Francisca Prieto: Las tres dimensiones
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago - Chile
until 4 August 2019
2016 - Ongoing
In this series Francisca captures the very individual and remembered sense of space. Visualising the intangible architecture of the mind, she shows our ability to conjure both physical and emotional memory to form a place. As a moment etches an impression on our mind, drawing in surrounding colour and light, these works present space from the eyes of the beholder. Treated metal and collected coloured tickets form the light and shadow of recollection – paper trails of many journeys long forgotten.
In perhaps what is Francisca’s most personal series, these works reveal the artist’s own memories. Some are specific to place – London or Cuba – others hint at a feeling, but as images pass through the mind, indistinguishable, fleeting, yet full of suggestion and sentiment, these frames reminisce an individual’s moment in time.
2015 - 2016
“The notion of the picture as the product of painting… is being replaced by the experience of spatial construction” (The Line by A. Rodchenko, 1921). Intrinsic Dimension is a series of twelve compositions that explore and visualise the 1921 thesis by the Russian artist Aleksandr Rodchenko. He advocates the abandonment of figurative art on a quest for a new kind of painting; one where the artist’s invention relies on the construction of material. Francisca brings a new dimension to the canvas by materialising the line and using it to build.
Suspending old card railway tickets, she creates waves of colour with fragments of distance travelled. Lines, Rodchenko’s skeleton of construction, become suggestive indications of narrative and emotion, as intensities of visual texture and colour are ordered as paint applied. Contrast comes in angles and movement, as the works change depending on our perspective or viewpoint. Rippling with the singularity of every ticket, every line carries us on our own journey, creating the character for each of the multilayered artworks.
Traces of Absence
2015 - ongoing
Traces of Absence continues Francisca’s ongoing endeavour to re-enliven the power of forgotten print. Pages of found and collected papers – selected for their poignancy in both beauty and sentiment – are folded, yet unlike Between Folds, they do not dominate the canvas alone. Line and space have been brought into the frame for their potential to respond and transcend the page. With metal leaves and lines– polished, burned or treated to form gleaming and various colours – Francisca creates a new language from which to echo ideas.
Pointed lines create openings and shadows, breathing space for the depth and significance of printed detail. Furthering each hidden message or discarded ideal, these traces are heightened, lifted in presence from the page. With each continued moment or empty shape created, we are reminded of what is absent; spaces left from a transient world. These works invite us to stop and look; finding new and magnificent meaning in what others have left behind.
2013 - 2015
Marking one hundred years since the Russian Revolution, Utopian Symbols abstracts three letters of the Russian alphabet, using each to explore and symbolise a key artistic ideal of the period: Constructivism; graphic revolution; reconstruction. Detaching each from their typographical meaning, the characters are built with poignant and historical print, as well as – for the first time – the sharp and industrial edge of metal. Pairing metal and paper, these works harness the Russian spirit of reinvention and revolution.
In the spirit of constructivist architect Yakov Chernikov, type and function are separated, reworked into a concept that betrays narrative beyond the reading of words. Each letter reads multi-directionally, as the Russian futurists wanted their books to be read, becoming a reflection of its investigation, independent of the words they could be made to form. The constructivists saw their artists as engineers and, with this mathematically-guided triptych, Francisca applies their values to the evolution of her own work.
2013 - 2014
In Underlined Francisca presents the line, using both its form and meaning to inspire each work. The line has endless expressions: it divides, measures and joins; it slices apart and binds together, forming the most intrinsic and universal typographical symbols. Francisca abstracts eight of these recognisable linear forms and invites us to enjoy them for the simplicity of their composition. Enlarged and carefully constructed with discarded but specially selected ephemera, each is a given a space that leaves their obvious value forgotten.
Whereas Francisca previously sought and exposed the beauty of forgotten ephemera, building from the page, in Underlined she begins with the structure, allowing the construction of the line to govern her choice of material. These works present a shift in the powerful play between the component and its parts; material becomes subordinate to composition and is made to work towards the communication of its explored meaning.
2009 - 2015
Francisca’s Between Folds series uncovers the beauty and hidden detail of forgotten print. Representing carefully collected material – old and damaged books, discarded ephemera, hand-printed receipts, timeworn publications – these three-dimensional works explore pages that can no longer tell their story. Each work is constructed through a considered and mathematical process and it is through this reorganisation that Francisca conveys new meaning and expression.
The composition of each work depends on the material itself, its original purpose or ideas fundamental to the unfolding of its new narrative. Celebrating design, illustration and the unread text of many writers gone by, these works expand on their makers’ ideals. Up close, through windows of folds, unseen detail is revealed; from afar, shadows of colour create pattern and shape, with telling symbols inverted across the compositions.
2002 - 2003
Alongside Printed Matter, the Anti Series further reacts against the way in which we read, measure and live in time. Francisca pushes against the cemented roles type plays day-to-day, pulling at the seams that have bound print since Gutenberg’s invention of the printing process in the first half of the fifteenth century. It is said that could Gutenberg see today’s typefaces, the characters may well be unrecognisable to him, yet today’s lettering has remained the same for generations.
Line, space and how our eyes read are all subverted in the Anti Series: reimagined in the context of their contemporary and taken-for-granted recognition. Each work challenges, ingenious in both invention and its ability to mischievously disrupt our preconceived points of view.
2002 - 2008
The Printed Matter series began Francisca’s investigation of print, starting with the crux of communication – the characters we use to express any word or message. Breaking down the lines of typographical characters, meaning is celebrated for its form, abstracting the shapes of these figures curious yet perfunctory flicks, curves and flourishes.
Type’s personality is felt through its familiarity, so when these recognisable symbols are split, adjoined and turned on their head, the results are playful and stylised – questioning our own oblivious acceptance of the way things ought to be or read.