On the Border

On the border – August 18, 2017 / September 11, 2017 / 290 km, 25 days, 198 border stones, 212 artworks

ProjectArtworks  – BookRouteCredits

In the summer of 2017, Noris walked the 290 km of the Spanish-French border in the province of Girona, through which the principal routes of the republican exile ran. During the walk, the artist painted a work corresponding to each of the 198 milestones that mark the border. To walk and paint, joining together points along the border, as though balancing on that invisible line that divides in two that which is one, making visible what is invisible and opening up in this way a new stage for memory.

Over these past four years I have been working with the landscape as a stage and as a border, but always from the comfort and distance of the studio. The need for direct experience, to put myself out there and confront the real without any filters, is what led me to undertake “On the Border”.
The project involves walking the entire Spanish-French border in the county of Girona and making a small oil painting at each of the 198 milestones that mark the limit between the two countries. It will not be a visual documentation of the milestones (which have already been photographically catalogued), but rather an emotional recording of the environment, according to whatever the geographical and environmental conditions may be. For this reason, the extreme connection with the environment and the present moment that open-air painting permits is fundamental to allowing the project to acquire a strong experiential value. In this sense, the pieces are not the objective of the journey: the experience itself is the goal, the experience of making and being the border, the introspection of a long walk in nature, the journey and its difficulties. To paint pieces as if they were markers and to walk joining together points along the the border, as though balancing on that invisible line that divides in two what is one, is to make visible the invisible and thus open up a new setting for memory.

+ INFO ABOUT SPANISH-FRENCH BORDER STONES

Muga (“border stone”) is a word of Basque origin used in the Catalan Pyrenees instead of mojón (or hito, in Spanish) and fita (in Catalan). Here is an article written by Josep Estruch for “On the Border” on the etymology of the word.


ProjectArtworks  – BookRouteCredits

It wasn’t the sun

It wasn’t the sun

By Federic Montornés

Sometimes, it is sufficient to add something to an image so that what we perceive as a landscape is converted into a scenario and not in the portrayal of the illusion of the observer. Therefore, to speak about a scale in relation to a landscape would be like talking about the distance that separates the viewer from the image. And to speak about the distance between the viewer and what they see would be to speak about intrusion in a never-ending story.

Because there is no end to painting. And yet, it invites you to take a closer look.

Marco Noris says that for him, painting – particularly oil painting – is the language that best enables him to engage in emotions without overlooking intellect. He also says that it is the language that, thanks to its traditional visual codes, lets him pry open the conscience of the viewer, as a pivot between omen and mourning. A temporary distortion, he goes on to say, with post-apocalyptic scenes, ruins from the past, hints of future disasters and memories of tragedies that merge together and intertwine forming a kind of genealogy of the catastrophe. A study of the future of the human race which, far from nostalgic grieving celebrations, it speaks about the personal and collective journey of acceptance and atonement, in the centre of which is always the individual who is not in charge of their destiny: the viewer. Alone. Facing their mortality.

Or as Noris calls it: the triumph of defeat.

Focusing on the desire to insinuate rather than on the desire to describe what, in the eyes of the observer, opens up as an exercise of introspection based on arguments as broad, as meaningful and as reflexive as memory, oblivion, absence and expectation, Noris’ work is a type of balsam which, invoking a more than necessary suspension of time, allows anything to happen because in this work everything is eternal, extended, expected and abandoned. It is a decision which, placing the observer on the margin of the bustle and noise, permits a connection to be made with the part of the individual that wonders what is behind the narrow reality that we can see as he knows that this is what is blinding us from what we really need to explore.

Beyond the veil covering our eyes, we can find out why we are all here.

The exhibition “No era el sol” [It wasn’t the sun] shows numerous pieces of Noris’ work developed around the disappearance in the mass graves, the cruelty of borders, the civil war, and exile and uprooting; it also presents environmental matters – used as metaphors for both our material and moral ruins – and interpretations at a more introspective level, all of which are employed as a first and unavoidable step towards accepting denial and shadow to deal with the escalation in technology, excessive consumption and entertainment that obstruct our vision. It is a type of conceptual manhole conceived not so much as to end with the human species but to show that following what appeared to be the sun did not come a night of rest but the desire to find a light beyond impatience. In other words, beyond ourselves. This is why, rather than a journey to the exterior and through territories of which everything is constructed, Noris proposes a journey into the interior of each individual along the path of his brushstrokes in oil, the surface of canvases, layers and layers of discarded cardboard, the dimensions of a painting and the steps that we should follow to tear away from this wretched world, to recover the essence of the human being, become aware of our identity, revive our values and see it all from the distance that allows us to understand painting, his painting, also as a matter of scale.

Frederic Montornés
February 2017

The triumph of defeat

Aground

Aground

2016, oil on canvas, 60x92 cm

Zoom out

Zoom out

2016, oil on canvas 30x30 cm

Zoom in

Zoom in

2016, oil on canvas 30x30 cm

Escape XIII

Escape XIII

2016, oil on canvas, 33x24 cm

Prosthesis

Prosthesis

2017, oil on canvas, 50x40 cm

Landscape (with smoke)

Landscape (with smoke)

2016, oil on canvas, 100x100 cm

Crack

Crack

2017, oil on canvas, 150x120 cm

Ukrainian head

Ukrainian head

2014 - 60x81 cm - Oil on canvas

Airplane crash (Superga, 1949)

Airplane crash (Superga, 1949)

2013 - 114x146 cm - Oil on canvas

Red car

Red car

2013 - 60x80 cm - Oil on canvas

Pig

Pig

2015 - 19x24 cm - Oil on canvas

Glories (Glòries)

Glories (Glòries)

2016, oil on canvas - 41x33cm

Fallen and believers

Fallen and believers

2015, oil on canvas, 38x61cm

Ruins (The day after)

Ruins (The day after)

2016, Oil on board - 29,5 x 21,5 cm

The Hole

The Hole

The hole - 2014, oil on canvas, 15x20 cm

Escapes V-VI-VII

Escapes V-VI-VII

2015 - Oil on canvas, 18,5x24 cm x 3 (triptych)

Ester Quintana /

Ester Quintana /

2014 - 100x100 cm - Oil on canvas - www.ojocontuojo.org

Portrait of a victim of machismo

Portrait of a victim of machismo

2015 - 41x33 cm - Oil on canvas

Le déjeuner sur l’herbe I

Le déjeuner sur l’herbe I

2015 - 16x22 cm - Oil on canvas

Car Crash

Car Crash

2015, oil on canvas, 97x130 cm

Marine with flesh

Marine with flesh

2016 oil on canvas, 24x33 cm

Untitled and imageless

Untitled and imageless

2016, oil on canvas, 24x33 cm

Ali

Ali

2016, oil on canvas, 50x40 cm

The triumph of defeat

The triumph of defeat

2016/2017, oil on canvas, 100x100 cm

She

She

2017, oil on canvas, 100x130 cm

Alfacar, Granada

Alfacar, Granada

2017, oil on canvas, 100x130 cm

Allá donde las playas rotas nos muestran el cielo


Allá donde las playas rotas nos muestran el cielo


2017, oil on canvas, 145x180 cm

El refugi abandonat de Lúa

El refugi abandonat de Lúa

2016, oil on canvas, 81x130 cm

Like a movie

Like a movie

2016, oil on canvas, 80x100 cm

Marine

Marine

2016, oil on canvas, 89x146 cm

Quality check

Quality check

2017, oil on canvas, 117x90 cm

Maremortum I

Maremortum I

2016, oil on canvas, 100x100 cm


The denial of darkness and mortality is characteristic of our era. Surrounded by cracks and ruins, incapable of facing their fears, the somnolent ultraliberal humanity, through technological escalation, seeks refuge in consumerism and entertainment. For this reason, I decided to explore the distressing and tragic territories of denial and shadow through painting. Mass graves, beaten up violators, accidents, waste and dumps, police victims, destroyed effigies, refugees and mutants… my work is a compendium of demise, a collection of material and moral ruins. 
Therefore, in this context, (Un)refuges, my project on exile and uprooting, was conceived from the debris of a former concentration camp and speaks about memory and oblivion and the annihilation of human beings, their identity and their values.

Since then and up to very recently, I was convinced that the ruin was the main concept around which I had been building my imaginary. Not so long ago, I realised that in reality the ruin was not the ultimate goal in my research, but a means to light up the dark journey of defeat. 
Defeat here has two slants. The first is the tragic aspect: the historic defeat, and with it the political, moral and environmental defeats. In the private sphere, we can also include personal defeat, intrinsic to human existence. The individual’s defeat and their concatenation of surrenders takes us to the sublime slant of this journey, where the defeated is celebrated, a condition that requires the force of courage. Finally, at the peak of this itinerary is the defeat of the ego, the last stage of this journey and possibly the start of what will come next.

Apart from some forays into the world of photography, collage, installation and video, my experience is mainly in the field of painting. I find pictorial language an ideal tool for managing emotions without overlooking intellect. The traditional, almost archetypical, visual codes of oil painting allow me to pry open the conscience of the viewer, as a pivot between omen and mourning. In this temporary distortion, post-apocalyptic scenes, ruins from the past, hints of future disasters and memories of tragedies merge together and intertwine forming a cyclical genealogy of the catastrophe, in the centre of which is the viewer, alone facing their mortality.

Marco Noris, January 2017


See also Frederic Montornes‘ text It wasn’t the sun on the homonymous exhibition.