Bernard Voïta uses his studio to construct images that only exist at the moment in which they are recorded; often, they are constructs that seem to be sculptures extending on a linear plane, opposing the regular arrangement of a planimetric scheme made up of equal-sized dots, which, like an invisible transparency, places a pattern in front of the spatial illusion. In a recent series, Paysages ahah, this principle, used in earlier works, is condensed into a single work that overlaps a photograph of a landscape with a photograph of architecture, or vice versa. Opposites are woven together, creating a picture that is turned into a monochromatic silkscreen that seems like a hybrid manifestation. Standing in front of the original, the viewer has to recognize the distance, within the framework, between the one level and the other – the space in-between – which cannot be documented in any sort of image. This allows us to experience how independent from each other the visual levels are, while, at the same time, they form a diffuse abstract through an increasingly distanced perspective.
A series of monumental photographs suggests the image of a camera. In his studio, Bernard Voïta has assembled found objects so that we can only see this image of a camera from a certain angle – the prototype of a camera from a time prior to the age of digital minicomputers. One has to imagine that, seen from a different standpoint, the arrangement of these elements will reveal the illusion, so that one will only recognize the heater, the pot and the holder out of which the whole is constructed. Voïta’s studio is his empty space in which an image is invented, playfully improvised and furnished with the ease of its temporality, because it is built and arranged with the precision that stems from days of observation and thought. A close-up of the elements, which could make them suggest something other than what they are.
The TRAX video is made up of a series of stills, with one image slowly transitioning into the next. What is seen appears in a rather different light: we recognize a slightly different structure and have difficulty in identifying what exactly is reproduced in the picture, what it is that gives rise to these questions. It seems as if we are in an abstract, unexplored landscape, an area that no one has visited before – not in far-away Canada, as in Condensation: A Cove Story, but only in the imagination, or on the surface of a texture. The abstract quality of Voïta’s empty studio is suddenly reflected in these pictures of an abstract world, which is somewhere out there. We have to see it; it would be mundane to give away too much about the surreal images of a landscape here.
Originally published in the exhibition catalogue 1+1+1=3. Bernard Vöita, Hermann Pitz, Michael Snow. Culturgest, Lisbon, 2013.