landscape. While the physically distant eye may easily consider them abstract, even though much of their universe comes from there. We are formed by the landscapes that surround us and sustained by those that escape our eyes.
The German philosopher and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt says that "The most dangerous world view is the world view of those who have not seen the world".
This series is also an invitation to look through other landscapes, to perceive the world that surrounds other windows. Small, the scale of the paintings contrasts with the stratospheric dimensions of what they portray. They solicit a close look, a movement of approximation on the part of one who places himself in a comfortable distance. And, from this encounter, open spaces for new bonds and imaginaries to be formed. As Ailton Krenak describes it well: "It is important to live the experience of our own circulation through the world, not as a metaphor, but as friction, being able to count on each other".