In the same way as other artists, Manss Aval – a Californian lover of nature, Life and its varied possibilities of transformation and change – is both a painter and a photographer. However, the photographer in him strongly prevails.
As we know from the end of the 1960’s, photography was supplanted by an objective documentation of reality, first with television and then computers. So with its vocation resized, in a certain sense, photography retreated into itself – the same occurred for painting at the end of the nineteenth century – to become almost self-referential.
As Giulio Argan rightly remarked as early as 1989, “it was through the confrontation with photography, that art gradually broke away to differentiate itself from the classic concept of mimesis and to form its own morphology and lexicon, without naturalistic roots. But the division did not last, photography entered that domain too: it presented itself as a more conceptual than technical action, potentially as creative as art and even more so.” So photography and the enjoyment of it became purely conceptual, so much so that this technique definitively entered the universe of Art and it was possible to see clear similarities in the various currents of contemporary art of the time, such as Informel, Lyrical abstraction, French Nouveau Réalisme, New Dada and Minimalism.
Throughout his professional life, Manss Aval has favored two clearly-documented paths that are seemingly contradictory but which actually complement his personality. On the one hand, we see geometric dynamism made up of symmetries – chromatic or even veering towards an icy black and white (see the Symmetries-monochrome series) – in his digital shots, surreally inspired by futuristic photography, which emanate evanescent fluids that in turn recall optical and kinetic art. On the other, we witness the rigor of a pure and essential shot, again in color or black and white, but one that is figurative, taken from the world that we observe every day (an elderly man sitting on a bench, a dead leaf in Still Moments, a flight of birds or a waterfall).
Interestingly, Manss Aval may experiment with the same shot – with its formal analogies both to traditional photography or manipulated with a post-production elaboration – either in a black and white or a color version, the latter then sometimes finding its pictorial evolution in an oil painting on canvas. Undoubtedly, there are two main factors that have influenced Manss Aval and these experiments: Minimalism and lyrical, broadly symbolic, suggestions.
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