Angel Vergara

The work of Spanish artist Angel Vergara (°1958) is concerned with continued research into the power of the image. Through performances, videos, installations and paintings he tests the limits of art and reality. He questions the way the contemporary image shapes our own reality. Every work is an attempt to break through the image and to make its impact come to the surface, on an aesthetic as well as a socio-cultural and political level. Decontextualised images of reality are mediated by the artist and transformed into art. Vergara’s work is the result of a constant dialogue between the artist, the ever transforming reality and its image. He creates a kind of reality ‘in-between’. In this process, the viewer is encouraged to question their way of perceiving the everyday, and the way it is presented to them in an avalanche of images.

De Nekker Tree

hdv video installation, multi-channel sound, 13′ 11″
Commissioned and produced by CONTOUR 7

Angel Vergara chose the garden of the former monastery De Noker as both the backdrop and the subject of his installation. Vergara was inspired to muse on the theme of the enclosed garden, and links this to the idea of an artificial paradise. There is only one tree here, while the rest of the garden is organised in highly decorative geometric forms. It is secluded, inaccessible for outsiders as a utopian island. The presence of the singular tree calls to mind the biblical Garden of Eden, with its centrally located Tree of Knowledge. Knowledge appears to deliver an ambiguous advantage, bringing enlightenment but also a burden. It brings to light the monstrous element in human nature. Similar ambiguity can be found in the idea of the secluded garden. One can ask whether it is to protect or to imprison the people frequenting it. These places can be seen as sources of both delight and torture. Perhaps it is even so that monsters and saints are two aspects of the same, multifaceted human nature. The best example of this is Thomas More himself: sentenced and executed as a dangerous enemy of the Anglican Church, he became a catholic saint several centuries later.