A reflection on art and space has been the common thread with which the artist Montserrat Soto (Barcelona, 1961) has fashioned in one of the most coherent and imaginative careers in Spanish art throughout the last decade. Soto studies in the Escuela Massana in Barcelona and the School of Fine Arts in Grenoble (France), whilst experimenting with photography, the predominant medium in her artistic expression, as well as video installation and stage design.
She has woven together a set of interactions that revolve around the concept of space as a place of experience and transit, where memory faces up to the dynamic nature of reality. From enclosed spaces, the storage rooms in a museum, for instance, or archives, Soto transports the viewer into an open and mutant landscape, a setting for the confrontation between nature and culture, where man feels alone and impotent.
Soto is particularly concerned with the exploration of landscape and the effects of urban development in what is referred to as a process of construction and deconstruction. The project Tracking Madrid, devised exclusively for the Espacio Uno of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, displays, via five large projections, images of the changing city, where nature and culture from the past and the future converge. The changes brought about by private urban planning, and its aggressive construction processes, affect the customs of the inhabitants and create a sense of loss and a longing for what was always associated with the city in times gone by. The images of the major city, and the dialogue that takes place between them, form the basis and main reference point of the shots and the website that records the urban transformation of Madrid in real time. There is also an archive of material, filmed and edited by the artist, which recalls this metamorphosis.
To carry out this work Soto has used unprecedented technology in artistic research - Flexible Media Tools, developed by British Telecom; it is the first time this kind of technology has been available in art research. The images transmit destruction and construction, manifesting how nature defeats and dies, how man has socially evolved and relates to his environments, whilst also revealing the crisis that surrounds the meaning of “natural landscape”.
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