Hojarasca, glass leaves, nylon, variable dimensions.
THE WHITE GREEN HOUSE, 2022
This is an ongoing collaborative project with architect Gisela LaPorta. Brazilian-born LaPorta graduated as a bioclimate architect from the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) in 1982 and continued her studies in architecture and interior architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1985 and Harvard University in 1992.
After reading Diane Ackerman’s The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us, I was eager to construct a greenhouse to eventually transform into a hydroponic garden. I was inspired by Ackerman’s chapter concerning hydroponic engineer Rob Taylor’s greenhouse project in Antarctica, built in 2004 in the coldest and driest place on Earth. In the late 1970s, my father, an architect, was one of the first to introduce this method of growing vegetables and fruit on several acres of land he had in Venezuela, using structures shaped as domes and tubes. As a child, I was exposed to many of my father’s sustainable projects. Being able to rediscover sustainability through the eyes of Rob Taylor and his belief that there should not be hunger in the world ignited in me the desire to learn more about sustainability and the realities behind the illusions of green energy, among other topics.
REIMAGINE CLOTHING, 2020/2021
Reimagine Clothing is a collaboration between Liz Oliner (@liz.oliner) and me to search for sustainable fashion options. Our message is that most of everything we do negatively impacts the environment. This includes the fashion industry, which exacts a high environmental cost: it constitutes 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. The production of both natural and synthetic fibers exact significant, lasting tolls. The project brings Oliner’s knowledge of pattern making, her delicate aesthetic, and her clothing productions together with my paintings—made exclusively for these pieces—and my love for design. We redesigned secondhand clothing for a prêt-à-porter collection of eighteen beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces. For example, we made new linings from silk curtains, and Oliner designed jackets using men’s ties from thrift shops. We also made dresses out of men’s jackets, sewing the pieces by hand with old manual Singer machines that Oliner repaired. Today, she continues to teach people to deconstruct and reconstruct clothing from secondhand stores.
BIRTHDAY GIRL, 2021
Birthday Girl, 2021 acrylic on canvas, 78 x 56 in.
When I started this painting, I had in mind a girl celebrating her birthday in a kind of pastoral scene, where she isolates herself from the group to take selfies.
While I was working in my studio, the radio was on, telling the story of a 16-year-old boy who was beaten by his parents and kicked out of his house for wanting to be a girl. From that day on, his only safe places were a friend’s car, where he slept, and his school, where he ate and studied. Listening to him, I was struck by the optimism with which he described his life and the desire he had to be 18 and able to work and to fend for himself.
As I finished the face of The Girl, I realized that the story invaded my mind and guided my hand to paint the face of the boy instead. The Girl, this girl, was embodying his life and story.
MICRO VIDEOS, 2021
This is a fragment of one of the many videos filmed by Rodolfo Gerstl in the Venezuelan rainforest. Here Rodolfo is approaching Angel Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world. The surroundings of Angel Falls are now being destroyed by the authoritarian Venezuelan regime, with concessions to China and other irresponsible countries, to extract gold with mercury and water pressure. Their motto is: Money First and Fuck the Planet. Something that caught my attention about this clip is how it resembles a boy playing with his tin helicopter as he dreams of The Lost World, a faraway place. But this is a place that literally exists beyond our imagination, and it is being abruptly invaded by real beasts and real monsters.
ZEN SENSE AND THE FLYING ROCK
ALWAYS ON MY MIND, 2020
With lyrical aerial views of the Venezuelan rainforest interspersed amid historical images and collages, Always On My Mind, in the style of a classic narrative tale, raises awareness about the devastation inflicted on the Earth since 1946. It is a reflection that ultimately leads us to come together to envision solutions and make changes.
A life-affirming short film based on a chance encounter at a nursing home: a film that captures the resilient life of a shining star.
HEAVEN CAN WAIT, 2019
MICRO VIDEOS, 2020
In 2020, I started to produce short videos, for people to understand, in a simple way, the invisible dangers that dwell in the air, in the water, and in the land. These dangers are classic terrors present since the Industrial Revolution. I began to gather material on the most tragic accidents that have happened and keep happening, of the misinformation we receive, and positive discoveries to mitigate the impacts we inflict on our planet. I wanted to present them in a didactic way. This is a selection of twelve of these micros, which I put together in a film called Always On My Mind.
THE INVENTION OF THE BIKINI
THE FURNACE OF NO DESIRE
LOVE, PEACE, AND FREEDOM
SHAZAM, BLAST, BOOM, WHAAM
THIS IS NOT THE MOON
THE BLUE REVOLUTION
LITTLE HOUSE IN THE ANTARCTIC
FEATHERS AND WINGS, 1999
Tepuy, María Cristina Carbonell, Rio Negro, 1999
Urumaco was an installation that took fossils out of their traditional place in scientific institutions and brought them to an art museum. Featuring real fossils dated from between 6 and 12 million BC and images of the excavations in this desertic part of Venezuela, this installation honored the exhaustive hard work of paleontologists who brought to light the most fossil-rich zone of northern South America.
Hi8 video, 3″
It shows a hummingbird sipping nectar from an artificial source at different times of the day. The video is based on my relationship with a hummingbird, which I found when it fell from a tree. I nurtured and later released the bird, who kept coming back to me every day for meals, establishing a relationship of dependence and trust.
AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS, 1995
As a result of my trips to the Venezuelan rain forest between 1990 and 1997, most of my artwork has concerned nature, the rain forest, and the trips made by Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland to the Americas. Today, this environment is being exploited and destroyed for the extraction of gold, coltan, and other precious stones and metals. Au Revoir Les Enfants emerged from information I gathered about birds, animals, and plants facing extinction, and from the idealization of nature through poetic black-and-white landscape photographs. I was very inspired by Alexander von Humboldt, whom I admired as a visionary to be among the first to tackle climate change and introduce us to modern ecological concepts.
During a trip to the Orinoco River in the Venezuelan rainforest, I photographed animal tracks left in the sand and on the riverbanks. Back in Caracas, at the paleo-biology lab of Universidad Simón Bolívar, I identified each imprint and selected those by animals that were in critical danger of extinction. After that, I carved the tracks on marble, by hand, at a scale larger than the original size, and identified them with their creole name, Latin nomenclature, and grade of extinction. The title Epicedio refers to an ancient Greek lyric sung to a dead warrior. The project was my way of honoring these creatures, whose ecosystems have been destroyed along with their lives.
This is the study of flying patterns, in this case, flying upward and in circles to confuse predators.