Daniel Canogar: Vortices

“The inexonerable, river-like forces of history have conspired to whirlpool into their own worst nightmare” says George Stolz in the catalogue Daniel Canogar: Vortices. This “nightmare,” the Great Pacific Garbage Vortex, is the subject of one of six installations by the Spanish artist for the exhibition “Vortices.” This exhibition was hosted by the Fundacion Canal, which is affiliated with Canal Isabel II, the company that manages the water supplies for Madrid.

The book includes an informative essay by Stolz, a writer and independent curator and recipient of the 2011 Arts Writers Grant through Creative Capital and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. He expertly describes the environmental impact and historical context of the ocean’s Garbage Vortex, millions of tons of suspended plastic particulates that reach 100 feet in depth. The essay states the mass to be as large as France, or even as large as Europe. Vortex is a fitting opening to Canogar’s exhibition and catalogue, and shows humans trapped in a floating sea of plastic bottles and other garbage. All the installations in the book used repurposed materials that could easily have been floating and swirling permanently in the abyssal vortex of the Pacific Ocean.

The large, bright installations in this exhibition are recognizably Canogar’s style. Tide’s oversized perspective makes the viewer seem floating in it’s garbage-filled light box projection (in contrast to Vortex, in which we are removed onlookers). Canogar’s nod to the original found-object practitioner, artist Marcel Duchamp, is seen in the playful yet entrapping Flow. In Tajo, used plastic bottles radiate projections of the annual water consumption in the Comunidad de Madrid. Another repurposed work, Pressure, is a literal representation of hot and cold water pipes. Lastly, Drift returns to the original theme of humanity entrapped by water and waste. The exhibition and catalogue play on water’s natural force, which can sometimes be deadly. Here, mortality is trumped by human’s waste, which will survive indefinitely. Although we live in a disposable culture, moving from one technology to the next as quickly as the flow of water, Canogar reminds us that our waste does not vanish so quickly.

The brief text and manageable hardback size make this book a great addition for fans of Canogar. Stolz’s essay offers science and fact, and the book includes texts in both English and Spanish. The English texts had a few typos and clunky translations, but nothing to turn a reader away from the matter at hand.

Canogar is also the Artistic Director of VIDA, an international competition on art and artificial life. Recipient of many public art commissions, the artist was subject of a feature article by Dara Meyers-Kingsley in the June, 2011 issue of Sculpture. In January, Vortices opens at the Museum Borusan Contemporary in Istanbul.

—Kara Kaczmarzyk

Book Description:
Daniel Canogar: Vortices
(available on amazon.es)
By Daniel Canogar, George Stolz, and Cristina Ruiz Orfila
Fundacion Canal, 2011
ISBN: 9788493211981
83 pages with color photos throughout
Spanish and English text

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