Andrés Pachón: Magic Lantern
19.05 - 16.06.2016
The magic lantern was a device designed to project images, created in the 17th century. This precursor of the cinematograph was situated halfway between scientific purposes, popular entertainment and the emerging mass media, as it was creating an imaginary that filtered the Western visual culture.
Andrés Pachón´s project at Rodríguez Gallery presents itself as an archaeology of the photographic support used in the last magic lanterns: slides dated between 1890 and 1930, which occasionally, like in the plaques used in this case, were hand-painted. These slides represent Middle East landscapes, where the ethnographic value of the photography overlaps with the biblical imaginary.
The artist deconstructs the original images in order to accentuate the manipulation that lies beneath them, fully loaded with cultural preconceptions. Through a particular kind of high quality scan, the layer of paint is extracted from the plaque, isolating the watercolour from the picture and recovering the brush strokes. This pictorial stain is presented in a big format print alongside with the photographic layer, which has the plaque´s original size.
The diptychs place us between the two layers, the manual gesture and the mechanic photograph, emphasizing the way in which the Western eye forms its imaginary, based on the false idea of the objectivity attributed to the photographic automatism. We ignore which one precedes the other, the photographic image or the pictorial one; definitely our image of the world is the copy of a copy, overlapped layers where there is no place for the reference.
Lastly, we find a series of original plaques displayed on a device that modifies the correct way of seeing them while using the required elements for their projection: light and mirrors. The LED light, properly placed, eliminates the photographic image showing exclusively the hand-painted layer; the original composition of the image will only be seen through the reflection in the mirror situated on the back of the device.