Miguel Lorente

Galería Carmen de la Calle

If one looks at Miguel Lorente’s oeuvre—he has been making work, at a slow pace, for almost twenty years now—it is clear that he has always been interested in connecting art and science. In the early ’90s, he participated in the group Colectivo Colectivo, where he investigated such themes as the theory of relativity. His solo work is based on making molds of the human body and disassembling different types of machines. The core issue of the relationship between art and science has remained constant.

Visión, etc” is Lorente’s first solo exhibition in eight years. Raised up as if to preside over the rest of the work, the sculpture Ojo (Eye), 2005, serves as an emblem of the overriding intention of the exhibition. In it, Lorente simply and resoundingly speaks of the eye both as a mechanism to be understood scientifically and as the organ of vision. In fact, all of the pieces in the show deal with the same theme: reality—understood as something grasped within scientific parameters—and how we perceive it, namely, not at all scientifically. This is the point of departure—not the final destination—of Hasselblad, 2006, and Prismáticos (Binoculars), 2005, mechanisms that have been disassembled and are shown, part by part, in a display case. Las Meninas según R. Moya (Las Meninas according to R. Moya), 2006, and Las Meninas según Ángel del Campo, 2006, are models that illustrate the writings of two theoreticians of space and light in the work of Velázquez, a renowned master of visual ambiguity. (“Del Campo,” by the way, could be a Spanish translation of “Duchamp.”)

Lorente himself points to his love of science as a source for his art. His machines are readymades that enter the exhibition space whole, only to be disassembled in plain view. At first, the result seems to be the display of nothing more than his obsession and a minute fascination with a machine broken down into its smallest parts. The process of disemboweling the machine, so to speak, reveals something different, however. Lorente’s emphasis on measuring instruments and optical instruments, and the fact that he decomposes the space described in a Velázquez painting, indicate his interest in contrasting a mechanical reality, subject to measurable parameters and predictable relations, with a much more slippery and relative way of perceiving it. This is the dilemma of an artist who’d like to be able to present a creation as precise as the products of a machine and who aspires to create scientific works but who, in the end, has chosen to inhabit the much less precise terrain of art.

Pablo Llorca

Translated from Spanish by Jane Brodie.