Vinyl helps artist criticize society
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The works of Carlos Aires reflects the real places as novel settings and fairy tales. His works also refer to famous love songs, as well as Baroque-period icons, leading the audience into a colorful and ironic world full of love, relationships.Carlos Aires’ solo show, which is on display at Istanbul’s CDA Projects in the Mısır Apartment, aims to show the dark melodrama of daily life. His photographs, taken with long exposure and not manipulated, reflect 19th century literary novel settings, while they touch the magic realism genre of fiction.
His photographs, “Enchanted Woods,” which are composed of peaceful and silent pastoral images and enchanting Romantic-period poets and artists, depict parks for cruising. “Cruising parks are places where people who have different sexual desires gather and have sex. This park is in Belgium,” Aires said about one photo. There is a certain mood to it, suggesting a gothic setting from a 19th century literary novel.
“With lots fog and without any wind, the photos looks like the woods are abandoned. “There are people however. Because they are moving, using lots of exposure means they do not appear,” said Aires
There are no people to be seen, and those who view these postcard-perfect photograph frames of pastoral landscapes have absolutely no idea that these idyllic landscapes are actually the settings of the wildest, kinkiest forms of gay sex.
This is a part of Carlos Aires’ artistic approach. He likes to use real places and real people, but make their reflection in photography a part of fairy tales. His works, Wolf I and Wolf II, which are from the series “Happily Ever After,” showcase a father and a son who have “Werewolf Syndrome.”
“When I was taking photographs of this father and son I did not put the camera in front of them. Instead, I put the camera below them and asked them to pose for me. Normally, these people take part in freak shows or in circuses and they do not like their situation. However here it is different and they look proud. They are proud to be themselves,” said Aires.
The Enchanted Woods and Wolf I and Wolf II are a part of a future project. “In the future I will make a book of these settings and people. I am trying to reflect fairy tales here. The book will also focus on that.”
Travelling and taking photographs
Aires travels a lot. He travelled to Mexico for the father and son with werewolf syndrome, and to Belgium to photograph Enchanted Woods.
Even though he travels all over the world, his roots have always created the main focus in his works. “I am from Ronda, a place in the south of Spain. In my village people are very religious. There are religious ceremonies throughout the year,” he said, while explaining his vinyl works.
In these works, Aires uses vinyl arrangements, prepared by cutting long play album disks. The works thus refer to famous love songs, as well as Baroque-period icons, leading the audience into a colorful and ironic world full of love, relationships, memories and pains.
The starting point for Aires is the dark melodramatic part of daily life. Wars, violence and sexual identity are the main focuses that audiences may see in his works. With the cut vinyl disks, Aires has crafted together sexuality, religion, porn, and pop culture. In its most crude form, reality comes together with the glimmer of the entertainment world, removing the differences between these layers and increasing the contrast.
The names of the songs, written on the vinyl are important, according to the artists. “For example, in my golden vinyl collection, the vinyl’s name is ‘Let’s Get Lost.’ This is song that we are familiar with, but here I use the religion concept. When we see these works it says ‘let’s get lost.’ But this also suggests a negative approach, because we can also get lost through religion.”
The criticism of religion comes from his own country. “In my village, many people are very religious and the Catalan-style churches are very well decorated with gold and lots of religious accessories. That’s why I use gold and these accessories in my works.”
This is not the first time the audience will see Aires’ criticism of society, wars and religion. In 2005 a controversy erupted in Austria over a public arts project depicting Queen Elizabeth II, George W. Bush and Jacques Chirac apparently having sex. Aires’ posters were part of a series of 150 different images being flashed to motorists via billboards across Vienna. The posters, as well as one of a woman lying naked on a bed, except for a pair of knickers bearing the EU flag, were condemned as pornographic.
Aires is still criticizing society today, and he is becoming acquainted with different material while he creates his works.
Carlos Aires’ “Love is in the Air (Remix)” is at CDA Projects in Istanbul until June 16.