26.06.2024 31.08.2024

If a tree falls in the forest

The exhibition “If a tree falls in the forest” explores the interdependence between landscape and perception through the eyes of five artists: Marc Àvila Català (Barcelona, 1992), Ana Císcar (Valencia, 1993), Núria Farré (Barcelona, 1992), Federico García Trujillo (Tenerife, 1988) and Nil Safont (Barcelona, 1995).

In 1883, The Chaurauquan magazine posed a question to its readers as a pastime. “If a tree falls in a forest where there is no being, would it make a sound?”. Scientific American magazine wanted to solve the riddle and a year later offered an answer. The falling tree produces a vibration in the air. If there is no ear there to perceive it, there will be no sound. In a similar way, we could ask whether the landscape exists in the absence of an observer.

Besides metaphysical debates, the very notion of landscape is intrinsically linked to the gaze of the observer, and we can only understand it from a particular perspective, from an “I” and an “us”. Although we must recognize the existence of an objective reality, spatially and temporally independent of the observer, a landscape, a territory, a place, cannot be reduced solely to its topography, its biodiversity or its climatic conditions. Our perception, inevitably filtered by cultural and personal influences, transforms the territory into an ethical and aesthetic idea impregnated with longings, experiences and memories. From a situated artistic practice, the works that make up the exhibition approach the question of landscape and its representation to delve into the complex symbiotic relationships between the individual and the environment, while inviting us to consider the importance of the observer in the creation, understanding and representation of territories.

Curated by Gisela Chillida