Gonzaga Gómez-Cortázar is a Spanish artist working with photography and film. His practice is primarily concerned with the relationship between natural light and the fugacity of time. He focuses on landscapes, spaces and objects associated with daily life. Sunlight – whether direct or reflected – makes his subjects emerge from the shadows. He produces series of films and photographies which aim to subtly glimpse the essence of reality and highlight its intrinsic transient nature.
FIELDWORK Q&A – June 2018
How is fieldwork part of your practice?
Fieldwork is one of the key elements of my creative process. My work involves travel, exploration, observation and contemplation. I immerse myself in the landscape and seek for its subtle, ephemeral and, yet, defining features.
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
I survey the environment both moving through it and making long pauses in certain spots. I carefully scrutinize the surface of the landscape. I observe the ground and its shapes, the rocks, the plant life, and how natural light interacts with all these elements. I am interested in the sunrays illuminating the land and what lives on it and the shadows that are generated as a result. The natural light I work with may be direct sunlight, light filtered by haze, clouds or leaves, or reflected light. Consequently, the atmospheric conditions are an important element I need to take into account when I work. Often, I develop my fieldwork during dawn or during sunset, as I am particularly interested in how oblique sunrays tend to subtly illuminate details of the subject and isolate them from the surroundings. During my surveys I am very conscious of the Earth’s rotation, since it makes light constantly change and gives an intrinsic ephemerality to the landscape.
The sound of the environment is also an integral part of my work. The flow of water, the wind and the insects shape the soundscape and are an inseparable part of the land’s character.
All these careful observations form my fieldwork, which is a reflection of the identity of the landscape, its transient nature, and my relationship with it.
How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
The outcome of the fieldwork I undertake are short exploratory and contemplative films and series of photographs. These bodies of work may be developed in a single day or throughout a long span of time. For instance, the photographic series Espesuras was created during a whole year in the same landscape, which allowed me to work with different visual aspects of the environment in each season. My fieldwork has been exhibited internationally and presented in conferences.