Art & Culture
At Artisphere: Illustrated Journals of Pep Carrió & Isidro Ferrer Come to Life Through Augmented Reality
Published: October 17th, 2014
By Anthony L. Harvey
One short subway ride under the Potomac River from the GW/Foggy Bottom station to the Rosslyn Metro station three blocks up from Key Bridge and Washingtonians will find themselves only a couple of blocks from an amazing art show at Artisphere, the award-winning venue for new explorations in the world of the visual arts.
Titled “Think with your Hands” (“Pensar con las Manos”), is one of literally enchanting graphic art by two extraordinarily gifted Spaniards, Pep Carrió and Isidro Ferrer, and enhanced by wooden sculptures and “married” to the computer wizardry of engineers and programmers at Spain’s Polytechnic University of Valencia.
And, as a wise philosopher once admonished his students, it is –- in this case, an art show — that is the sort of thing that one cannot simply tell you about; rather, it is one for which you must go and see for yourself!
The show is handsomely installed in the spacious galleries of Artisphere’s well-lighted modern exhibition hall — with the graphic art and designs, together with illustrative sculptures, of Carrió and Ferrer alone worthy of a memorable art experience. The work of these two artists exemplifies the goals and ambitions of great graphic art and design — those of bold and dramatic pictorial elements, a compositional aesthetic that provides a sense of completeness and an immediate visual resonance around novel expressions of new and known ideas, and one that is profound and whimsical, often at the same time.
It further presents ideas and narratives that are readable — be they simple or complex. Carrió and Ferrer’s work draw on the imagery of memory — both real and imaginary — and that of both the mundane world around us and the interpretation of that world by such artists as the poet Pablo Neruda. It is modern art in the best sense of that often imprecise and less than always meaningful phrase.
The show derives from the innovative and ingenious work of both the two artists in collaboration with that of faculty and students in the Computer Engineering department at Valencia Polytechnic, the goal of this collaborative effort being that of bringing to augmented and animated life, using innovative computer software, the ideas of characters and situations depicted by Carrió and Ferrer in the exuberant graphics of their words, pictures, and dream-like reveries — especially as contained in and depicted within their journals and diaries.
To see these pictorial elements spring to life when activated with a mobile computer device like a tablet or a smart phone is to further engage with the artists’ ideas and situations in a magical experience. Figures dance, the static moves, and collage elements reveal more of their meaning when animated or presented in 2-D or 3-D representations. The artistry is enhanced and extended in this delightful and joyous manner. One can also turn the pages in the artists’ amazingly illustrated diaries and journals by simply moving one’s finger one way or the other on the screen of the electronic device.
Both artists display wonderful skills as draftsmen — they draw like angels — and present collaged works that display a deft and intuitive prowess. The clever computer apps designed and written by the computer engineering and programming maestros at Valencia Polytechnic are an equal wonderment.
“Think with Your Hands: Illustrated Journals Come to Life through Augmented Reality” is presented by Artisphere in collaboration with SPAIN arts & Culture, with the support of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, and the Spain-USA Foundation. Happily the show is accompanied by an extremely readable and beautifully illustrated small, soft-bound book.
On view at no charge through November 30, 2014 at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington): Wed.-Fri., 4-11pm; Sat., 12noon-11pm; Sun., 12noon-5pm). Formore information, call (703) 875-1100.
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