Fernando Renes built his ‘plateau’ under acres of sky with an unbroken flow of images and an awareness of his waking mind. Enrolling some Socrates look-alike philosopher to greet us at the start, he initiates his journey from Covarrubias, Spain, to New York as a flying pig, who knew he had to go away to find himself.
In his latest animation, La Meseta, he dissects this pig/alter ego to become a fox that, gliding through the air, crosses Mount Fuji before reaching America’s shores, passing by smokestacks and nuclear plants, and becoming some sort of dragon or little fox. There are red-fibered muscles of every shape and size, all packed into the drawing’s space, that eventually change into orange and white dots; and then there’s a chocolate cat, melted by the sun. Renes procures and negotiates a world full of wilderness and jarring discontinuity, desire and repulsion, fear and humor; a world that is ready and primed for action, for it is animated.
Whether drawn from fantasy and obsession or from the ostensibly trivial elements of daily life, these animations are enthralling fictions, full of inscrutable imagery, random nonsense and profundities that may or may not hold up in the light of day, as dreams often don’t. Always capturing the ludicrous plots that characterize dreamscapes, Renes ruminates on crazy incidents that seem vivid in the moment yet fuzzy and blurred upon recollection, preposterous and inconsequential in hindsight. As in dreams, chaos is organized, order arbitrary.
La Meseta comes across as a stream-of-consciousness exercise, the multifarious thoughts and feelings of an artist-protagonist, presented without a logical narrative sequence. He reflects all the forces, external and internal, that influence his central character’s psychology at a single, spontaneous moment. This moment always leads to another kind of moment. This animation insinuates an interior landscape in which one idea, one thought, one image, one frame, one element, one word, morphs into another. And while mutating, the artist, the work and the plateau resemble windows of the mind, and everything empties into thoughts.
Octavio Zaya is an independent curator based in New York. He was co-curator of Documenta 11, Kassel, 2001.
Fernando Renes was born in Covarrubias, Spain, in 1970. He lives and works in New York.
In the Global Art section of Flash Art, a writer is invited to discuss one work by a contemporary artist.