ONE AND THREE REALMS
During one of the most important Art Weeks in the world, conceptual artist Isabel Englebert presents “One and Three Realms” - consisting of large-scale sculpture “Porvenir” and NFTs “Wannabe” & “Selfie” - reflecting on climate change and the relationship between man and technology. Supported by the European Cultural Center and in collaboration with the Miami Center for Architecture and Design and Florida International University, her artwork is on display in the Flagler Street Art Festival, supported by Perez Art Museum amongst others, and illuMIA, curated by Urban Impact Lab, ArtRepublic and SuperRare.
With a clear reference to Kosuth´s “One and Three Chairs”, Englebert proposes a contemporary take on the subject of representation and meaning. Just as Kosuth questions the audience about which one of the depictions of the chair is the most accurate, Englebert reflects in times of NFTs and virtuality about which one of the three pieces she presents incarnates most intensely the sculpture’s essence, the concept itself about climate change and human commitment.
"Porvenir" is the name Englebert chooses for her large-format sculpture. The closest translation to the English language is conceived as "future", but in Spanish the selected word conveys, not only the imaginary of something that will come, but also a feeling of hope and eagerness. This is the essence that the artist seeks to communicate with her work. The problem of rising water levels requires a strong commitment from humankind, but there is hope that if we work together with Mother Nature, we can achieve a positive change. The work's title remains in Spanish even in its translation, as Englebert wishes to make a reflection and a strong recognition of the diverse and multiple Latin American inhabitants that Miami has been able to welcome, that can call Miami home.
Porvenir reflects on the imminent consequences of rising sea levels, and the necessary role of the human species to reach solutions, inviting viewers to act and reflect. Englebert proposes an outdoor installation, consisting of geometric plates representing the sea, sand, and a vegetation barrier, alluding to the possible solutions that could slow down the rise of the water level. In an opening event, with the participation of biophilia artist Paloma Teppa, Englebert invited spectators to contribute with their sand grain and to plant a seed in the search for solutions of this climatic problem. Just as in reality nature needs the action of humankind, Englebert's work requires the action of the audience in order to be activated.
The conceptual artist configures a spatiality that evokes the different factors that take an active role in the rise of sea levels - water, sand and vegetation. In this way, Englebert proposes a sculpture, consisting of geometric plates that embody the different components. A tblue tinted glass structure refers to the body of the sea, while a second plate, located at a certain distance and filled with sand, refers to the sandy banks that could potentially slow down the growth of the sea's water levels. At the same time, the artist outlines a series of circular surfaces, representing a mangrove barrier, alluding to a possible solution that could slow down the rise of the water level.
Through this spatial and material proposal, the artist strongly urges a concrete and active action of the audience attending the installation. Englebert suggests the staging of an event as the opening of her exhibition: spectators are invited to contribute with their sand grain to the solution of this climatic problem, by literally loading the geometric plates with sandy material, thus completing the sand bars and slowing down the water's course. Isabel also invited Paloma Teppa, biophilia artist and alma mater of Plant the Future, to join her in her statement and together invite the public to plant their own seeds, referring to other possible solution to the ravages of the human race. Just as in reality nature needs the action of humankind, Englebert's work requires the action of the audience in order to be activated.
In this way, Englebert unequivocally involves every viewer in a committed way, emphasizing the role of humankind in solving the conflicts originated by its own hands. The artist highlights human responsibility, calling every human being to action, transcending the sculptural object itself, and involving the human behavior. Thus, she shows the power that each person carries in their hands of getting engaged and making a contribution, no matter how small, to reverse climate change. You have the power, you are part of the solution. Englebert's work constitutes a great wake-up call to man's actions, making a strong statement about the union and synergy between nature and the human species. Both need each other in order to transform incidents into solutions. The piece embodies a positive vision of what humankind and nature are capable of achieving together.
The aspect of perspective plays a fundamental role in her artwork, emphasizing the importance of observing reality through a certain point of view, which allows us to discover the true significance of humanity as part of the solution.
Isabel Englebert embodies in this work her geometric and abstract essence. The choice of pure and refined forms refers to her passion for abstraction, the use of line and noble materials. The reminiscences of the Art Deco style take on special importance in the context in which the piece is inserted, in the heart of Miami, a location stylistically marked by this artistic movement.
Each of the geometric plates that make up the work is surrounded by LED lights all along its perimeter. During the course of the day, a set of solar panels collects energy from the sun. At sunset, the panels are responsible for feeding the energy that illuminates the LED light strips carefully positioned on the perimeters of each geometric shape. Each plate is illuminated at different intervals, configured to give importance to each particular piece at different times, generating a visual and luminous composition.
Through this system, the artist makes a statement about the positive use of technology today. Englebert argues that technological devices are essential in moving forward on certain conflicts of the human species, such as climate change. Thus, she considers that technological development is part of the solution to this imbalance generated by human hands, coloring the different devices with a positive and hopeful tinge. On the other hand, the energy released from the devices is a metaphor for the power that lies in the hands of humans.
Isabel Englebert therefore proposes an outdoor installation that dialogues with the context in which it is inserted, both aesthetically and stylistically, as well as conceptually. She generates a configuration that can be traversed, and directly and concisely interpellates the spectator, calling the human species to reflection and action.
The two different NFTs reflect on how technology constitutes an intrinsic part of human development, she explores machinery as an almost thinking being working together with men in communion. “Wannabe”, the first NFT, stands in a digital realm, representing a rendered image of the project of the sculpture. This piece heightens the idea of technology as a means of achieving change, as a tool for creation that exists at man’s same level. "Wannabe" was screened on Downtown Miami streets walls during illuMIA opening, and will continue to be projected every night during the whole Art Week.
“Selfie”, the second NFT, refers to a registry of the real scale artwork. In this piece, technology plays the role of a recording tool, embodying the transformation from the real world into the virtual realm. This NFT will be released after Miami Art Week is over, establishing a continuity on the narrative thread of "One and Three Realms". Once Miami Art Week ends, both NFTs will be exhibited in the Museum District, in Decentraland, the decentralized virtual reality platform, where Sotheby´s has its virtual subsidiary, and countries are starting to place their embassies.