Victoria Aguirre of Tracing Maps
On Desert Time
28 September - 29 October, 2019
The Koskela Gallery presents On Desert Time – a series of original fine art prints by photographers and Pampa co-founders Victoria Aguirre and Carl Wilson.
The nine photographs were taken in the Uluru-Kata National Park and Tjoritja National Park.
I was overcome by the sense of a new sort of time zone in the desert, one in which the clock ticks slower, and you are forced to shift your perspective, to see yourself in relation to the land, to experience the sensory joy that comes from a recognition of the spatial, the physical environment.
This is the first exhibition from Tracing Maps, a sister project to Pampa with a broader scope, offering fine art prints that capture spectacular landscapes around the world.
Victoria Aguirre Q&A
What was your path to becoming the artist you are today?
From memory, as a child I was always observing, I was very visually driven and a lover of being outdoors. I’m always thankful to my parents that gave me the chance to grow up between a city and country living. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but spent many years going back and forth between my grandparent’s farm in southern Argentina in an area known as Pampa (which means fertile earth). Here I learned the art of contemplation and serenity, the magical feeling of freedom and understood how the generous mother earth is to us on a daily basis. Through my love for horses I discovered my obsession with photography, which has remained strong to this day.
While finishing university, studying for a degree in advertising I began studying photography in different creative places. There was one lesson in particular that spoke to me, which was “To discover yourself and what you want to photograph, first get to know your own backyard” and so I did. The Pampa Horses series began, growing from my love and knowledge for fine art photography as an expression of beauty, serenity, and sense of self.
Years later I moved to New York to continue my studies and continued travelling from there working as a photojournalist for different Argentinean magazines. These travels took me to meet Carl, my Australian partner with whom I started Pampa in 2012. At Pampa, not only do we work with artisans all around Argentina who weave the most beautiful rugs, cushions and throws, but we also let ourselves express our love for nature and outdoors through photography. We have now developed an extended photography series that stems from Pampa’s ethos.
A few months back we launched Tracing Maps, a sister project to Pampa, where we offer photography series from different parts of the world. It was time to expand the vision of Pampa towards something bigger and more inclusive. We are very happy to have taken this step as it encourages us to keep seeking and creating beautiful images.
What part of your art practice brings you the most joy?
Being in the field actually taking the photos. Most of the time I don’t even look at what I’ve shot on the camera viewer or on my computer for days or months. For me, it is in the exact moment that I take the shot where I feel something has resonated with my heart, made me feel lighter, softer, more human.
What influences your work?
Light, the beautiful act of reading light through the lens and nature’s colour palette and textures.
What is the theme of your show at Koskela?
On desert time is my new body of work shot over a year ago in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National park and the land surrounding Alice Springs. I’ve been living in Australia for over 8 years now, and I’ve always had the call to travel and see the heart of this beautiful country. Since I have a great love for the desert landscapes of Argentina and beyond, I had wanted to visit the desert in the Northern Territory for quite some time.
My first visit to the red centre involved chasing sunsets, admiring the crunch of red rock beneath our boots and standing in all of its immensity and experiencing many moments of awe.
But above all I was overcome by the sense of a new sort of time zone in the desert, one in which the clock ticks slower, and you are forced to shift your perspective, to see yourself in relation to the land, to experience the sensory joy that comes from a recognition of the spatial, the physical environment.
The dance of reds, ochres and burnt orange at sunset. The clear and over-exposed desert light, which in turn exposes us. Time in the desert is a time of retrospect for me, to survey time past.
I tend to cry when I visit deserts, but yet feel so alive, the air is so pure.
There seemed to me to be so much energy within the bud of a River Red gum. So much emotion in the rich colourways of the landscape, the patterns in rock and sand.
In revisiting these images we are reminded of the emotion, beauty and spirit of the desert.
How does the Australian desert compare with the Argentinian landscape where you are originally from?
I would describe the difference most clearly through colours. The Australian desert is red with a touch of green from the gums and yellows from the desert grasses.
The Argentinean desert is more of a dusty pink, with sand and earthy brown hues and the green comes from the Cardones (cactuses).
Both places are spectacular and breathtaking, but if I have to describe a feeling for both, I would say that the Australian Desert makes me feel respect and awe and the Argentinean desert inspires nostalgia and gratefulness.