Raúl Ortega Ayala, The Zone; Dürst Britt & Mayhew, The Hague

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Loss causes wounds, both psychologically and physically.

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A wound can be seen as a trace of suffering.

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Traces, as far as they are visible, are subjected to aesthetics, whether you like it or not, and as such they are subjects for the visual arts.

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Absence is a manifestation of loss, and so becomes part of the traces of loss.

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These closely related aspects come together in The Zone, a project by Raúl Ortega Ayala (1973), presented by Dürst Britt & Mayhew.

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The Zone is a video, lasting more than half an hour, made in the restricted area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine.

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However, the film is not just another expression of morbid aesthetics or another tear-jerking documentary about human suffering.

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In fact it is very much alive.

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History becomes very much part of the present and becomes timeless as well as time-worn when you see the different seasons in the area and the people who tell their memories and walk around in the places where they once lived, worked and enjoyed themselves.

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The Zone is supplemented with photographs which act like a decor and, as they are very well presented, act as a kind of vestibule to the video.

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In the front part of the gallery Ortega shows three renditions of x-rayed pictures.

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Under the paintings by Hodges, Van Gogh and the Le Nains are completely different pictures, which are lost for humanity but are being made visible again, with traces of the present paintings over them.

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Again they are traces of absence, of loss. It is great how Dürst Britt & Mayhew changed their gallery again to present this work, so, go there and take your time to see it all!

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[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy to Raúl Ortega Ayala and Dürst Britt & Mayhew.

 

Bertus Pieters

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