Illuminating Landscape

These images will give an impression of digital manipulations, when they are actually real light installation that blow the mind


by Javier Riera

My work is based on projections of geometric shapes of light directly upon vegetation and the landscape. I travel to natural spaces (chosen beforehand) with the necessary materials and equipment to carry out these luminary interventions which, by their very nature, are ephemeral. I use photography as a means to record and transmit what took place.

The relationship between geometry and landscape has been broadly treated in architecture and sculpture, since the beginnings of the 20th century. In both cases, the material that comprises the geometry has a physical consistency that is dictated by the materiality of these media. It is an important aspect of my work that the material which creates and gives shape to that geometry is as intangible an element as light. 

Everything that happens in the landscape can be described and explained with mathematics, physics, and geometry, and the same goes for the aspects of non-visible but quantifiable energy. I think that something like an energetic design of material exists, which can be glimpsed through geometry. I work directly on nature. Manipulating an image on the computer is something that doesn't enter my interests.

 I often work at dawn or at what has been called the golden hour, that is to say, that period of time that takes place between the moment when the sun disappears and that moment when night falls completely. The landscape undergoes a very particular dynamic during those periods: the light changes very quickly, there are usually notable variations in temperature and the wind, some animals disappear and others begin their daily activity, becoming more visible in both cases. The gaze begins to contemplate the great space-time distances as the stars begin to become visible. It is also the moment when it is possible for two lights to co-exist, the light I project and the natural light that still permeates the ambience.

Increasingly in recent years, I make these projects in real time in cities or places where they can be viewed by the public, which entails the temporary installation of projectors in public spaces, always shining on vegetation.

My work doesn't look for emotional expression, but neither am I a conceptual artist. I understand one of the functions of art to be the description of a natural phenomenology that concerns us directly, something that can be searched for equally in nature or in ourselves.