Ride the rail 

From the kingdom of miniature trains that used to be assembled in my family home emerges the memory of that fantastic game of multiple elements -HO scale- emulating real trains, whose speed could be remotely controlled and which were staged in a realistic scenery on a giant table. The fascination I got from the rounds of that little railway rolling over diverse tracks is similar to the one I get from traveling on some wagon between towns, cities, and countries. In those adventures, I could observe between one point and another of the trajectory, sequences of faraway landscapes, leaving to the imagination a wake of possible places that were not visible from my window, and that surely would remain suspended in parallel universes to, why not?, become art, and thought, and work.

The subject of displacement (mainly with some means of collective transport: bus, train, ship, or plane –all vehicles for the occurrence of fortuitous happenings) has led me to produce works that ride on the rails of exploratory curiosity, the desire to expand the conception of the world that one constructs for oneself. The intermittent awareness of randomness in a predetermined route is introduced in this new body of work, displaying a particular vision with respect to progressive changes of context, physical and psychic dislocations through progressively unveiled geographical areas.

Translocation, that fully evocative movement in space, can be configured in several ways: something shifts outside of us while we remain static; we ourselves move and the rest remains in place; we move and the environment also moves; or, more intimately, something shifts within us in such a way that a change in perception occurs.

All these possibilities apply in this exhibit’s proposal, made up by aesthetic situations in accord with the emotional experience lived during and after having suddenly traveled to Les Masses, a place alien to me until that moment. The relationship established between the varied resources, techniques and mediums of the exhibited works is a constant element in my decades-long research on how to create iterations of a common grammar and vocabulary, which are materialized in works that carry in their essence the strategies of a germinal language, the language of the conceptual.

To record my trip to the snowy mountains I used my cell phone camera, which stopped working when I reached my final destination because of the low temperatures, perhaps as a sign that nothing more should be captured. The digital material obtained would be consistent with my practice of making art with common, everyday elements —with what is at hand. Here I seek to write a code sustained not so much in the virtuosity of a technique or the valuation of a material as in its modesty. In this way, I intend to achieve what I consider essential: to produce a work with such an originary force that conveys, while at the same time preserving its mystery, the rarity of that which cannot be named.

Patricia Van Dalen, July 2017