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Grimanesa Amoros
Between Heaven and Earth
2004
Video Installation





Between Heaven and Earth

Between Heaven and Earth was inspired by my experience of exploring the Fjords, a large, mountainous region in Central Western Norway. I was mesmerized by the beauty of this large chain of mountains, which constantly change in appearance based upon the time of day. Imagine mountains covered in thick dense fog in the morning transforming into bright rock formations encased in blue sky as the fog slowly dissipates. Later they evolve into monumental shapes of a mysterious "shadow theater" at sunset. Those transformations produce an enchanting space that is visually stimulating and incredibly seductive.

Attracted by these natural mysteries, I learned about a community of inhabitants that live within the crevices of those mountain peaks. Since these people live very high in the mountains it was impossible for me to communicate directly with them. However, the natives who lived at the base were able to relate wonderful stories of extraordinary living conditions, which further triggered my imagination concerning the existence that they have with their natural surroundings.  In the presence of that landscape, a desire was born to share their experiences. I wanted to become one of them: to crawl into those narrow spaces of habitation and enter into a symbiotic relationship with the landscape. I wanted to belong in those mountains. This experience reminded me of times in my native country, Peru. I became fascinated with the way those people live, how they respond to an environment that often threatens with avalanches and how younger generations cope with, or revolt against, an old fashioned way of living. If all the young people leave, the place will eventually become "empty."

My installation was created in response to both the visual stimuli experienced and the stories I gathered from people that live in towns at the bottom of the Fjords. In Between Heaven and Earth, viewers will enter an environment that physically and psychologically mimics the places described above. After entering a monumental sculpture setting (made of abaca and coated with encaustic medium), they will find themselves in a space that simulates a landscape. The configuration of the area will force people to experience the surroundings from multiple viewpoints, as if they would be on and above ground. That spatial "virtuality" will be augmented by a video projection with the soundtrack recorded by Grammy award winner, Peruvian singer Susana Baca. She recorded this song specifically for this installation. I will also collaborate with a lighting designer to create an effect that parallels the subtle changes from daylight to darkness.

In this installation, I explore the relationship between a landscape--the feelings it evokes--and its impact on the lives of inhabitants living in that setting. In my work, I would like to convey the visual and emotional state that I experienced within the sublime Fjords. I often relive those images formed by light and shadow in these glorious mountains. Because the sensations I experienced in Norway were so personal, I will model parts of the terrain on the outline of my own body. By using my shape as a model for the terrain I would like to convey the humanity of the mountains themselves. I will comment on the conditions of living there as experienced by the people from the region. By adding this highly personal (intrinsic to my body) component of my installation; I would like to mention that although my work is based on a specific geographic location and its inhabitants, the concept of attraction, loss and the feelings generated by a particular environment is very universal.

Grimanesa Amoros, June 2004


Biography

Grimanesa Amoros is an interdisciplinary artist with diverse interests in the fields of social history, scientific research and critical theory, which have greatly influenced her work. She often makes use of sculpture, video, lighting and sound to create work that illuminate our notions of personal identity and community. Amoros utilizes her art as an agent for empowerment to involve viewers from all different backgrounds and communities. She is an American, born in Lima, Peru and currently living and working in New York City. Amoros studied at The Art Students League (1984­1988) and Private Ateliers in Lima, Peru (1981­1983).

Amoros is the recipient of several grants, which include the National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship (Washington, DC), The Travel Grant Fund for Artists, NEA Arts International, (New York, NY), The Bronx Museum for the Arts: Aim Program (Bronx, NY) and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation "Participant Biennial Competition" (New York NY). Awards also include artist residency fellowships by Art Omi (Columbia County, NY), Santa Fe Art Institute (Santa Fe, NM), The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (Amherst, VA), Artspace (Raleigh, NC) and Centrum Arts (Port Townsend, WA). Additionally, her works have been selected for the Art in Embassies Program of the U.S. Department of State in Ankara, Turkey (2001) and Lima, Peru (2003).

Amoros has exhibited in the United States, Europe and Latin America. Most recent solo exhibitions include: Artspace (Raleigh, NC), BUZZER 30 (New York, NY), ARTCO Gallery, Drawings (Lima, Peru), R&F Gallery Encaustic Panels (New York, NY) and Egizio’s Project, Timeless Terracotta (New York, NY). Most recent group exhibitions include: The Museum of the Americas (Washington, DC), The Lab Gallery (New York, NY), Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (Athens, GA), SITE Santa Fe, Monothon 16 (Santa Fe, NM), Free Manifesta Biennial (Frankfurt, Germany), Liberarti Arts Festival (Liverpool, UK), and Progetto Anglioletta Firpo (Alessandria, Italy).

She has given many artist lectures, most recently ArtSpace (Raleigh, NC) Sweet Briar College (Sweet Briar, VA), School of Arts "Corriente Alterna" (Lima, Peru), Colgate University (Hamilton, NY), and Spruill Center for the Arts (Atlanta GA). Amoros often teaches papermaking workshops to children and adults. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Santo Domingo and Cuenca, Ecuador’s museums of modern art.




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