'Common ground', Keke Vilabelda

Artist: Keke Vilabelda

Dates: June 09th 2022 to July 15th 2022

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Artist: Keke Vilabelda


“The canvas has become a lake. Pink pigments have been diluted and currents of water generated through water and gravity. I immerse myself in the abstract images happening before me. Ethereal are the certainties of our world and of Common Ground, the magenta landscape of our era”

– Verónica Guerrero Molina

After more than three years of research, this event is the culmination of a series of proposals that seek to connect Spain, Australia and Mexico through the geographical singularity of the phenomenon of pink lagoons. The problems of droughts and the lack of water propitiate the creation of magenta waters that are creative inspiration for Vilabelda.
“Common Ground” is an innovative artistic proposal articulated as a whole and constituted by three axes that interact and communicate with each other. Painting, video art and installation come together to create a quasi-apocalyptic environment where salt, bacteria, intense temperatures and drought processes are the main elements. The video installation “Pink Lakes” is the starting point. In this piece, aerial views of the pink lagoons of the three countries are shown, playing on loop accompanied by a sound piece composed by musician Etienne Hann, who reads the landscape as a music sheet. The result is this triptych, producing endless visual and sound combinations in constant change, due to a short time offset in the duration of the videos.
These moving pictorial images captured from the technological eye of a drone are accompanied by a series of paintings that give the exhibition its name. The artist simulates on the canvas the same processes of sedimentation, evaporation and movement that form the lagoons. Layers of paint dry at different speeds; cracking or diluting the pigments over the canvas, and using gravity by pouring the paint horizontally generating water flows that move matter across the surface. What at first glance seems to be abstract images, slowly turn, under the eye of the beholder, into aerial views of this strange landscape. The exhibition is completed with “Ocean”, an installation that covers the entire gallery floor with sea salt that viewers can traverse, imbue themselves with its whiteness, its smell, its sound and the physical sensation of walking across, as if it were a salt desert.
Scientists call our era the Anthropocene, because of the strong influence that human practices have on ecosystems, capable of completely modifying them. The droughts and the lack of water are already pressing problems of our time, recurrent in different places around the world. “Common Ground” is a project that connects different points of the globe highlighting the common problems and, hence, the criteria to address them should be as well.
Keke Vilabelda’s artistic practice is, from its inception, a verification of the unsustainable methods of capitalism that demand an incessant consumption of natural resources. Vilabelda is interested in analysing how we observe and construct our current world, from the physical to the virtual. From the abandoned buildings behind the economic recession of 2008 in Spain to the increasingly most common phenomenon of pink lagoons, both inspiration in Vilabelda’s work, demonstrate the economic and environmental unsustainability of our way of life.
This exhibition is part of the project initiated by PONCE+ROBLES in 2022 and, by the name “Centro de Conexión Permanente”, has as a central and spinal element the gallery space in a contemporary digitalized and globalized world. The gallery as a space for exploration and experience acquires a new communicative dimension, capable of connecting artists, curators and collectors in an increasingly globalized world, with the aim of questioning methods of artistic production and display. In addition, Centro de Conexión Permanente offers alternative routes that allow us to rethink our relation with the space, both physical and digital, establishing internal contacts within the gallery and increasing external spaces. Hence, Ponce + Robles seeks to banish the outdated temporal presentation of artistic production, substituting it with a new dialogue between people and ideas, embracing divergences as a means to create a new aesthetic visual discourse, closer to contemporary social needs.
Keke Vilabelda (1986, Valencia) graduated from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in 2009 and from the University of Arts London in 2011. He has had individual exhibitions in Spain, Mexico, United Kingdom, Colombia or Poland, and has participated in group shows and fairs in Portugal, China, United States, Germany, Italy, France or Switzerland. Furthermore, he has been selected by Saatchi Gallery for New Sensations 2011 and has been awarded prizes such as Premio Manolo Valdés de Artes Plásticas (2009), the first Premio of Fundación Mainel (2016), Creación INJUVE Artes Visuales of the Spanish government (2015). His work has been included in collections such as la Real Academia de San Carlos in Valencia, Museum of LatinAmerican Art (MOLAA) in California, Lyon City Hall in France or in BMW Ibérica.