Luminous Visions: Cristina Fontsare: Journey to the Center of the Earth
Finding meaning in chaos, Cristina Fontsare explores the countryside of the Basque region in Spain with her Polaroid camera. Roaming the ancient forests, caves, and mountains, she seeks Mari, the main deity of Basque mythology. Mari is often described as living underground, in deep caverns where she can reach humanity through caves and chasms in the mountains. It is in these subterranean spaces that Fontsare searches for evidence of an ancient deity who encompasses all of nature.
Fontsare began her search during a family trip in 2019; she shot the project with peel-apart Polaroid film and then stored the negatives in a box. These negatives lay dormant until March 2020, when the onset of the Covid pandemic renewed her interest in this wild, roaming land. In an attempt to disinfect the present along with the past, Fontsare began experimenting with applying household cleaners to her images. The results are multi-layered, visual explorations of a distant past steeped in mythology and imagination.
Cristina will have a solo exhibition of her project: I am Not Promising You a Wonderful World at II Festival Internacional de Fotografia de Castilla y León. Opens April 26th. A selection of her work is on view at The International photography Exhibition 163 at the Royal Photography Society, Bristol, through August. In September she will have a solo exhibition at Revelat Analog Festival in Barcelona. And she is currently working on a publication entitled A Crack in the Mirror.
Follow Cristina Fontsare on Instagram: @cristinafontsare
Journey to the Centre of the Earth is a photographic fiction that I started in July 2019 on a family trip through subterranean and mythological worlds, caves, mountains, rivers and ancient forests of the Basque Country, in search of Mari, the main deity of Basque mythology.
Mari is the manifestation of the forces of nature. All natural beings and cycles are different expressions of Mari. She is the whole of nature, queen of the four elements and the three kingdoms.
I took the pictures with peel apart Polaroid film and stored the negatives in a box. They remained on standby for several months until Covid 19 hit in March 2020. I took them back and started working with them in a very experimental way, disinfecting them with household cleaners. I wanted to disinfect the present, the past, my memories and the whole world as a way to start brand new again. From the negatives emerged a trace of an unveiled past. Images of a parallel world, invisible at first where the chaos and order of nature are palpable in the more physical aspect of the image and at the same time cohabit with the more invisible and distant part that the myths and ancient legends linger in our imagination.
At the same time during that period of isolation and chaos, I started reading Jules Verne’s with my daughter, as a way of transporting us to other imaginary and fantastic worlds.
The journey continues…
Cristina Fontsare was born and raised in Barcelona. She studied Fine Arts at the University of her home town specializing in sculpture. She discovered photography almost by accident in her early thirties, when she was studying a masters degree in Landscape Architecture that led her to document topographies and places in different stages of transformation. Since then, she is devoted to photography. Her life, the relationship with her closest environment and the people around her, are the excuse to cast a personal eye on the world. She works on long term projects, creating visual stories of universal themes such as the cycles of life, growth, metamorphosis and the magic in the everyday life and the ephemeral. She works mainly with Polaroid peel apart film.
Since Covid began, she is working in a more experimental way, where process and chance are more important than anticipating of a result, on the most gestural, physical and material part of photography that connects with her beginnings in art.
She exhibits regularly, nationally and internationally. Her work has been published and featured in magazines like: The British Journal of Photography,The Guardian, L´Oeil de la Photografie among others.
Galina Kurlat (b. 1981, Russia) is a photographic artist living in Brooklyn, NY, she earned her BFA in Media Arts from Pratt Institute. Kurlat creates a visual relationship between herself and her subject by embracing the imperfections and possibilities of antiquated photographic processes. Kurlat’s work been shown in Korea, India, Scotland, France and the US. Recent exhibitions include “Anatomy of Loss”, Pictura Gallery in Bloomington IN, “Shadow Play”, Peter Halpert Fine Art in NYC, “Process”, Studio Bizio in Edinburgh, “Touch me Touch you”, Jinju International Photo Festival, South Korea, “Self-Processing- Instant Photography”, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA. Her work is collected throughout the US and abroad. Kurlat has been published in Oxford American, Analog Forever Magazine, Lenscratch, aPhotoEditor, Fraction Magazine, Houston Chronicle, Diffusion IX and Fraction of a Second, Radius Books along with numerous other periodicals and catalogs. She is the cofounder of Main Street Projects, an artist-run organization in Houston that has hosted over 150 local, national and international artists to date. MSP is an artists’ initiative which brings art into urban surroundings. During 2005-2011 Kurlat curated a number of multi-media and site specific exhibitions in alternate spaces throughout NYC.
Follow Galina Kurlat on Instagram: @galinakurlat
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