rePROJECTIONS: Angel Orensanz and Luis Bunuel Report

 

 

RePROJECTIONS – Angel Orensanz and Luis Bunuel

The clue lies in the title: rePROJECTIONS. Indeed, it is not the first time Bunuel or Orensanz’s films are shown
and it could look as another projection. It is not.
As visitors enter the Angel Orensanz foundation space, they are not welcome into a movie theater where they
could sit wherever they want to, trying to find the right spot. Instead, they have to face random chairs, four side
screens at different heights featuring different films, John Cage’s experimental music, Orensanz’s portly
sculptures and an instantaneous feeling of confusion occupying their minds. Wavering between vacuity and
overloaded information, the spectators’ reaction is to establish a distance between what they see – the actual
installation –, and themselves – their bodies as part of the installation -.  Because of this very distance, they
become active spectators, “spectactors” projecting themselves – their feelings, interpretations, experiences –
into the filmic installation, becoming thus a REprojection.
By making the visitors uncomfortable and ordering them to lose their landmarks, rePROJECTIONS builds a
camera obscura where one has to print his own projection.

Bunuel and Orensanz are both surrealist artists who influenced each other, dialogued and fostered surrealist
concepts. By projecting them together and inhabiting the space with their films, the installation also creates a
surrealist echo that the spectators are encouraged to take away and reproject in the real world.

Lara Sebdon
Curator/Exhibitions Assistant
Angel Orensanz Foundation, NYC

 

RePROJECTIONS – Angel Orensanz and Luis Bunuel

The instalation  RePROJECTIONS, features  works of Angel Orensanz and Luis Bunuel, revealing the dialogue
and relations between both artists.

Sculptor Angel Orensanz reinterprets and reconfigures images and moods from his experiences with Luis
Buñuel, also from the Aragón region of Spain. Orensanz, in the manor of Buñuel, uses the surrealist
compositional  language to transform his New York studio into a scientific theater to create a surrealist
landscape where dream, reality and visual memory are reenacted through film and video.

The surrealist landscape is characterized by elements of surprise, metaphysical  juxtapositions and a
philosophical expressions of revolution.

Surrealism  developed within literature, Visual Arts, cinema and music as a theoretical and political gesture of
writers and artists. They believed  that excessive rational thought and bourgeois values led the world to war. In
their philosophy, they believed that in Surrealism, the idea of regular expressions and depictions are vital and
important, but their reality must be open to the entire range of imagination in the Hegelian dialectic.

Hegel developed a comprehensive philosophical framework, or “system”, in the relationships of mind and
nature, subject and object, knowledge, psychology, status, history, art, religion and philosophy. In particular, he
developed a concept of mind or spirit that manifests in a series of contradictions and oppositions that ultimately
integrated and united, without ignoring the elements origins or reducing one to the other. Examples of such
contradictions are those between nature and freedom.

Freedom  and the development of methods for unlocking the imagination were of great importance to the
Surrealists.

The surrealist act of juxtaposing disparate elements within the same field results in consequential effects of
surprise, and liberation of the imagination.

Since the early 1970’s Angel Orensanz has developed a prolific body of work including performances,
conceptual art and video. Educated in Barcelona and Paris, he opened his studio in New York in the 1980’s ,
after having worked with several architects like Marcel Breuer, Martin Gelber and John Portman. He has
developed his environmental installations at locations like – Holland Park, London; the Red Square in Moscow;
Roppongi-Park and Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo; the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin; and the ABC Playground
(Houston St.) in New York.

Frank Gerard Godlewski
Curator/Exhibitions Manager
Angel Orensanz Foundation, NYC

 

LUIS BUNUEL AND ANGEL ORENSANZ DURING THE NEW YORK ARMORY SHOW

New York, March 10, 2011

Angel Orensanz was a fervent admirer of Luis Bunuel’s personality and filmography since very early on.
In a large mural relief at the campus of the University of Barcelona well before General Franco had
passed away, Orensanz included the only public portrait of Bunuel in Spain. This is a large ceramic
mural relief portraying him together with Unamuno, Picasso and Manuel Machado. Orensanz soon
departed for Paris to work as a sculptor. He attended film shoots of the world master film director such
as Belle de Jour and La voie Lactee.

Luis Bunuel had his short film Un chien andalou premiered in 1928 at Studio 28 at Place des Ursulines.
That film changed the history of moviemaking for ever and was followed by L’Age d’Or, produced
together with Salvador Dali. The scandal that broke up is one of the most celebrated moments in the
history of cinema. The sequence in which the barber slits the eye of his sitting client, in parallel with the
new moon crossing a cloud, is considered the most striking image of world cinematography

Something in common between the world film author and the Spanish/American sculptor was the land of
Aragon (Northern Spain) where both were born and from where both derived a fierce individualism and a
passion for the esthetics of ultra reality aesthetics.

When in 2001 the town of Calanda, the birthplace of Bunuel, commissioned Angel Orensanz to build a
sculpture to Luis Bunuel, Orensanz erected a high steel tree crowned with a strong, slit eye. Now it
stands in the heart of town of Calanda. But Orensanz, before bring it to its final destination,  paraded it
through the most meaningful locales of Bunuel such as Madrid, Venice, Paris and Zaragoza,  covering
territories so loved by Bunuel.

Angel Orensanz used to meet Luis Bunuel in Zaragoza (the city where Bunuel carried his pre-university
education), when the surrealist genius used to return quietly to his town of Calanda in Lower Aragon to
attend year after year the massive, thundering drums popular parades. Orensanz visited locales in Paris
where he shot unforgivable sequences of his movies; and in the heart of Zaragoza,
Plaza Nuestra Señora del Pilar for one week, right before reaching its final destination. Then there was
another final strike of mysterious concurrence. Angel Orensanz was looking in the early Spring of 2010
for a sea coast where to shoot  his emblematic “Descent into the Abyss” a reprise of the catastrophe of
the Gulf of Mexico by BP, made into forbidden zone. Friends took him to the Costa Brava near
Barcelona where Orensanz descended to the depth of the Mediterranean to be filmed and photographed
for a imposing exhibition series. It turned out that to be the locale where Bunuel and Dali used to spend
time together and where they shot in the 1920 “L’Age d’Or”.

Now, the Angel Orensanz Foundation in New York, with occasion of the Armory Fair in New York is
presenting a two week exhibition in which an anthology of Luis Bunuel movies is interlaced with
Orensanz’s films and sculptures. The soaring spaces of the Orensanz Foundation in New York are
bathed in a dense, hypnotizing red; and so is bathed the façade of the Foundation. If you open some of
the books on Orensanz’s art, you can read this comment of Bunuel himself: “…Right now I have people
in Paris begging me with four a five movie projects. They have the money, they have everything, but I will
not move a finger. I think that something similar happens to Orensanz. He is a real artist, his personal
narratives come and go out of the stories that his pieces narrate in cascades and upsurges. True artists
live, move and create in solitude…”.

Luis Bunuel passed through New York, working at the film section of the Museum of Modern Art in the
1940’s. Angel Orensanz planted permanently his roots in New York in the 1980’s. His film work is now
part of the film library of MOMA.

Al Orensanz
Director
Angel Orensanz Foundation, NYC

 

Please click on the link to see the video of the opening of the installation last Sunday:
For the 2011 Armory Arts Week we appeared in the following:
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