Within this series, Kinematope [technical landscape] is the installation which Pablo Valbuena developed especially for one of the showrooms of Espacio Fundación Telefónica (which is completely open-plan for the first time since its opening). A circuit of light and sound courses through the false ceiling of the gallery, defining the three hundred metres of cabling which provide the venue with electricity as well as being vital for its functional use.
The installation discloses a landscape of equipment which, despite its functional significance, is hidden from the eyes of the observer. As the critic Pau Waelder explains: “The systems which determine the conditions of the room (lighting, connectivity, temperature), normally hidden in the ceiling, are displayed in the shadows projected by the framework of LEDs and speakers which deliver the experience. Shadows and lights sketch spaces and fleeting shapes on the walls and pillars as the light and sound move around the room, following movement patterns and changing rhythms.”
In this new work, Valbuena manages to subvert architectural elements once again. Not only does he draw our attention to what is usually hidden but, instead of using the room as just a space in which works of art are displayed, the room itself becomes the artwork. Quoting Waelder again: “On entering the room, the only possibility is placing yourself within the artwork.”
A common feature of Valbuena’s work is matching the actual physical space with the virtual space he creates. In this way two apparently opposite elements coexist in the same empty space: the permanence and solidity of the architecture and the fleeting and subtle qualities of the light; the tangible and the intangible; the real and the digital; the static and the dynamic, etc. After all, Valbuena designs a new space that floats above what already exists and which, far from being constructed with physical materials, is built on perception. He comments: “I don’t think I work in a physical space, but rather in the mind of the observer.”
Certainly, the word kínêma also brings to mind the world of film, a constant point of reference in the works of Pablo Valbuena: “Films take you to another space-time world which feels real but is not.” In the same way as a film does, his works use light to engulf us in a space and a time which, in spite of being intangible, appear as real to us. As Waelder notes: “Kinematope is not confined to showing a different place on the wall in a room but to making the room itself a different place through the illusions generated there.” In this sense, the walls, floor and ceiling of the room create a kind of captivating three-dimensional screen which surpasses the two-dimensional film experience.
In short, Valbuena offers us the opportunity to see as we have never seen before this room in this iconic building, erected in 1929 as the headquarters of Telefónica. The light, something on which we do not dwell normally, an element which leaves no trace or stain, becomes a tool which the artist uses to give us the opportunity to experience space in a totally different way. As if the light changes and brings out the reality of what we usually cannot see, the viewer is transported into a virtual space and time, whilst maintaining the real.