Between the material and the intangible. Inma Femenía

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Inma Femenía: “In my work I use technological tools to make the evident something that occurs in minuscule moments”

She is a native observer that invites us to make a pause in nature and contemplate. Inma Femenía (Pego, Alicante, 1985) is the artist that is projecting for the opening of CaixaForum Valencia Arc al Cel, an intangible sculpture that reproduces the optical phenomenon of the rainbow. Since 2008 she has presented individual national and international shows, and now is part of the collective exhibit “Everything is the sum of parts” together with Leila Cárdenas and Hisae Ikenaga in the Madrid art gallery Max Estrella.

In her work, light, color and matter are the main characters of her experimentation and play a key role in the creation of her language. A language that aims to explain how our perception is conditioned by the reality that concerns us, especially due to technological influence. “I investigate aspects that address the relation between the material and the intangible or the physical and the virtual, raising perceptive experiences with installations or sculptures that formulate different modes of reality apprehension”, says the artist. Maybe because we are having “non-physical communications”, like she expresses. “Like in our case, that we met physically two years ago in Estampa, but have matured our relationship through the virtual”, she affirms. “What I show are the sensitive relations, the visual relationships that we are living. Our world is not only physical. In my installations what I try to generate is that that ambience is even more relevant, that there is a parallel presence of both fields equally”, she affirms. And that investigation is maybe in what participate those who observe, to show to what point the materials with which she works allow to be shaped, manipulated, show their plasticity, the sensation of what melts them, their light, transparency, and relation with light. A light that translates to color.

-The technology is present in the color you use, appearing as the projection of the reflection of light from a computer screen. Reflections of screens that hold and mold us?  

Like that it is. My obsession comes from observing how reality is altered both because of conditions of natural light as well as from conditions we are adding:  the artificial light.

-In the case of your last individual exhibit, Infralleu, in Bombas Gens Centre d´Art, where the installation was embracing the audience, surrounding them to believe that our environment is totally conditioned and related from those reflections we generate.

Like for example in ‘Spectrum Screensaver’, I refer that in our daily space we generate those environments that are both contemporary and digital. And these are conditioned by that light reflection that comes directly from screens. In Infralleu the same happens: the work of Mehr Licht! that I presented in 2018 in Max Estrella is an example of the publicity screens of the cities.

-Maybe because there are cities that condition this lighting…. 

Yes, they are like communication codes that make you walk in a certain way: if we walk pass-by the publicity screens it is unavoidable that they condition your behavior.  These reflections are what you see, both inmaterial, directly extracted from the screens, like material, that you all see in my works. In In Tension and Transversal you see impressions that in reality are extracted directly from the screens. And how the colors are defined by the digital order of color.

-You offer the viewer a perceptive experience when confronting your installations and sculptures. You tell us your work starts by inviting us to reflect on our perception of reality influenced by technology. Do you consider that this influence makes us confuse the real world with the virtual and maybe could even fuse, creating confusion in both worlds?

I think we are worried by this confusion between both worlds because it is evident, we already have it implanted. The fusion is already there. In my works I show that that fusion of digital color to a material seems from the same origin.

-For CaixaForum Valencia, that inaugurates in 2022, you have created an sculpture “intangible and immaterial”, a rainbow that crosses the interior of the Calatrava structure that benefits from the natural light that bathes the building, so the spectator will see the work in a different form, depending of the climatological situation of the day. This work is different from what I had seen from you. Is it the beginning of a new line of investigation?

It is a continuity of a line of investigation and this project can pull together a lot of my other projects. This last project, Arc al Cel, I think it is not a new line, but yes another of my projects that is taking me to other investigations. At the same time I return to the essence from where my work starts: observation is very beautiful, when observing we see things that in reality are given to us by nature itself. And us with the virtual what we try to do is imitate the beauty we know from the beauty of contemplating nature. “Arc al Cel» is that, to show that halo of diffraction of light that decomposes. And when showing it in that space it refers to the rainbow that we all recognize when it comes from a meteorological phenomenon. I have used that effect of how it occurs when the natural phenomenon to show it in the interior of the Ágora, that is a contemporary cathedral of 60 m height in a building almost diaphanous.

-Your last projects seem to take you to an investigation of digital luminous phenomena of which we live daily. Now if we did a visit to your studio, what would we find?

Now we would find a work that I should have finished and have not (laughs). In my work, like “Arc al Cel”, I make use of technological tools to make evident something that happens sometimes in minuscule moments and because of the type of society we live in pass unnoticed: we go very fast, we do not pause to reflect. In my work I try to bring together the observation and the paused reflection of our environment. That there is a respect, that we make ourselves questions, questions that for sure will not be common.

There are now no boundaries

It is tremendously beautiful the form in which Inma Femeína experiments with the properties of the materials with which she works: brightness, transparency, flexibility and her relation with light, starting from the origins of her references: the Minimalism, the Land Art or the Supports-Surfaces movement, the post-minimalism and Eva Hesse.

The aluminum and the rigid plastic have lost their original form, where are the limits? Some wrinkled, other extended, hanging docile adapted to their new being. Rendered, lost, like us in front of our screens, in their omnipresence. Light illusions…A new chromatic spectral that comes from the virtual space that unfolds in front of our eyes. Virtual spaces that are not but a light reflect that have fused with our vital spaces. There are now no boundaries.

Photography: Óscar Rivilla

Music: Electrophorus

Translation: Covadonga López-Fanjul

Art Direction: Óscar Rivilla and Carolina Verd


Principal pictured picture 2 and 3: t-shirt by Levis, pull over and skirt by Mango, all courtesy from Finally Press.

Picture 4: dress by Blas Moreno, courtesy from Koa Press. Top and dress by Espirit, cortesy from Finally Press.

Picture 5: Pull over by Levis, dress and pants by Mango, sandals by Birkenstock, all courtesy from Finally Press.