BIO + ARTIST STATEMENT
I am mostly interested in process, and how through it I can decipher my relationship to space, not just physical, but emotional space...
MONIKA BRAVO, born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1964, I had a strong desire to become an astronaut after witnessing the first Moon landing on TV; few years later, I studied and learned several languages wanting to work as a simultaneous interpreter. At age 9, my mom bought me a SRL photographic camera, since I had not shown any promise in art classes, allegedly. At fourteen during a trip I took to Italy, I knew I wanted to study fashion design, and live far, far away from my native Colombia. After many turns and experiences, I spent time studying fashion and photography in Rome, Paris, London. I also lived in Athens until I took a two weeks trip to Colombia that lasted four years, where I taught photography. One day in 1994, I booked a one way ticket to New York City where I relocated to pursue a career in the Arts. I am now a multi-disciplinary artist.
“Weaving_time”, a solo show curated by Beatriz Lopez will open Feb. 1st at NC-arte, in Bogota, Colombia, this work will also be part of “Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Visual and Material Culture from Colombia”, at Bard Graduate Center, curated by Jose Roca, opening April 10 2014. “So far away yet so close will open on January 31st 2014 as part of “Migrations” curated by Lisa Banner, at the Pelham Art Center. Recent solo shows in 2013. include LABORATORIUM Solo projects at ArtBO curated by Jose Roca, "Recent works" at MAM, Museum of Art, Montclair. NJ, "El objeto de la Percepción" at Centro Colombo Americano, Bogota and "Landscapes of Belief" at BYU Museum of Art (MOA) in Provo, UTAH.
Her work has been shown at Sternesen Museum, Oslo, Museo de Arte, Banco de la Republica, Bogota, Colombia, Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, Seoul International Biennial of New Media Art, SITE Santa Fe; Centro de Arte Contemporaneo Caja CAB de Burgos, Spain, El Museo del Barrio, and New Museum in NY. Her videos have been screened at MOMA, Anthology Film Archives, Brooklyn Museum, New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Kitchen, Museo di Arte Contemporaneo di Roma, the New York video festival at the Lincoln Center & the Americas Society in NY, L.A MOCA, Tate Britain, Museo Reina Sofia.
Recently commissioned by Spear Capital to create a large installation of still and moving images covering two lobbies for their 315 Park Avenue building in NYC. Bravo was also commissioned by Landmarks Public Art Program to create a video installation for the University of Texas at Austin’s public art collection, also commissioned by Public Art for Public Schools at New York City School Construction Authority to create a series of 13 large glass panels for PS-IS 314. Recent commissions BREATHING_WALL a 58 monitor video strip commissioned by Los Angeles World Airports for the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Corporate commissions include IN-SITU a large photographic commission for Talisman Energy Inc's main office in Bogota, Colombia, H20_ AKA, Boutique Hotels, Central Park NYC, 6 Projections cover a 44 feet of wall at the health club of moving images depicting aquatic sequences in a circular motion. Commissioned by Korman Communities, also commissioned by them, RHAPSODY_AKA Boutique Hotels, Times Square NYC, 3 LCD monitors at the lobby create a panoramic canvas showing the transient architecture and the dynamic of Times Square. HEXAGRAMS, commissioned for COMCAST 2 Light encasements 64 x 64” have been installed inside the walls of the 52nd and 53rd floors in Philadelphia, INTERVALS, Thirty 16 x16’’ photographic tiles illustrating the city of Newark are installed along a 34 feet wall commissioned for Kirpatrick, Lockhart & Gates Law firm Newark, NJ and LIFT_ME_UP_HK, Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong, an interactive video installation with sound, located at the elevator that goes to the SPA.
She has been the recipient of Longwood Digital_Matrix Commission, Bronx Council on the Arts, the Art Scope Miami Emergent Artist awards in 2002 and 2005 and NYSCA’s Electronic Media & Film Award; She has lectured at Santa Fe Art Institute, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Lannan Foundation and Site Santa Fe among others; she has also been selected to participate in 2001‘s LMCC’s WTC World Views, the Santa Fe Art Institute & 2003 ART OMI Artist-in-Residency Programs. Her work has been reviewed by The New York Times, Art Nexus, Art in America, The New Yorker.
MONIKA BRAVO: ARTIST STATEMENT
Was it because I was born at midnight under a Scorpio full moon that I feel an intense urge to understand life? or was it the impact of losing my father at the age of eight that made me question space on an emotional level deepening this impetus? I examine the notion of perception by questioning whether the world we live in, is but a mental construction; my artistic practice is used as a tool to decipher the laws that govern the world I live in. With this inquiry, I create objects by incorporating still, moving images, sound and interactivity to generate situations where I can materialize and communicate my emotional state. I want to challenge the audience’s own perception of what they consider real by generating a platform where they are induced to connect by exploring, interacting and at times by focusing on an object-place-scene for a duration of time in a manner that is both meditative and investigative.
The photographic medium has evolved since I was trained as a photographer from the traditional film/darkroom processes to zeros and ones, I am also using the computer to process both still and moving images and to generate drawings and paintings. My process is more akin to that of a painter for I am not interested in documenting nor creating a narrative. The absence of tangibility incites me to implement an imaginary practice of simulated cutting, pasting, collaging, superimposing and layering in the production of the works (DOZENFIELDS, 2003). To achieve this I consider the limitless quality of the already formatted screen and see it as material, an endless canvas, if you will. Materiality is crucial in how I transfer them back into tangible forms as I have developed an original way of presenting, mounting and/or projecting onto mirrors, mylar and slabs of sanded plexiglass. These surfaces create environments/objects that express ideas of mental constructions/situations to convey ideas of reality, such as skylines, aquariums, borders, labyrinths, oracles (I Ching), Tangible memory or the idea about time.
The visual approach to landscape and nature in my work ranges from the philosophical (Is our world a mental construction? SYMPHASIS_SIMULTANEOUS APPEARANCES (2000), to the emotional (when does a space become a place? PARALLELS, (2003) - In SO FAR AWAY YET SO CLOSE, (2011), I was challenged to transcend the political meaning of what the US/Mexico border represents and decided to layer it into a more philosophical question; are the political borders none other that lines in our imagination? In LANDSCAPE_OF_BELIEF (2012), I built skylines of cities out of text (Italo Calvino’s Invisible cities), where I question how we construct and limit our lives according to our belief systems. More recently, in WEAVING_TIME, 2013, the idea of weaving as text, as an abstract and ancient language used by all primitive cultures to connect, depict and define their relationship to nature, In which, the thread, the loom, the act of weaving takes form using the immateriality of the time-based footage as material.
Public commissions: I conceive visual interventions within the architecture of a public space, some of these are large walls transformed into moving images, interactive time-based installations with sounds, light encasements and walls composed of photographic tiles. These interventions create mesmerizing experiences that are also painterly in nature providing a space for temporarily abstraction thus subtly transporting the mind elsewhere. These interventions are found in halls, atriums, corridors, train stations, airports, elevators, and hotels. 2013 UTA_AN INTERVAL OF TIME Commissioned by Landmarks Public Art Program to create a video installation for the University of Texas at Austin’s public art collection, The video will be projected from within a six-foot spherical screen located in the Jackson School of Geoscience’s new student center. Using romantic poetry as a connector between nature (landscape) and the mind [charts]. The charts float around the globe mimicking the way thoughts float around our mind. abstractions of water, steam and fire are used as the base (landscape) It is not a struggle between mind and nature, on the contrary, through poetry we can find a connection between being and the urge to understand who we are and what we are made of (science). 2010: BREATHING_WALL_LAX Commissioned by Los Angeles World Airports. 2 video installations, at the arrivals level, 58 LCD monitors form an S shape, at the other end a video wall containing a matrix of 25 LCD monitors. Filmed in the lapse of five years, moving images of crowds in public spaces are distorted through a lens; treated as a canvas, the "video" format is then cut and paste weaving layers of different periods and places resulting in a color field composition of intervals of time within a space. 2014 TIME WILL TELL Queens _PS-IS 314 Commissioned by Public Art for Public Schools at New York City SCA. A series of large panels (13) that will suspend on the Atrium & float outside a hallway, These Panels depict the transformation of space, from landscape to cityscape, shaped first by nature through creeks, hills, marshes and reshaped by migration, language, distance and culture. the visual form is that of layered planes simile of a hologram the layers of information gathered by time, spaces divided by mind, places shaped by emotions and people.
Time: a mental construction and the mind’s ability to move in space.
TIMEPIECE_Be_here_now, (2008) consisting of seven unique electronic sculptures, Each mirrored video boxes presents one philosophical statements about the passage of time such as THE VALUE OF MOVEMENT IS IN TIME or THIS THOUGHT IS ILLUSION. a two-way mirror is placed in front of a moving image that has sentences referring to the passage of time in a loop, the viewer becomes the image and time becomes the medium of engagement.
Space: what is the difference between space and place? is it when we endow it with an emotion?
PARALLELS, (2003) transparent facades from Modern buildings are printed and mounted on large thick Plexiglas which rest on a ledge and tilt on the wall, as light passes through them creating a shadow. In this series I am interested in the idea of emotional space & memory that is represented in the shadows.
Illusion: The perception of reality as an image.
THE_VORTEX , (2007) The object of our perception is not reality in itself, but an illusion of images we have created. A metaphor to the practice of contemplation as a way to understand our distorted reality.
Medium|Materiality: questioning the rigidity and limitation of techniques and methods; running away from definitions, the tangible representation of the mind. Using materials as a metaphor of emotional challenges. Attention to materiality.
LIQUID_WALL, (2013) (time-based circular painting): a moving impressionistic painting of the reflection of water, the residue of oil from the marina, and its surrounding man-made environment simultaneously evoking a beautiful and unsettling image.
Experience: generate a set of systems and guidelines for the viewer to participate and investigate their own personal experience in relation to my work.
A_MAZE, (2001):, I felt both inspired and challenged in creating a multimedia installation that could, like J. L. Borges produce a labyrinthine narrative by using unrelated situations of personal trips previously recorded. These sequences, which average two minutes each, are synchronized with electronic music also recorded beforehand by FLORA & FAUNA. The purpose is to make a territory where the viewer engages in a simulated "video game".