The Magnete
29 August - 4 September 2020

In De Magnete, Jon Gorospe explores the symbolic and transcendental tradition of landscape to bring it up to date and to speak from that angle. Not only is landscape present in his images as a subject, but also – and above all – as an embracing space that refers constantly to vastness: the vastness of what is huge and the vastness of our inner self.

The inner reality that Gorospe aims at and which he unfolds in this series is at once enigmatic and tumultuous. He has used a particular idea of the sacred on more than one occasion in order to refer to it, this being the assembly of beauty and terror (Rilke) or of beauty and its revelations (the epiphanies it provokes).

In order to do this, Gorospe turns to a series of black and white landscapes alternating several colour photographs in which the only thing we can distinguish are transitions between colours. These gradients have a twofold function. On one hand, just like a map’s legend, they are the key to the series: they provide us with the coordinates that guide its interpretation. On the other hand, they also represent something ethereal and formless, a beyond, a behind.

Another element with a strategic role is present in the landscape images: scale, or rather the absence of it, also understood as its dissolution from the perspective of fractal geometry. That which is big and that which is small are intertwined and indistinct but equally vertiginous, equally out of reach.

It was William Gilbert, the English scientist who discovered at the end of the 16th century that the mysterious direction in which compasses pointed was not caused by the material they were made of but instead due to the fact that our planet is a gigantic magnet. He proved this theory in his work known as De magnete, magneticisque corporibus, et de magno magnete tellure [On the Magnet and Magnetic Bodies, and on That Great Magnet the Earth].

Since Gilbert’s ground-breaking discovery, our knowledge about magnetic poles has kept on growing. We now know that they are mobile and that they shake, that they are not quite in the same place geographic poles are, that they often swap places, affect sleep and modify the direction of light, which in turn modifies our perception of the latter.

North turned into a mystery by Gilbert. A magnetic, mineral, archaic and ever-changing north in which Gorospe has now tested the different forms of amazement and contemplation.

Text by Rubén Á. Arias

Installation View

Jon Gorospe (b. 1986, Vitoria, Spain) is an artist based in Oslo, Norway.

Gorospe artistic practice focus on new approaches and perspectives to the idea of contemporary landscape. He combines his practice with the research and study of the image from a theoretical point of view. That brought him to participate on several debates, projects and magazines, writing articles about this field.

He also collaborated in different exhibitions as a curator, and as a photo editor. His work has been exhibited in several countries as Spain, Norway, Germany, Italy and Slovakia, among others. His work has been part of international photography festivals as Circulation(s), Futures or PhotoEspaña.


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