Chronicle of a journey through the enigma of shapes, by Rodrigo Alonso
Irina Rosenfeldt's paintings make use of the expressive freedom that contemporary art enables. Because of this, they escape definition. They are abstract at first glance, but they do not avoid formal reminiscences, much less, figurative connotations. At times they demand a sensory or emotional response but, immediately after, their infinite dynamic floating strokes are able to transport us to a mental landscape, a whirlwind of evocative figures, or a galaxy in permanent mutation.
With this intent Rosenfeldt takes certain possibilities of the plastic resources to extremes. She neglects the Renaissance perspective that would draw the viewer to the depths of the vanishing point and by this she makes the forms project from the canvas to the viewer intensifying in his or her body and their retina. She modulates the colour variations from warm to cold tones constructing a chromatic flow that accompanies the observer along his route through the extensive painted surfaces.
The artist chooses a monumental scale that incorporates the viewer. At the far end of the salon, the massive white structure leads to the interior of a pictorial device from which there seems to be no escape. In her visual programme, painting becomes a true experience and an invitation to perceive the strength of a medium that maintains its vitality despite the continuous announcements of its exhaustion.
The installation proposed for the Museo Emilio Caraffa has its most notable antecedent in the panoramas that had caused ecstatic rapture in the eighteenth century London public. These extensive circular pictorial surfaces were sometimes up to 15 metres high and 100 metres long. With painting being the most exact medium to represent reality at the time, the panoramas became immersive experiences that caused an effect close to what we now call "virtual reality." The absence of external reference made people feel they were literally inside the work, to the point of losing notion of their immediate surroundings and abandoning themselves fully to the plastic adventure. These productions had an extraordinary success until the development of photography brought out their figurative limitations. Irina Rosenfeldt recovers the immersive character of those panoramas for her gigantic mural work.
But she is far less interested in perceptual deception or the realistic reproduction of a recognizable world than she is in the psychological and emotional impact of her canvases.
Being a contemporary artist, her work meets midway between painting and installation, and it gives a more autonomous role to the viewer, who is induced to build his or her own subjective experience. There is no particular manner to discover the way neither any instructions for a "correct" meeting with the experience. There is, instead, an invitation to explore, to take-in with unprejudiced apprehension, and, on a personal drift.
At the same time, Rosenfeldt raises a kind of rite of passage that promotes an unforeseeable situation. The exterior of the installation appears as a wooden structure, raw and irrelevant, and does not anticipate in any way what inhabits its interior. It is only when the spectator has crossed the threshold that he or she is fully surrounded by the dynamic torrents of forms and colour, plastic volume manifesting itself in all splendour, and the spectators’ whole being is pushed to an aesthetic adventure. The word "adventure" is absolutely pertinent in this case, as it is likely that the visitor has never faced an environment of these characteristics before. This takes him or her out of the contingency of daily life and immerses them –literally- in the power of the pictorial effects. These effects involve both their sensory and motor levels. The work demands to be travelled not only with the eye but, also, with the entire body. The observer is called to move through space rehearsing a variety of points of view. These views are not manifested exclusively in the perimetric course, when moving along the dilated surface of the cloth, but also in its approachment and distance from it. This radically modifies the swarm of forms that press upon the viewers’ retina. In these adjustments of optical distances the spots can become evocative figures and what appeared to be chaos can suddenly suggest a cosmic will.
Because in the vital multiplicity of the traces that make up the plural landscape Irina Rosenfeldt has sown the seeds of a precise intentionality. Her work is not the result of free will or the momentary spontaneity of artistic creation. It is, rather, an emotional device oriented to the spectator, destined to communicate with him, to instigate him, to shake his mental universe. It is a channel to encourage the spectators to dwell in the unfathomable territories of their own imagination.