Lovers in the digital age. Fernando Gimeno: Red Light

By Marisol Salanova

The world of techno-consumerism is troubled by love and it has no choice but to change the ways we fall in love, we live it and we split up. A related phenomenon is the transformation, courtesy of Facebook, of the verb “to like” or the meaning of drawing a heart. Social media has been a great platform for self expression. The effects are manifested in new ways, more or less intense that “analog”. A real hug, a kiss, are replaced by a smiley. Some people have no consideration for other people’s feelings, it seems obvious that it is easier to pretend moods through social networks. Maybe that could be a risk of being unhealthy emotionally or are we becoming more emotionally intelligent through this expression?

“Does she loves me like yesterday?” – wondered the boy in front of his computer. –  “Are she still spending time thinking of me? She didn’t like any post on my wall for two days...”

Not being liked represents abandonment. Fernando Gimeno is a young Spanish artistworking in the field of art inspired by this topics. He developed a project for the cultural center La Llotgeta in Valencia, Spain, curated by Nilo Casares and entitled Red Light (11 June – 29 July 2013). His exhibition which combined photography and collage was creating a domestic environment very particular. His early career as a runway model has influenced the aesthetics of his artwork as well as the taste for combining colors and textures but the most interesting of this young talent is his ability to tell a story from digitized life, marked by the technological transformation of social relations, however through analog delicated tools.

Red Light starts about the relationship of the artist with his last girlfriend, however behind his anecdotes there is the germ of a first generation of digital natives. The mobile phone, emails, Facebook, Twitter, those were the busiest places with her, from beginning to end. Same time he was writing and drawing in a notebook everything he thought or felt about it, including pictures of her also of the bed with white sheets they both sometimes shared. That bed reminiscent of Tracey Emin My Bed (1998) bought by Charles Saatchi and displayed as part of the first exhibition when the Saatchi Gallery opened its new premises at County Hall, London. Emin’s bed was presented in the state that she claimed it had been when she said she had not got up from it for several days due to suicidal depression brought on by relationship difficulties. Gimeno’s bed is definitely portrayed after heartbreak. He lies inside, fully covered by the sheet, sad, causing the viewer a strange feeling, upsetting anyone who contemplate the work.

The list of songs they listened together, crossed out, with adhesive on top, framed as a mockery to Spotify or iTunes is one of the representative works by Gimeno. An intense red light crosses most part of the photos referring to sex. Some collages that include a photo of his beautiful mother help to create an intimate aura and stimulate reflection on the female figure.

That girl was unfaithful and he suffered. But he refused to externalize in public areas, he turned everything on paper and walked away from the social media for a while. Now he turns the museum into his own “wall” to post everything about it as an exercise in overcoming an extreme version of deception. According to the book A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments (1978) by Roland Barthes trying to write love is to confront the muck of language; that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little… Anyway the digital native do it.

*First time this article was published in Ivorypress magazine Turn On Art.