HABITAT PLUS INTERVIEW
Actualizado: 13 mar 2021
Capturing urban landscapes, full of light, chaos, movement and dynamism have focused, in recent years, the attention of the artist and architect
By Andreína Figueroa / Photos courtesy of the artist
Roaming through the latest photographic proposals by Elizabeth Cemborain, is like reconnecting with the day to day but from a perspective that is rarely imaginable. The Venezuelan takes advantage of the daily commute and is able to express different situations taken from a scenario that we all share. Her work goes through several stages:
The first is her movement as a passer-by, be it walking, driving or using means of public transport. During this phase, a series of common events occur, such as street lights being reflected off a car. At this moment the second phase begins, where the architect, also with her camera, captures images of the moments she perceives, but everything is done while in motion: walking, in a moving car, etc. The third stage is to use the computer and seep through the recorder material in order to find the most visually interesting scenarios that best represent each moment. It’s very quotidian but unique at the same time.
This is how, using the virtues of technology, Elizabeth treats photographs and extracts simple & unique pieces. Within each she discovers stripes, lines, streams of light that the artist turns into artistic compositions. Her work, as she explains it, is a reflection of the chaos ensued from contemporary metropolitan life, the era of globalization and communication.
Finally the artist performs tests on photographic paper with different scales and selects what seems interesting to her. Many of heer works are mounted on white frames. When she works with video there’s an extensive use of repetition, asymmetry, transitions and reiterations. Elizabeth’s last individual exposition was held at the GBG Arts Gallery in Caracas under the title of "Luminiscencia" (Luminessence). Relying on the visual experiences that occurred during her stay in one of the most dynamic and luminous places in the United States: Times Square in New York, Cemborain managed to capture the movement of the billboards and various sets of luminous interplay from the magnanimous advertisements that populate the landmark.
From this inspiration she made multiple works and videos that document our current technological, globalized world and the modern means of communication that surround us. It’s a unique viewpoint to experience this part of the city, the landscape is translated into stripes of colors, movement and dynamism, typical elements from the megapolis.
This experience would later serve as a contrast to the reality of "Energetic Ruin" with a dark Caracas, product of the continuous rationing of electrical power. Thus, at the Tenth Evening of Santa Lucía, in Maracaibo, Elizabeth exhibited videos and pictures of the shocking display of lights in New York in an abandoned and dark house in the Barrio de Santa Lucía in order to generate contemplation in the spectator’s mind.
Other proposals from Cemborain include her perception of the La Chinita Fair in Maracaibo, showing the decoration of Avenida Bella Vista, full of lights and elements both American and typical of the area. In addition she used her work as a sort of personal fence where she displays words about what passing through that place meant.
Elizabeth has also portrayed the everyday of Caracas’s mountain, “El Ávila”, but as always, with an urban touch, interlaced with vehicles, light poles, buildings, fences, etc.
We can also find works that reflect the experience of being in a car, stuck in traffic on the “Cota Mil” (A principal avenue in Caracas) during a rainy day. “I find inspiration from looking at the reflection of the pavement and the car in front me, from that instance a series of compositions are generated. The light is given to me by the same object ”, says the artist.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Elizabeth Cemborain is an Architect graduated from the “La Universidad Central de Venezuela”. Although she spent some time practicing her profession, she later decided to study Plastic Arts at “Escuela de Artes Plásticas Cristóbal Rojas” in Caracas.
From that moment Elizabeth did not stop attending courses, pictorial exhibitions, being a member of the Caracas Drawing Circle, etc. One of her most influential people during her training was her contemporary art professor, Antonio Lazo.
“He totally changed my way of appreciating art, entering an era of globalization, the internet and technology; that made me fall in love with what digital photography was, and that's when I started this work that is based on photography and video, ” she says.
After a year of living in New York, Elizabeth began to appreciate art and things differently when she returned to Caracas. She put aside the photos of beautiful, rustic landscapes and perfect settings, she began to record her journeys and everything around her that generated movement.
Elizabeth uses a simple (non-professional) digital camera in order to capture the errors that occur when moving the camera too fast. Her objective is to find a deeper and closer way to perceive reality. "I walk through a city and I go as if the camera were an annex to my body," she explains.