past exhibition

Gabriel Esteban Molina : Trip I - Hasta La Vista

online video exhibition

24th December 2020 –
17th January 2021

In place of usual end of the year message, we are presenting the video of Gabriel Esteban Molina, 'Trip I - Hasta La Vista', which the Canadian artist created during the confinement earlier this year. Albeit not the artist’s original concept for the work, the short video summarises the exceptional year that was 2020; its almost placid, stagnant feel, your room being everything about your life, ubiquitous screens and the central position they have come to occupy in many people's lives, and lurking expectation for things to change only to be disappointed. Importatnly, however, the piece is about the future and hope; to re-live what it was once - hence the title Hasta La Vista. Please click the above image to go to view the video. And we wish you happy holidays.

About the exhibition

Gabriel Esteban Molina's video work possesses universe of its own; it brings forth alternative perspectives to life as we comprehend it. The artist moves freely between reality and illusion, and the unshakable feel of being conjured up with enigma may prompt audience to moments of doubt and inspection, eventually leading to the conclusion that after all, there is no one absolute way of seeing the world.

Exploring the mediation of experience through technology, 'Trip I - Hasta La Vista' features photography and video footage from Esteban Molina’s recent residency with ArtsIceland in the Westfjords of Iceland. His process involves the degradation of footage, which was originally shot on location, by putting it on a monitor and then shooting it again with a camera. This allows him to play with the materiality of the screen, the illusory nature of the image, and the authenticity and authority of the artist.

When panning and zooming across the monitor, the image becomes animated and it seems as though the artist is once again present in the environment he is photographing. The interaction of the sensor and pixels on the screen creates interference patterns which interrupt the serenity of the landscape and invite the viewer to question the veracity of the image. The central video is bordered by a reddish shifting colour field contrasting the various natural earth tones, greens, and blues of Iceland, and shot with the same smartphone as the one which he used to film the landscape stills. Where and how these images were made are now multiple times removed from their original contexts through manoeuvre by the artist. The image is now a self reflection of the artist, and placing it in his own environment is its natural extension, his workplace acting as a conceptual self-portrait. Various objects strewn about within the work also reflect the artist’s inner self, his affinity towards mystery and investigation.The viewer is invited to step directly into an intimate environment of the artist's life, not only in terms of physical territory, but into his psychological inner world.

The work is also a Twenty-first Century still life. The videos displayed in the monitor within the work may reflect influences from the 19th century realist artists such as Courbet who challenged traditional ideas about painting and used the materiality of paint and the surface to shatter the notion of a painting as a window into an ideal realm. By breaking with tradition and leaving the “hand of the artist” visible, painting shifted away from being a window into a fantasised perfect world, and more of a mirror of the everyday experience. Gabriel’s background as a traditionally trained painter still informs his lens-based practice, and the choice of presentation and context of the video, situated at his workspace in his home and showing indoor space with objects and a view to the outside world, may resonate with the past for its relevance to our contemporary experience.

The view of the desk and windows also speaks to the artist’s combined role as artist and viewer consuming their own creation as a sort of Ouroboros keeping the memory alive. This closed loop is a reminder of the duality of the screen. This duality is present in the English word ‘screen', an auto-antonym; to ‘screen’ means to 'show' and to 'conceal'. The combined truth and deception of the artist's process reveals his preoccupation with philosophical questions about the nature of reality, and our relationship to the world around us. The various audio tracks used in this piece are a combination of sounds Gabriel recorded in various locations including Iceland, Chile, and his own backyard as seen through the window. This layered audio creates confusion as it mirrors the superimposed videos and imagery and obfuscates the true position of the viewer in the complex environment the piece creates. At the end of the video, the red border gives way to a shot of the ground outside the artists home, literally tipping the artists hand and revealing the deception of the process.

Trip I - Hasta La Vista (2020) - 4K h.265 video