The atrium wall of AUCA’s new campus transformed within the scope of the “Artystan” project

The atrium wall of AUCA’s new campus transformed within the scope of the “Artystan” project

July 20, 2015

Rafael Vargas-Suarez, who signs his artworks as "Vargas-Suarez Universal", is a Mexican-born artist living in New York and working internationally. He studied astronomy and art history at the University of Texas at Austin and moved to New York City in 1997. He is primarily known for large-scale murals, paintings, drawings, and sound recordings.

Currently, Rafael is working on a piece of art on the main wall of the central atrium in the new AUCA campus as part of an international interdisciplinary “Artystan” project , which is supported by the Christensen Fund.

“Basically what I am doing here is a sketch of what next summer will be a final art piece. So it is a temporary piece specially made for the grand opening of AUCA on October 31. I am leaving to US in the end of July, and will come back to Bishkek in winter. Then in collaboration with another artist from Tashkent we will create another piece, where we are going to use the silk technique as well as other different materials. And then I am trying to get actual rocks and minerals from here in Kyrgyzstan maybe from the mines or mountains to be included into work.

So the work is a reference to the landscape and the geology, but it is also done through geometry that is related to technology and chemistry. It is an abstract version of geology and landscape references.

This art represents mountains, so here you can see different peaks of the mountains. There are several references: to the structure of the building (specifically, the roof), and also to the background behind AUCA, where there are also mountains.

All the artists of the Artystan project have a lot of ideas. And as for myself, I am interested in taking some of the chee technique, the silk, the actual fabric. Here you see these dots, these white circular holes, which lead to other parts of the building. There are similar dots on the fourth floor, so I thought that it would be interesting to make a connection between what is drawn here and something that is going to be upstairs. And hopefully, the final version of this art work will be done next summer, but we don’t know yet.

I call these shapes vectors. They come from mathematics. And basically, these vectors are lines from point A to point B, which show you direction. Moreover, nowadays we actively use technology whether in our work or personal life or just for fun. And everything is on our screens, and has pixels. So I also think of this as little pixels. Therefore it is also a reference not just to mathematics and landscape, but to technology, connectivity, Internet and networks. So this is not only visual references, but also the cultural references. The way we use technology now,” - Rafael says.

The “Artystan” project brings together artists, artisans, designers, and curators through a series of collaborative workshops, creative dialogue, and ongoing exhibitions that will inform the designs and fabrication of several public works of art at the new AUCA campus. The project highlights the relationship between people and the environment, fosters relationships between cultures, builds on the artistic heritage of Central Asia, and creates new opportunities for creation and collaboration among local, regional, and international artists.

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