August 12, 2020

Dionisio González: The city healing artist | Culture


Dionisio González (Gijón, 1965) has become a kind of city healer, architect of desires or magician of habitability. Their proposals have improved suburbs, favelas and populations exposed to hurricanes and typhoons in countries as different as Brazil, Vietnam, South Korea, Italy, United States, Holland, Cuba … All without touching a brick, because González is not an architect, Although he would have liked, but a plastic artist determined to improve their environment. At the moment, with ideas, because although he has received offers to make some of his projects come true – in Busan (South Korea) he was ready but he was cut short due to political problems – he has not yet materialized.

The Contemporary Art Center (CAC) of Malaga brings together, until March 17, the most ambitious exhibition of how many has made the artist: Parresia and place, a review of his work between 2006 and 2017 embodied in almost 90 works, including manipulated photographs, videos, photo-sculptures, holographic prisms and models. "The title advances what the sample is. Parresia means saying truthful and I oppose it to exist: to take for granted something that is not ", explains the artist concerned with the effect that the fake news they have on society.

In Installation: build, live, exist (2015) part of Umberto Eco, when he said that overinformation is disinformation, to create a false -but totally credible and well-documented- project on two houses made by Breuer (1954) and Mendelsohn (1953). "The Internet is beginning to be a kind of dump where all kinds of hoaxes take root and that means that even when we know something is false, it is difficult for us to change our minds", the artist points out.

The large space of the CAC -which occupies the old wholesalers market work of the rationalist architect Luis Gutiérrez Soto of 1944- is ideal to house the enormous photographic compositions (five of his works exhibited are 9 x 2 meters each) on the favelas of Brazil of the series Cartographies for a remoçao. And also for his amazing photographs of folded cities, in which he continues to manipulate reality to improve it with his proposals.

'Dialectical Landscape 3', from the series on New York (2017).
'Dialectical Landscape 3', from the series on New York (2017).

Dionisio González, who resides in Seville and whose work is part of the collections of major museums such as the Pompidou in Paris, the Reina Sofía in Madrid and the Contemporary Photography in Chicago, studies in depth the places he works on before visiting them and supports urbanists, philosophers and architects to make their proposals that are always viable, even if they are not real.

"Heidegger said: 'Every unbuilt project is a ruin' and all ruin is the result of abandonment; therefore, non-construction implies destruction ", reflects the artist who in his series The clear hours develops the projects that great architects, like Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright or Aldo Rossi did for Venice but they were never built.

"The city as understood by Aristotle or Plato has died. Urban planners Lewis Mumford and Jane Jacobs or, even earlier, the sociologist and botanist Patrick Geddes, spoke of cacotopía -the bad place- versus eutopía -the good place- referring to the cities. The first has a lucrative purpose; while the second is more social and collaborative. Our territorial coordinates have been radically modified. In the cities we no longer speak of axial axes, center-periphery, but of a temporal axis. We do not say how many kilometers a place is from another, but how long it takes to get there, "says González; who since the turn of the century began to investigate the problems of habitability in especially precarious places by being exposed to natural phenomena, as in Dauphin Island, or because of the anthropic effect, in Halong Series.

"We are currently living an expopolis – a term coined by the geographer and urban planner Edward Soja and that supposes the deconstruction of the center-periphery order – an enormity of external elements that interfere in the very logic of the city, among them the globalization that makes us have to face global problems with local infrastructures ", says the artist who, for a decade, has collaborated with an architect and a geographer to develop their projects.

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