A maze of thin blue wires swims through an outline of South America that lies on the floor of Tyler Haynes Commons. Artist Martin Bonadeo is carefully placing each wire, or “river,” in its geographically correct spot.
This light installation, created by Argentinian artist Bonadeo, will be unveiled Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the campus and general community, and the artwork will be on display until Feb. 11.
The light installation will be in the shapes of rivers in Latin America, where Bonadeo grew up. Bonadeo has a special interest in water and its importance, and he wants to emphasize this with his piece, he said.
“I have always been amazed by Westhampton Lake and its movement, the way it is always changing, always altering the landscape of the university,” Bonadeo said.
Bonadeo is an internationally recognized artist who has worked at University of Richmond in the past, and he is a scholar at one of Richmond’s partner universities abroad, Universidad Catolica Argentina in Buenos Aires. Bonadeo creates installations that incorporate light, sound, scent and technology, and he has shown his work in Asia, Europe, North America and Argentina.
Bonadeo’s interest in the relationship between art and technology stems from his belief that with new technology and media sources, everyone is able to become an artist, he said in an interview in 2014.
“I consider every art form – painting, drawing, installations – a form of technology,” Bonadeo said. “By using new forms of media in my installations, it’s easier for me to come up with something no one else has done.”
Students will be able to see Bonadeo assembling and installing his piece up until it is unveiled, said Elizabteh Schlatter, deputy director and curator of exhibits. The installation will be made up of blue electroluminescent wires in inverted shapes on the windows of the Commons, which will then reflect right-side-up onto Westhampton Lake.
The images of rivers represented by the wires will flash on the lake as the sounds of a thunder storm plays. Bonadeo wanted to create a site-specific piece on the lake, one of the university’s landmarks, to represent the importance of the body of water as the heart of the university, he said.
In 2014, Bonadeo came to Richmond as a visiting artist hosted by the department of Latin American, Latino, & Iberian Studies. During this time, he lived in a house that overlooked Westhampton Lake, which is where he got his inspiration for this project, he said.
While Bonadeo was at the university in 2014, he did an art and sound installation in Boatwright Memorial Library’s tower and taught two courses on Argentinian art, Schlatter said. The installation, titled “Wind Chimes,” was inspired by local wind patterns, which he composed into sound representations of the data just before each performance.
Bonadeo also currently has a piece titled “Two Suns (Beach)” in the Anti-Grand: Contemporary Perspectives on Landscape exhibition being featured in the Harnett Museum of Art on campus. Both this piece and “Reflections” are representations of the artist’s exploration of the relationship between technology and art.
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