The photo-paintings-frames by Marcelo Tinoco. Once upon a time...
The artist Marcelo Tinoco has been standing out with his remarkable photographic production, which brings us back to the refined and colorist way of painting the light and the imagery of the Renaissance landscapes by Flemish artists such as Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The former, from the late fifteenth century, and the latter from the mid-sixteenth century, both magically portrayed everyday life in the late Middle Ages.
Unlike the two painters who portrayed cartoon-like people and scenes of sin and temptation - representing the religious content that marked that era of the European civilization - the images of Tinoco in the series Timeless and Natural Histories recreate that same impressive atmosphere, yet mixing alchemy, dreams and utopia. They recover elements which formed the complex imagery of the medieval man of a pre-photographic era, where artists sought to paint beyond the real world. In the works of the photographer, the images received the same detailed and refined colorist treatment, yet with a dose of beauty and good humor added to the portrayed contemporary scenes, giving them a touch of irrationality as they merge different epochs. The images merge stories through fine art photography, as a form of narrating time: once upon a time...
In the new series 1900, Belle Époque Rural, on display at Zipper Gallery, the artist continues with the same workmanship and uses light as the main element of his images, as was done in the Impressionist movement originated in France in the late nineteenth century.
The group of artists who formed this movement broke away from the prevailing canons of painting by going out to the field for inspiration, seeking natural light and the vibrations of nature radiated by the sun. Leaving aside their academic teachings, they painted nature in its chromatic variations, no longer concerned with faithfully portraying reality. These precepts inspired Marcelo Tinoco to seek to build the new images "frame by frame" through his own handmade process. Tinoco, in search of the same light that charmed Impressionists in the beginning of the last century, plans his travel so as to retrace the journey of these artists.
The photographer goes far beyond the so-called real world. What is portrayed in his photos is the fantastic world observable in the sites, characters and painters of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, seeking to reconstitute such universe in the series 1900, Belle Époque Rural.
The type of light used by Impressionists, the use of many plants and flowers at the edges of the photos as if ‘framing’ the scene, all refer to the Art Nouveau style. His thesis is that the inspiration for the artistic style of this movement would come from the countryside, from the peasants. To assert his theory, he seeks the roots of the movement by reverencing the rural environment, the home of the peasant. Marcelo Tinoco seeks to reconstruct the world as seen in films such as Fanny & Alexander and Wild Strawberries, by Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, both of which faithfully portray the society of the time.
To achieve in his photographs the same tone and liveliness seen in the light of the Impressionists, Tinoco makes evident the technique used to meticulously "paint" his "living portrays", transforming the reality recorded by his camera into the elaborate and exquisite images seen in his first series. This acknowledgment takes place precisely through the lavish and plastic use of these resources, as he "pastes" his images digitally.
Overlapping shots result in manipulated images on the computer screen, beautiful in its power to transport us in time – which is not always recognized in terms of past, present or future. For the artist, it’s about authoring photographic compositions, where even Paintbrush is used in his own artistic way.
Tinoco makes use of available image-manipulating software to literally paint on his photos without ink, resulting in a style of "pre-photographic" artwork, which mimics the paintings of the Renaissance. His technique could be defined as a photo-painting-frame. Tinoco uses Photoshop features in an explicit manner, without dissimulation. He does not hide the manipulation, nor does he confuse us when creating images pasted onto each other, in order to build his landscaped scene, of a reality that goes beyond the visible world. His constructed images are experiments which expand the notion of photographic language.
The experimental photography by Marcelo Tinoco comes of age as he pushes the boundaries of record, leading the image to an era of post-digital production: he manipulates the photograph so as to suggest timeless and fantastic situations - which were not there before. He merges into the same photo two or more paintings recalling the past, resulting in surreal images of time.
Initially, to achieve these results, and in search of the perfect light for the object of his portrait, he captures images at certain times of day, as did the Impressionist painters; then he reconstructs them on the computer screen, turning photography into a fictional condition, a sort of fantastic realism.
By superimposing, cropping and completing the images with software resources, the photographs produce an extraordinary beauty which narrates fantastic stories, intoxicating to our eyes. The real becomes hyper-real, even surreal, by blending, in one image, the notions of painting with cinematic and theatrical images.
In fact, what is most eye-catching is precisely the beauty of these photographs resulting from a filmic thought in overlapping frames. Unlike a film which links frames to give the notion of movement, Tinoco’s frames are superimposed, freezing the narrative or scene from different movements or moments in a single bold frame, dense with information. They create a photographic condition that messes with our minds, with our imagery of distant epochs, intertwined with current situations. They produce visual sensations through the exuberant intensity of the colors used. They seek to highlight human expressions and conditions, merging the contemporary with the past.
As one analyzes the photos in the series 1900, Belle Époque Rural, one can’t help but be unsure of the exact time when the photographs were taken. Nor can one be sure of the historical moment to which the human types belong, due to the resources used by the artist: he photographs characters of thematic sceneries in amusement parks, as well as men, women and children wearing traditional clothes at parties and dances. To find these characters for his photos of the series 1900, Belle Époque Rural, Tinoco visited parks and folk festivals in Scandinavia and southern France, attended zoos and farms, and visited Chile and southern Brazil in search of rural sites. With this method, he was able to recreate the daily life and customs of the past.
It is not just the opening and closing of the camera shutter which appeals to him. His characteristic interest in images of scenic diorama arose after a visit to the Museum of Natural History in New York, in 2005. In the following year, heavily influenced by this museum experience, he began his experiments in photography.
The taste for this type of photography began when he started searching on the internet for locations to plot and plan his trips - like an "image hunter" in search of ideal landscapes which would serve as settings for his pre-formulated photographic ideas. After the authorial image capturing, comes laboratory work on the computer screen to edit, paste, manipulate and print his invented images. On many occasions, the portrayed workplaces themselves mimicked constructions from the periods being referred to, thus also supporting his“scenographic photographs".