The Soul of the Landscape
To understand the genesis for these images, it might be helpful to consider Antonio Camoyán’s passions: painting. Within this field, the artist has a particular admiration for the work of Mark Rothko and his experiments with fields of colour. His paintings sought to “express basic human emotions—tragedy, ecstasy, doom and so on”. In short, one might say that those Rothko paintings are genuine landscapes of the soul, landscapes that change according to the person standing in front of them. In this state, painting becomes pure subjectivity and the spectator a protagonist.
At first sight, the photographs by Antonio Camoyán seem to bear numerous similarities of form with the works of Mark Rothko. In this case, the photographer has focused his gaze on the different types of soils, walls and contours found along the banks of the Tinto and captured them in all their substance, neither adding nor subtracting any colour whatsoever but simply allowing the earth itself to show us a fascinating array of hues, myriad fields of colour with their clearly discernible diversity of textures. Here are landscapes of the River Tinto observed at close range by the camera, landscapes that would surely have impressed the great Mark Rothko himself.
Rothko set out to create unique landscapes of the soul, in the case of Antonio Camoyán we might invert the meaning of that phrase and conclude that his emotional, emotive photographs show us the soul of the landscape—an essential landscape in which nature and the hand of man have joined forces through the ages to create one of the most extraordinary places in our region. However, these images of the Tinto produce a similar effect on us to that produced by Rothko’s finest pictures: they show us the author’s personal, perceptive vision of nature. Like Rothko’s paintings but now through the medium of photography, this expressionistic vision invites the introspective, silent contemplation of those natural fields of colour that erupt before our eyes. It is no small thing, the soul of the landscape.
Juan Diego Caballero
Professor of Art History.