Hollow Pond
David Ferrando Giraut

26 January – 25 February 2024 
Opening : 25th January, 6:30pm

A tap is dripping over a kitchen sink; a stubborn, metronomic soundtrack to the humdrum of home life. Sun pours in through the window, bright specks of light flaring on the metallic surfaces and standing water, while in the garden outside tree leaves sway gently in the summer breeze. The film cuts to a body of water full of mossy algae, whose painterly beauty belies their bleak origin, spawn by environmental pollution. These kind of encroaching, hybridised scenarios recur through this film. As Ferrando Giraut’s Super 8 camera settles on the paths of Hollow Pond—a 13-acre park with a man-made pond in the north-east London borough of Waltham Forest—the bucolic recreation of its users he records is constantly being pierced by the discordant noise of cars and motorbikes swarming in the adjoining A12 road.

We soon find ourselves eavesdropping on a man, in what seems to be a conversation on some repair works to stop a leak threatening the integrity of his house. It is a story as old as time. For millennia humans have tried to harness the power of water, with remarkable results for the most part, yet small leaks and biblical floods persist, hampering our everyday existence. The man next recounts a dream he’s had in which putting his hands inside a freezing puddle triggers an ominous shift in his perceptual experience. Water is a friend, but also a foe, seems to suggest Ferrando Giraut, who is acutely attuned to the potential for horror percolating much of our relationship with the landscape. What might water be standing for in our collective unconscious? What sort of intrusive fear or anxiety are we trying to contain with our attempts to tame it? We burrow our way into terrains and landscapes, we kill and extract, drill and erect. This makes us feel we have the upper hand, that we can control the uncontrollable. But it seems increasingly obvious that nature was just biding its time, and that time is running out.

The sculptural piece that accompanies the film compounds the sense of dread of our eeriest encounters with nature. Combining inorganic, man-made objects with organic ones, he again points at this uneasy relationship. The most striking element is a large stick Ferrando Giraut found in the titular park, so intricate and elaborate as to seem hand carved. At one end of the branch there is what appears to be monstrous head—a gargoyle, a basilisk or a demon, depending on your inclinations. It is an uncanny reminder of what natural forces could conjure up when left to their own devices.

Yet, Hollow Pond is not a work specifically about climate change or impending environmental disaster. Here Ferrando Giraut seems more interested in the act of closely looking and capturing images in an indexical way, applying that same phenomenological acuteness to the aural dimension by employing surround sound. Light and texture are also key, and the way his gaze is mesmerised by the shards of light and how they flicker on various surfaces is redolent of the pictorial style of the Impressionists. In this sense, Hollow Pond can be seen as both a point of departure and comeback to art making for this artist, who has spent the last few years focusing on the fields of sound and music as well as directing videos for several bands. His most recent moving image works, like CATOPTROPHILIA(2013) and The Accursed Stare (2017), were research-based film essays of a highly conceptual nature, where CGI and digital technologies played a fundamental role. The more observational, loose quality of Hollow Pondas well as its analogue essence, on the other hand, renders it closer the photographic form, while returning to some of the themes and the media of earlier works such as LOSS (2011), where the ghost of the Super 8 family films that Ferrando Giraut’s father made in the 1960s was also very much present, haunting the images.

By Lorena Muñoz-Alonso

David Ferrando Giraut lives and works between London and Gijón ES. His practice mainly includes video, installation and sound, and focuses on the hybridisation of natural elements, technology and sociopolitical organisation. He holds a MFA from Goldsmiths College, London, and was selected for the LUX Associate Programme, London, in 2010.

Selected solo exhibitions include The Accursed Stare, Tenderpixel, London, and vdrome.org (2017);  La Part Maudite, Galeria Luis Adelantado, Valencia ES (2018); Notes for a Genealogy of the Mineral Image, Galería Bacelos, Madrid ES (2015) and Centro Párraga, Murcia ES (2016); Vortex, ARTBO Solo Projects, Bogotá CO (2015); Pantalla CCCB – A Month an Artist, CCCB, Barcelona ES (2015); Speech Prosthesis: An Alchemical Conversation, LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón ES (2014); Catoptrophilia, The Green Parrot, Barcelona ES (2014); MF Suite, ARCO Galería Bacelos, Madrid ES (2013); Cristalino, Galería Bacelos, Madrid and Vigo ES (2012); The Fantasist, MACUF, A Coruña ES (2011); Journeys End in Lovers Meetings, Galería Visor, Valencia ES (2010).

Selected group shows and screenings include Super Superlike, Centro de Cultura Contemporánea Condeduque, Madrid (2022); Cosntelaciones de un todo infinito, Centre del Carme, Valencia ES (2017); Multiverso, Fundacion BBVA, Madrid ES (2016); Feeling in the Eyes, Tenderpixel, London  (2016); Producciones y procesos en la colección DKV, MARCO, Vigo ES (2015); Impakt Festival: Soft Machines, Utrecht NL (2014); Topophobia, Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London, The Bluecoat, Liverpool and Spacex, Exeter UK (2012); 41 International Film Festival, Rotterdam NL (2012) and Against Gravity, ICA, London (2010).

Exhibition Hours
Fri-Sat 12:00-18:00
Sun 12:00-16:00