Pablo Valbuena develops art projects and research focused on space, time and perception. Born in Spain and currently based near Toulouse, in the south of France.
Some key elements of this exploration are the overlap of the real and the virtual, the generation of mental spaces by the observer, the dissolution of the boundaries between reality and perception, the links between space and time, the observer’s experience as focus of the work and the use of mediums (light and sound) as prime matter.
These ideas are mostly developed site-specific, ephemeral interventions that build and transform space with perceptual tools rather than physical ones. They are formulated as a direct response to the perceptual qualities, physical conditions and surrounding influences of a certain location or space.
The resulting works have been presented in Europe, Asia and America in a wide range of places as site-specific commissions, museum, gallery exhibitions and large-scale urban interventions.
Pablo has lectured about these topics in academic contexts such as UCLA, Art Center in Pasadena, Seoul Museum of Art, University of Southern California, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Medialab-Prado and the University of Bern among others.
“The artist projects a drawing, a map of the space, onto the space itself. This projection scans the space with laser precision. But while scanning it, it slowly starts redrawing the walls, the windows, the skirting, the floor and the floorboards. Scanning becomes copying; one image turns into two.
The logic of these projections follows the basic elements of the space: the first lines form the pedestal, the carrier, the outline. This creates a shape ready to be filled: depth is added for a radiator or a window. What follows is a logistic set-up: the lines on the floor follow the wooden floorboards; those on the wall follow the electric pipes and switches. The questions that come to mind are ‘Could one live in this?,’ ‘What are the limits of this projection, of this map, of this house ?’”.
A map is a representation of reality, not reality itself. Sometimes it is a projection of reality, a potential reality that has not happened yet. In this case we call it a plan. Pablo Valbuena combines the best of both worlds. Just like a cartographer, he bases himself on existing spaces. Like an architect, he draws lines to expand this space.
This way, he unites the actual and the virtual in one and the same reality. That is what makes this artist/cartographer/architect a philosopher as well. He quotes Gilles Deleuze: “Le virtuel ne s’oppose pas au réel, mais seulement à l’actuel. Le virtuel possède une pleine réalité, en tant que virtuel… Le virtuel doit même être défini comme une stricte partie de l’objet réel.” (Gilles Deleuze, Différence et répétition, Paris, P.U.F., 1968, p. 269).
“The result [of Pablo’s work] is a game of light and dark. On and off. Present and absent. Virtual and real. A binary system made to measure for the digital age. The age where light does not mean anything without the reference to dark, and ‘on’ does not mean anything without ‘off’. Where the present always refers to the absent. Where you cannot see what is virtual without reality. Together they form one reality: the space, the map, the plan in which we are.” Pieter Van Bogaert on Pablo Valbuena’s ork for the exhibition Almost Cinema. Vooruit. Ghent, Belgium. 2009)
Invited this season as teacher, Pablo Valbuena will create an in situ work at Le Fresnoy.