The Expanded Field
Verónica Aguirre L. For lofscapes
(1) Valle del Achibueno (Achibueno Valley) 2009 © Pablo Valenzuela V. for LOFscapes
(2) Textura en Suelo Altiplánico (Texture in the High Plateau) 2005 © Pablo Valenzuela V. for LOFscapes
(3) Cerro Guido (Guido Hill) 2011 © Pablo Valenzuela V. for LOFscapes
(4) Campo de Hielo Norte (Northern Ice Fields) 2015 © Pablo Valenzuela V. for LOFscapes
(5) Estepa Patagónica (The Steppes of Patagonia) 2015 © Pablo Valenzuela V. for LOFscapes
(6) Parque Nacional Queulat (Queulat National Park) 2012 © Pablo Valenzuela V. for LOFscapes
(7) Puerto Natales (2015) © Pablo Valenzuela V. for LOFscapes
(8) Última Esperanza (2015) © Pablo Valenzuela V. for LOFscapes
(9) Arquitectura Patagónica I (Patagonia Architecture I) 2015 © Pablo Valenzuela V. for LOFscapes

(10) Arquitectura Patagónica II (Patagonia Architecture II) 2015 © Pablo Valenzuela V. for LOFscapes

Photographer Pablo Valenzuela presents his work La Geometría del Instante (The Geometry of the Instant), a photographic vision that alludes to the sublime and abstract construction of the Chilean landscape.

I confess that I have always felt a great attraction to landscape photography, be it from old postcards or the monumental landscapes of contemporary photographers Andreas Gursky and Olaf Otto Becher, partly because they give me a longing to travel and see an infinity of places that probably, for now, I will not be able to visit. Landscape photography as an aesthetic genre contains, for me, an unequaled wealth. It is a field as varied as the landscape itself; it presents the form that man has given the world.

During the course of history, photographers have lent us their eyes to share their views on the landscape. While this observation can be subjective since it is based on the choice of shots or photographic angles, types of lenses, cameras and time of day, among others, once the photograph is taken, it shows us a portion of reality incomparable to any other artistic medium; independently of whether we observe abstract landscapes or those images that move away from the figurative to represent a concept. In this sense, the images that preserve my interest are those that are positioned in the thin line between the obvious and the ambiguous: those images that move away from a literal sense, show a series of layers of information, and deliver an aesthetic message.

This principle is the main engine of the work of Chilean photographer Pablo Valenzuela Vaillant (1964), who feels a great passion for our national landscape. His work La Geometría del Instante (The Geometry of the Instant) is framed in the aesthetics of the sublime, a concept that appears regularly in texts by critics and photographers, although its meaning has changed considerably since it was first coined in the eighteenth century by the writer Edmund Burke (1729–1797) who basically defines this landscape as one so beautiful that it causes a sense of terror.

Today, however, the sublime is reflected when we see photographs such as Achibueno Valley (fig. 1), Guido Hill (fig. 3) or the Northern Ice Fields (fig. 4).  Rather than a sense of terror, these photographs create a sense of astonishment, since they are made from reckless points of view (i.e. dizzying heights), which highlight the substantial effects of the climate and enhance the feeling of majesty in a landscape that suggests an ideological encounter between the divine and the natural.

Now, although the conceptual foundations of Pablo Valenzuela’s work do not differ greatly from the romantic explorers of the nineteenth century, his minimalist look speaks of a contemporary search for the concept. Through scarce, but precise lines, rhythms, colors and textures, he creates the idea of a landscape geometrized and altered by man, thus displacing the notion that the extreme Chilean landscape is pristine or natural.

Geometría del Instante (Instant Geometry) is the search for the abstract and conscious form behind the Chilean landscape, which, as the photographer travels and observes it in time at a decisive moment, he captures and conquers to reveal its complex and varied construction.