SOLID PORTRAITS

By ANTONIO CASTILLO

Interview with  CLAUDIA ROJAS, ANDREA SWARZ and ANTONIO CASTILLO:

This project, as we have been able to confirm, comes from the union of three Colombian artist, who have been united by their bond as image creators, with the intention of transporting the audience to intimate spaces filled with life and reflections. Each one of them plays a different role for the creation of the short film. We must remark that the collaborative project was born after a first contact between them, starting with the sole idea of depicting the still life paintings to later create the video, which was to result in a documental for observation.  This was, Claudia and Andrea initially developed the creative part and the art direction, Andrea takes on the photographic series and they invite Antonio to complement their project from the video side. Claudia Rojas studied Industrial and Wardrobe design in Argentina. From there she created the own brand, Maison Mess, and works since then in numerous projects as a publicity fashion stylist. Andrea Swarz has been working in the world of fashion photography since 2010, she is also a Visual and Graphic Designer, creating her own images and turning her works of art into unique pieces. Lastly, Antonio Castillo, who studied Cinema and Television. Currently he works in artistic photography projects and also experimental documentary video. He balances this with his work at IDIPRON (District Institute for the Protection of the youth and childhood), with kids with risk of social exclusion.

So,  after getting to know your professional challenges and all your experience in the world of the sound and image… what meaning does Stills have for you ? and what do the objects that appear in Stills suggest to you?

To us, Stills is a meeting between different elements: substance, color and space, only to show how life when still. In these compositions, the objects are chosen almost spontaneously, they unify in the concept, the emotion and the art. The color and the atmosphere that every image has also refers to a different hour of the day. In a warm space, the objects, are substances either dead or transformed: glass, pebbles, cut flowers, dried fruits, soap, ceramics, transformed by their state and also by their light.

I understand that the play is composed by different parts: Solid Portraits, Summer Species, The Fearsome and Emphiness. Also, as the content of the frames advances, changes in the music and the rhythm will be perceived. What relationship is there between each one of them? And what importance or priority do the objects have when it comes to creating and composing this video?

In this case, the Solid Portraits video is divided into four parts, and it is born as a documentary for observation. In the first part, the objects affirm themselves just by existing: the fact of being there, occupying a space, being in the purest and without any pretentions; and this is how we keep extracting through the video, its essence and its inertia start taking another meaning when being analyzed and registered in different ways and using three cameras with different resolutions that help us to see from the plastic side, the existence as such of the object.

In Solid Portrait there are several elements that, by pure luck, keep nourishing the work with their own existence and guiding time and feelings within the edition. How to actually differentiate the photography from the video? You ask yourselves, of course, what sense it would make to repeat the motionless image of the photograph if it wasn’t for the life that, unconsciously , makes use of the existence of these objects and gives us an awareness of time. I was really beautiful to us that it was a fly that was nourished by the detritus of the very existence of the objects with which it interacts. On the other hand, The Fearsome takes us to the magnificence of the crude and their relationship with the reckless imaginaries of the sea. And finally in Emphiness we are filled by the void of the beautiful and the inevitable.

Historically, still life paintings used to be represented by all manner of old objects, ripe fruit and meat or fish on sumptuous platters in a state of decomposition. Instead of that you show objects under different atmospheres, also, different, over warm and luminous backgrounds. What was the criteria when it came to choosing every part? And do you use the objects as tools for the investigation of time?

We are glad that you make us this question. For this we created a palette of colors and lights. Every object has a different way of absorbing the light and we believe that provides several visual attractive nuances; we chose crystals that helped us to create reflections, textures, ceramic objects that gave off matte tones, objects that for their esthetical beauty generate that feeling of complacence to the observer, the one who looks and understands this object outside of its normal functionality and within its natural existence. We don’t search to make an investigation of time but we did by coincidence spend many hours in the antiquary to find some of the objects.(Laughs)

Finally, I would like you to tell me about the artistic references and authors that have served to inspire you for the creation of this project.

Perhaps the stronger and more evident references are to Chris Marker, Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage. Due to the fact that all of them have led us the writing and the documentary esthetics, not only as a social document but they have also transformed them into pieces of art.

By JAVIER MORELOPE