In l’heure bleue, nocturnal animals have already gone to sleep and diurnal ones have not yet awoken. The entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre talked about this magical hour as a privileged moment to observe quiet nature, before the parade of armored beetles and other hardened insects on which he fantasized as if they were exotic ethnic groups.
During the twilight hour the forms blur, nothing remains, shadows become longer. The thought flows and looks inside. It is a liminal state: between the visible and the invisible, life and death, consciousness and unconsciousness, day and night.
Everything is in apparent calm when Irene Cruz goes out with her camera to capture that strange light that tinges the forests.
. . . In your photographs, the bodies bathe in the sunset light. I believe that for you the blue hour has to do with an intuition of a cyclical time or eternal return, an ancestral insight that has been lost except when we manage to empty ourselves, so we give a space to “affections”. As Augustine of Hippo said, I measure time by the affection that things produce in me.
I am in love with the northern blue light, a dim and filtered light that embraces everything, and fills the air with mystery. Only whether conditions are right I take photos.
I like the moment between day and night, the bridge that connects limits that do not exist. A suitable moment for reflection. The landscape is emotion and does not exist if it is not through the perception of who contemplates it. It is first an act of seeing and feeling, and later can be interpreted by art.
In my photographic series, the body expresses the atmosphere, and the landscape reflects subjective feelings. I talk about something unrevealed. It is the place of mystery wrapped in the beginning of the night. I appeal to those who see it, to their empathy.
. . Your series titles correspond to untranslatable German expressions that refer to moods (Stimmung, Waldeinsamkeit…) related to an emotional state in communion with nature. So, you explore with visual language what our writing language fails to describe while updating notions of romantic philosophy: sublimity, melancholy … Tell us about these notions.
The forest is one of the most powerful artistic figures of all times: a place imbued with mysticism and legends, a symbol of Romanticism and a suggestive metaphor to develop philosophical systems. Submerging ourselves in the tranquility of the forest is a primitive act that makes us gain awareness of our own body and its unity with the natural environment.
Waldeinsamkeit suggests a contemplative atmosphere in the midst of a natural environment. It is one of those points of contact between the immaterial world and the earthly world. It refers to a very specific feeling: the feeling of being one with the forest, as an emotion and as a physical place.
Stimmung is another of my favorite words in the German language. It means simultaneously a state of mind, humor, spirit, climate, moral … something that surrounds you, something that both you project to the environment and that determines your perception of the landscape. A flow.
. . Another title that allows you to dissect a complex term is “Heimat”, a richly layered concept, from the geographical or cultural to the psychic realm (homeland, lost paradise…) You place it in an abandoned airport, linking the sense of belonging to the uprooting?
Heimat is where we feel at home, home as an emotional space, as a refuge to find the best in ourselves. For me, Heimat refers to a space that is more internal than physical, that is, in the core of memory and in the depths of ourselves. They are all those sensations that connect you with your essence.
The future is totally unpredictable for much of my generation. The conception of time has been changed. The future is uncertain and the life plans give way to the motto “nothing in the long run”. We do not know what can happen tomorrow or where we will be in a year. Uncertainty has ceased to be a fear to enter naturally in our lives. Our attitude increasingly accepts ambiguity; change or insecurity is a test of character. The modern culture is characterized by thinking that not moving is synonymous with failure, and stability seems almost death into life.
I have chosen the abandoned airport of Tempelhof as it reflects many of the changes that we have been living for years without being aware. I represent myself with someone who is part of my deepest Heimat, of my refuge and my place of belonging, which is less and less a territory, and more closest friends, who in some way are part of us: our family, the people who will always be there. It is about territorial rootlessness, but emotional roots.
. . The ruin, an aesthetic category for Romantic painters, is no longer an ancient relic and takes spectral Ferris wheels, ramshackle pavilions… vacant lots… emptiness conducive to an also empty mind. … In Urlaub you also played with words and images to talk about the retreat and inner ruins.
It is necessary to know how to empty of ourselves to be filled again. Once more, the concept that underlies all my work, the return to nature.
The old amusement park Spreepark (Berlin), now in ruins, represents this same idea in review of the German romanticism of 18th century brought to the XX-XXI century, the new remains of the most recent past, private lands that belong to a few, but they are only seen as scrap metal and object of speculation…
These places seem tremendously inspiring to me when I walk away from the city and rediscover myself. I keep fulfilling my desires in ruins as our romantic ancestors did.
. . In the recently opened exhibition “Drowning in blue” you introduce the theme of plastic pollution but without catastrophism. Following with your topics (time, nature, body), a cyclical vision of time leads you to imagine a kind of uterine involution, plastics recalls a placenta, the sea would be amniotic fluid, nature being capable of regeneration… The human species succumbs, drowns… but it seems to be reborn…
I find it difficult and scary to approach this being alarmist. For me, there is still some hope in terms of raising awareness in society regarding polluting waste.
Usually, the human being only changes and really evolves when a great crisis lurks, and without a doubt, it is ceasing to be invisible and silent to become our own suffocation and that of the beings we have dominated and subjugated to our absurd welfare. We must do something for our planet, I still like to think that it is not too late. We must learn to do more to prevent than to cure.
Interviewed by Anna Adell
Irene Cruz, Drowning in blue
Curator: Andrea Perissinotto
can be visited in Theredoom gallery, Madrid
until 13th of March