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Parra-Toro's works have been covered by both digital and physical international media from dozens of different countries

Articles / Interviews

  • Revista Ñ, Clarín (Argentina)

 “Ingeniería Del Color En Movimiento”, por         Eduardo Villar (Edición 13­07­2016)

 

  • Diario La Razón (Argentina) (Edición Impresa 05­07­2016)

  • Ámbito Financiero (Argentina)

(Edición Impresa 02­07­2016)

 

Curatorial Texts (in spanish)

LA EVOLUCIÓN DE LA FORMA (Curated by Massimo Scaringella)

    El acontecimiento creativo no es social, sino estrictamente individual: se mira y se descubre que las formas y los colores son metáforas de espacios y de vida, más allá de marcos ideológicos o de verdades reveladas. Es por esto que lo representado es digno de extrema atención, por sus razones y su ser. Es cierto que la obra casi siempre es un contenedor de fuerzas y de tensiones que sólo se aplacan con el contacto abierto de quien observa el encanto y la inquietud del artista. Cada engranaje de la estructura creativa articulada constituye, a través de las diferencias de la materia y del color, una fuerte asociación evocativa y emotiva que nos hace entrar más allá de la imagen de la obra misma. Ésta es la estructura que el artista elabora y esta forma vive objetivamente y teóricamente, abriéndose al espectador con la fascinación de un mundo equilibrado que es al mismo tiempo emoción y deseo arquetípico. Si se logra entrar en los diversos mecanismos entre los que se mueve la obra de arte, se adquiere un nuevo método de pensamiento que, trascendiendo la percepción cognitiva exterior, en donde conviven la quietud y el movimiento, nos permite una nueva receptividad mental y a veces inclusive física. 

 

    En estos últimos trabajos, Rafael Parra-Toro continúa con su búsqueda basada en un atento estudio de la matemática y particularmente de los algoritmos de la geometría pura y de las formas en el espacio. Aunque parte del uso del moiré y su efecto óptico aleatorio, el artista lo despliega hacia nuevas dimensiones al aplicar nuevas técnicas digitales y nuevos materiales que incrementan la desorientación inicial del espectador para inmediatamente capturarlo en un vértice de luces geométricas. 

 

    La vasta especificidad de su lenguaje creativo está así pues en su uso sabio del color y de la luz entendida como síntesis digital. Luz y color, los elementos principales de la visión: el ojo humano percibe primero una y después al otro, luego de lo cual su capacidad de elaboración cerebral le permite distinguir las formas y el espacio en el cual están situadas.

 

    En esta serie pictórica se hace evidente la progresión geométrica en la cual los signos devienen en gestos y los gestos devienen en color. El color deviene en materia o, a menudo, no materia sino sólo visión, como en el caso del abordaje digital. El proceso genera una obra emotiva que nos concentra en un punto neto que determina la especialidad de la mirada y de la memoria, un mundo complejo que analiza un modo de entender y de representarnos a nosotros y nuestro universo de imágenes, lugares y sensaciones existenciales. La relación entre color y movimiento es una interesante aplicación ulterior de la experiencia cromática de Rafael PARRATORO, donde se propone producir efectos simultáneos y contrastantes entre sí mediante una unión mediática y diligente de gamas cromáticas de variada luminosidad. Tal mecanismo crea una sensación de perspectiva diversa y una sorprendente asimilación del color en un conjunto que invita al espectador a admirar un mundo material que lo transporta hacia lo inmaterial, hacia la trascendencia.

 

    Paul Valery escribió que “más allá de la visión cuántica de la ciencia y fuera de la visión solemne de la historia, hay una visión más rica, más difícil de representar y más singular del tiempo, aquella del tiempo-que-acontece, que nos abre al estupor, como al hurto aventurado de la historia que, fiel a su propia naturaleza, el hombre debe recuperar y habitar.”

 

    Las imágenes a menudo móviles definen la fase cinética de la gestualidad, el movimiento espacial de los volúmenes manifestados, en donde es vital la relación entablada con las materias y los colores, el espacio y el concepto. La tecnología digital se ha constituido por lo tanto para él en un camino perfectamente coherente, una instancia técnica fundada en principios precisos y en conocimientos teóricos del devenir artístico que en un discurso lineal a lo largo de ya varios años lo ha llevado a la anulación de aquellas diferenciaciones técnicas en donde a menudo se divide, por inercia, la dicotomía del arte. 

 

    Los confines futuros serán sin duda otros, las experimentaciones se multiplicarán, ciertas soluciones seguirán la evolución tecnológica de los medios, pero se mantendrá seguramente inalterada su forma de relacionarse con la creatividad contemporánea como prólogo o como epílogo de la evolución de las formas visuales. 

 

MASSIMO SCARINGELLA

MOIRÉPH (Curated by Massimo Scaringella)

ANAMNESIS HOLOGRAFICAS

 

 

   Presta tus oídos resta a la música, abre tus ojos a la pintura... ¡y deja de pensar! Pregúntate solamente si el esfuerzo te ha permitido pasar del interior de un mundo hasta aquí desconocido. Si la respuesta es sí, ¿qué más quieres?

                                                                                     Vassilij Kandinsky

 

 

 

   Cada engranaje de la estructura creativa articulada constituye, a través de las diferencias de la materia y del color, una fuerte asociación evocativa y emotiva que nos hace entrar más allá de la imagen de la obra misma. A veces, sin embargo, cada elemento de la composición parece emerger del fondo para dejar lugar a la escansión del color que se expande en el espacio evidenciado por el artista a menudo ordenado geométricamente para reconducirnos a una continua alternancia de lo lleno y lo vacío, de la realidad y el sueño, entre el adentro y el afuera.

   El artista, por ende, ha valorado siempre con gran sabiduría el impacto plástico y emotivo del color, inclusive cuando utiliza materiales distintos de los tradicionales. Pero como dijo Fernand Leger: “el color tiene una realidad intrínseca propia, una vida propia, incluso una forma geométrica posee su propia realidad, plástica e independiente”.  Y en efecto, en estas últimas generaciones se advierte la sucesión de tensiones y de ritmos capaces de conferir al conjunto una solidez bien estructurada, donde la realidad estética y la realidad física del objeto artístico forman parte de un único proceso operativo experimentado y verificado mediante la función comunicativa extensiva del arte. 

   En esta óptica se inserta Rafael Parra Toro (PARRATORO), que presenta con el título de “Moiréph” una serie de trabajos recientes en el ámbito del ciclo de muestras presentadas por la Fundación Tres Pinos en el ámbito del CCBorges. Con estas obras –más bien deberíamos hablar de investigaciones– el artista inspecciona, ayudado de una sapiente utilización de la programación computarizada y de las disciplinas matemáticas, las múltiples posibilidades que le ofrece el manejo del moiré, la figura de interferencia creada por dos grillas iguales superpuestas con distinta angulación, o inclusive por grillas paralelas con mallas distanciadas de un modo ligeramente diferente. Recurso que siempre ha caracterizado a las creaciones que saben llevar al espectador a un mundo diverso en el cual puede ser protagonista y perderse como en un sueño irreal.

 

   Nada casualmente estos trabajos se basan en el cuento de Jorge Luis Borges “El Aleph”, que aquí es reinterpretado en una clave artística innovadora. Los sueños multidimensionales de esta noche digital toman cuerpo en obras que explotan la utilización de nuevas tecnologías para involucrar activamente al espectador y llevarlo a sorprenderse frente a las irrealidades tangibles del arte cinético. Un juego no sólo para los sentidos y su pérdida, sino para una nueva percepción de la realidad, donde el visitante, conectándose con la imposibilidad de focalizarse en el detalle convencional de una obra desde un punto de vista específico, descubre en esta interfaz la frustración de la memoria visual y abandona el espacio de la sala con las imágenes todavía impresas en su retina. 

 

   Rasgos que representan el romanticismo oscuro y pasional que identifica la obra de Rafael Parra Toro, quien opera sobre la fragilidad y la incertidumbre de nuestra memoria eidética y sobre la materialidad de las imágenes. Apoyándose en la necesidad de concentrarse sobre el momento presente y apelando a la sensibilidad y a los recursos intuitivos, el espectador puede sumergirse así en el corazón de una obra que destila una poética inquietante, a su vez tanto física como mental. 

 

MASSIMO SCARINGELLA

Academic Text (by Art Historian Paula Carrella)

   Rafael Parra-Toro (Caracas, 1977) is a Venezuelan/Argentinean artist and engineer whose production is characterized by the contemporary development of kinetic-optical art, based on the combination of character design aesthetics and the use of new digital technologies. His work deals with and explores the experiences of international optic kinetism and combines them with the analysis of the viewer’s movement and color vibration through the use of moiré, chromatic interferences and mathematical and IT tools that are usually applied to digital art, in order to create a geometrical universe that is full of shapes and characters.

 

   Unlike the traditional use of the moiré effect in international optical kinetism –in relation to which we can mention the Venezuelan artist Jesús Soto and the German artist Ludwig Wilding as pioneers in the exploration and use of this technique for artistic purposes-  PARRATORO uses moiré to create shapes and volumes in his geometric universe. The artist draws using moiré, and thus poses a radical change in the used his predecessors made of it. 

 

   Regarding the technical resource of color, the chromatic interference concept follows the color research line started by Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. The experimentation and search for colors are based on which of them are the best to favor the shape and volume the artist wishes to achieve by the use of moiré. Pure colors come from the plotter –black, yellow, cyan and magenta– as well as from the color of the material on which the printout is made, and a chromatic interference of parallel vinyl lines –also made of pure colors- is overlapped on them at a certain distance from the background image. 

 

   The artist said:

 ‘The source of my work is digital, and I am honest with this source. I work strictly with geometry and pure colors from a plotter, I am not trying to depict something real; what makes it real is the viewer presence through his/her optical perception. The viewer generates shapes and colors by moving along the space where my Works are located. Thus, I believe that my work is kinetic’. 

 

Years of Training and Experimentation 

 

   PARRA-TORO was born in Caracas, a city surrounded by mountains that may only be understood if you know and live in it. View, perception and movement are three principles that will appear in the production of many artists from this city, and PARRATORO is no exception. The concept of integrating art and nature is another important topic covered by Venezuelan kinetism and op artists in the 60’s, which may have shared the fact of living and growing up in a city surrounded by the vegetation’s green and the highways’ concrete grey.  

 

   The artist was raised in a country that gave him the opportunity to grow up watching the works by great international creators such as Victor Vasarely, Alexander Calder, Fernand Léger, Jean Arp, Antoine Pesvner, Henri Laurens, Sophie Taeuber, Joan Miró and by local artist such as Gego, Jesús Soto, Carlos Cruz Diez, Víctor Valera, Oswaldo Vigas, Harry Abend, Alejandro Otero, designer Gerd Leufert and architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva. Many of these works are located in an urban space and integrated with the city sights. The visual and emotional impact of these works marked an experience that determined his future artistic development. The integration of art and landscape in an organic and geometric urban nature established the foundations of his plastic research, focused on the research and experimentation processes that drove his analysis. 

 

   PARRA-TORO claims to be a great admirer of Alexander Calder, with whom he shares the engineering education, the interest in the playful component, the interaction with the viewer and the subtle limit between abstraction and figure. Play, movement, experimentation with new materials and exploration of color and light have been present both in the Mobiles and the Circus of the American artist, and have proved critical for the searches performed by international kinetism.  

 

   Light, color and movement within an endless view spectrum have been a daily component in the artist’s life, and this factor was not overlooked during his University years. At the auditorium of Caracas University, under Calder’s Floating Clouds , he got his Engineering degree. These studies, to which he has not devoted to in his professional life, taught him to love mathematics, the discipline and the work methodology that he has later applied to his work.  

 

   Curiosity and interest in experimentation drove his learning and elaboration of the world of new technologies until he became one of the pioneers in the development of 3D art in Latin America with the use of the tri-dimensional software tool called Alias Maya. Years later, he worked in the videogame industry as a 3D art developer for different international companies. Among his most important work, we can mention the development of  MUSICTOONS, a company devoted to the creation of artistic assets for videogames, and the creation of games for Cartoon Network, Dreamworks and Nickelodeon. 

 

  This work period should be thought of as an experimentation stage which provided a great knowledge, and although PARRATORO considers that the final product of this industry generates a certain disconnection among people and promotes isolation from reality, we can see how part of his current aesthetics is rooted in these first research and works. 

 

 

From the Universe of Videogames to Character Design

 

  Three principles inherited from the animation industry’s Animated Character Design are critical to our artist’s production ̶ appeal, simplicity and clarity. Appeal is a complex defining principle. It is based on the empathy or attraction of characters perceived by the viewer thanks to his/her subjective point of view, personal opinion and visual taste. Simplicity, the simplicity of shapes, is a simple technique that is based on the use of basic shapes to draw attention from detail and focus it on shapes. Finally, clarity refers to a clean design aimed at preventing visual confusion, since a character design does not require a great deal of detail in order to be interesting. 

 

   In PARRATORO’s works, empathy (appeal) is generated in a ludic and creative environment based on the interaction with the viewer, who participates by feeling and experimenting as s/he moves along the room. It should be highlighted that the shapes and characters in his works are defined with the visitor’s movement. Here, it differs from the videogame and animation industry, since the characters are not figures established by the creator but depend on this active participation and intervention by the viewer.  

 

  In 1999 the German organization PICTOPLASMA was founded, devoted to international character design art. Thanks to research and sharing activities, it has become a platform used to debate and redefine the boundaries of contemporary character representation within the international artist, creator and theorist community, driving a new understanding of the character throughout the world. 

 

  The main focus of this project is based on the empathic feature (appeal) principle for certain images in order to create direct emotional links with the viewer. The proposal is concrete, and is based on visual and conceptual search and exploration within character design to achieve a balance between empathy and symbol. A sort of intermediate point between Mickey Mouse and pictogram aesthetics, it communicates and takes the limits of the anthropomorphic representation appeal one step further worldwide. 

 

  The production of the graphic artist Akinori Oishi falls within the topics covered by  Pictoplasma. A product of illustration and typographic aesthetics, he has used color markers and paper as his privileged production tools. Synthesis dominates his work, based on a repetition idea focusing more on the process than on the result. A follower of the marker aesthetics, he has taken his characters to different supports and dimensions; he sometimes repeats them until full surfaces are covered, or depicts them as a single character on individual or small group portraits. By multiplying these beings, a particular dynamism is achieved. They are made of specific and concentrated elements –tiny lines and small dots. These are characters that generate empathy with the viewer from specific visual resources thanks to the briefness and simplicity of the story they tell. 

 

 

 

 

  Fascinated by the possibilities offered by character design, PARRATORO formed part of the first Pictoplasma Academy (2013), an intensive educational program dedicated to training and interchange in the character creation scenario.  Together with some other artists, he created The eggplant collective, an art group where a topic is chosen every month with the main objective of exploring character representation. 

 

  In the artistic universe that emerges from the Berlin character design concept and materializes in the geometric purity of shapes and figures, color is a core element to the construction process and, as in the optic kinetism of the 60’s, light and viewer form a critical couple. Along this path, he started his artistic period and began researching into the principles that would later characterize his work. 

 

An Approach to the Concept of Digital Kinoptics 

 

  New technologies have established a dynamic relation between art and the culture of each historical period. The Twenty First Century has brought us dramatic improvements in the IT area, and these technologies offer potentially unlimited possibilities to the creation of works of art. Digital Art is a wide concept that may simply involve the use of a computer at some point of the production process, whether the works are made on conventional material supports or are exhibited using electronic devices. So, what is specific to digital art? 

 

  In this paper, we consider as digital art any artistic two/tridimensional production conceived using a software during the production process, regardless of the support or format used for its exhibition. 

 

  Although PARRA-TORO’s production is marked by the experimental search for movement, color and shapes inherited from Venezuelan kinetism, talking about neo-kinetism does not appear to be relevant since what is present in his production results from combining a series of factors and aesthetics that exceed the ‘neo’ concept.

 

  Our artist shares two basic qualities with contemporary kinetism: on the one hand, the loss of formalist purity, which means departing from the concrete art and the abstract geometry that inspired optic and kinetic artists in the 60’s, and on the other, this contemporary trend towards an aesthetics that mixes abstraction and figuration surpassing its boundaries. Thus, a new term is suggested that matches the work under analysis: kinoptics. 

 

   The kinoptic art concept refers to the optic trend of contemporary kinetism where the transformation in the work body is achieved by the physical movement of the viewer through space. The specific feature of kinoptic art is based on the perception capacity of the receiver as a driver of the actual movement of the parts. 

 

  PARRA-TORO’s images are conceived and produced using digital technology. The use of the computer both in the creative phase of the initial production and in the evolution of his projects is critical. Although the shapes created by the moiré effect and the colors resulting from chromatic inductions are present in the work once they are materialized in non-digital supports (wood, metal, PVC foam, Plexiglas, digital printing and vinyl), the possibility of trial and experimentation allowed by the software used is another important feature as a digital production entity. 

 

  PARRA-TORO depicts a world of movement that is animated by the viewer. Here, colors –that appear to be infinite- are obtained from chromatic interferences that come from a reduced range of multiple and dynamic colors and shapes, originated in the moiré effect.  As an example, we can mention the works Moiréph #2 and Moiréph #6, which form part of the recent series MOIRÉPH (2015) produce by the artist. 

   A square from which multiple colors –as many as the viewer is capable of perceiving- irradiate. Magenta, cyan and yellow allow this changing chromatic effect that varies according to the location and movement of the visitor. Within the subtle limit between abstraction and figuration, a minimum geometry forms the eyes of a character that seems to accompany us during our movement through space. 

   In this work, the plural chromatic element allows a color minimalism: a face in black and white that is lightened by the yellow of the eyes. Here, the changing volumes are the protagonists, appearing as luminous masks in the interaction of the moiré effect and the movement of the viewer through space.  

 

   Mathematics, software, color, light, space and viewer allow the physical substantiation of these characters outside the screen. This work invites the viewer to explore and watch, and its ludic component accompanies the creation, exhibition and reception processes.  

 

 

POP ON OP

 

   POP ON OP (2014) is an interactive object-book that deploys real time animations on paper.  It was created, designed and produced independently by the artist, and funded through a crowdfunding platform. It is based on simple 2D and 3D animation principles and on moiré effects, and was devised to provide an easy access to a massive public of all ages. 

 

   In the fifty five illustrations designed to be viewed in motion by sliding a special film included in the book, POP ON OP brings us closer to this playful aesthetics typical of the works that may be transformed by the viewer’s handling. The ludic component in this creation meets the artist’s interest in educational processes: awakening curiosity about the construction and techniques applied and making them available in a collective scoped production were the main drivers of the book.  POP ON OP triggered his art career, since it allowed him to be internationally well-known thanks to the coverage of graphic media and the viralization obtained in social networks. 

 

Conclusion

   PARRA-TORO’s aesthetics is within the problems of current contemporary art, including the difficulties that appear in relation to the creation of terms and definitions. His work explores optic kinetism, takes on character design concepts and is based on digital IT technology to substantiate projects. The aesthetics of his works may not be detached from their production support which, in turn, determines the spirit of his creation as well as the spreading of his proposals 

 

    PARRA-TORO explores the possibilities in shapes, figures and colors outside their original support.  Works are ‘loyal to the digital', but demand the viewer’s active participation to become alive. Characters and colors emerge from the interaction with the visitor who walks along the room or the reader that goes through the pages of the book. A world of beings and color possibilities that are materialized on different supports and are animated by the viewer away from the computer screen. PARRATORO’s proposal started with the book to be later placed on walls.  In a route that may also be thought of reversely –from the picture on the wall to the book- new  questions emerge on the future possibilities of his production, an exponent of the digital trend of kinoptic art.