The art of optical trickery in İzmir
Nazlan Ertan - İZMİRSurfaces and colors mutate under the stimulation of different-colored lights as different scenes reveal themselves in the new exhibition, “RGB: A Fantastic Journey,” at the French Institute of İzmir.
At first glance, the exposition seems nothing more than two walls of multi-colored wallpapers. But change the lights and the images on the walls change, revealing a European scene, then an oriental landscape and then ships at sea. This change of form and mutation of surface under light is the “graphic language” of the Milan based art/design duo Carnovsky – an award-winning couple made up of Francesco Rugi and Silvia Quintanilla, partners in art and life.
“It is about exploring the surface’s deepness,” Rugi told the Hürriyet Daily News before their first-ever expo in Turkey. Quintanilla adds that their work corresponds to the idea of “different levels of meaning.”
“The first thing you see is not the ultimate image – an image can easily become another image,” she said while keeping an eye on the workers who are busy putting giant wallpaper on the two walls strip by strip.
“We aim to create a changing surface between the printed image and light, to create a dream, to make the viewer discover things that were not there,” said Rugi. “That is why it is called a magical journey. For us, RGB is a really wide project that goes beyond wallpaper and we are exploring it both in terms of applications and in terms of new subjects. These images will take you on a trip from European landscapes to more exotic settings, with ships at sea thrown in. It is just the opposite of a modern journey where everything is very uniform.”
Quintanilla said they had always been fascinated with antique scientific illustrations, with all the ancient images that simultaneously have a realistic and fantastic look. “We work with ancient images and make it into a modern collage,” she said. “All the images are taken from their original sources and are reproductions of original engravings. The point for us was not to redesign these images but to use exactly these, bringing them to a new life with a different purpose from what they originally were made for.”
“We are very proud to be part of that tradition where these images have passed through centuries,” added Rugi.
The Carnovsky duo was awarded with the “Wallpaper Design Award” in the category “Best wallpaper.” The couple, who met while studying in Milan, are quick to attribute their ability to create together to their success. Determined innovators, they try their RGB project on fabrics as well – and this is how they came to know Caroline David, the director of the French Institute, who has been working on Futurotextiles, a living exhibition that explores the future potential of tissues, when they used their layered-graphics on fabrics, in Lille, France. When she became the director of the French Institute of İzmir, David invited them to hold their first “Magical Journey” exhibition in Turkey.
The exhibition, which opened on Feb. 23, will run until May 20.