Brilliant “Forces” on Display

New artists question armed forces.

The series “FORCES” (by German artists Daniel and Geo Fuchs, exhibiting in Barcelona’s ADN Galería) comes from a research project that brought the artists to question the phenomenon of military and armed forces. It consists in a series of photographs of fighters in unlikely or at least improbable situations: they appear into impenetrable woods, deserts, or into urban environments, impassibly parked. The photographs are playing with the viewer’s memory, they refer to familiar elements, belonging to our reality or experienced at least through the TV or the cinema screen. Therefore, this association is strange, since the vision produced does not belong to what we usually consider as the real world. Rather than being close to our daily life, it is closest to cinematographic fiction, where the expectation is not based on truth, but veracity. Beyond this play between likeliness and fantasy, these compositions show above all a special combination of power and fascination which produces an undoubtedly disturbing result. While the fighters are conceived for war, they are most likely bought by countries to fulfil a need for ostentation. Their function is to demonstrate how capable is a country to defend its citizens from eventual enemies, exhibiting thus the huge amounts of money reserved for military developments. In the end, it is a gesture of pure parade, which rarely corresponds to warlike intentions. By decontextualizing the fighters, Daniel & Geo Fuchs thus succeed in pacifying its warlike dimension and in emphasizing its aesthetical character. Placed among an almost onirical vegetation and placed into a photographic composition, the fighter looses its aggressive vigor and reveals its potentialities as a beautiful object. However, the result is quite disturbing, since despite its presence as a visually attractive picture, the representation of the fighter still vehicles a harsh and violent component. We find the idea of underlying force in the “Forest” series as well. In this case, it refers to the force of nature, discovered by travellers when they reach unsuspected destinations that fill them with wonder. The Fuchs’ compositions are made by photographs of natural elements, all of them real. Associated, they create new imaginary places, onirical and almost surrealistic.

While “Forest” is more pleasant for the viewer’s eye, it is no less surprising, since each photograph can give the spectators a sensation of total estrangement, like when entering into a virgin wood or an untouched natural environment, with a fascinating and disturbing beauty at the same time. Such proposal invites us to speculate on nature’s resources and forces, and its inexhaustible capacity to surprise us. Here the Fuchs play with their own wonder while discovering amazing natural sites that are reelaborated then to create unknown spaces, existing only in their photographs. The association of both series in ADN Galería will generate a feeling of suspense, between the strongness of “Forces”’ and the apparent quietness of “Forest”. Technically speaking, Daniel & Geo Fuchs still persevere in their analytical style, close to the ideas of reportage or catalogation.

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