Gabriel Acevedo Velarde - Text

Gabriel Acevedo Velarde

Gabriel Acevedo Velarde’s video work is groundbreaking and refreshingly different. Not unlike William Kentridge’s work it is based on the artists own accomplished drawings, which are brought to life with the camera. This is, however, where comparisons end. Animation is a rare and quite new form within the arts, particularly when it is derived from classical drawing. The soundtrack is without dialogue, so the narrative unfolds largely visually.

Acevedo’s distinctive figures tell the artist’s own parables of society and the human condition. Pre-historia, a 30 minute film made from a storyboard of quick drawings on paper is filmed in a raw style, revealing the tape-marks where the paper is held in place. As a conceptual device it functions to expose the creative process and it also serves to remove the viewer one step from the experience of the unfolding narrative.

Despite the conceptualisation, the narrative itself is so explosive that eventually the viewer no longer sees the technique and becomes emotionally drawn into the story. Pre-historia is a dark and twisted version of the Adam and Eve story. It commences with a plane crash, reminiscent of the well documented crash in the Andes 1972, where cannibalism among survivors is said to have occurred. The lone survivor is our protagonist who finds unconventional ways of cloning himself without the aid of Eve. The clones become a growing group as they replicate themselves and eventually resemble a small tribe. The tribe, created unnaturally and on the background of desperation turns out to be vicious and ungrateful to their creator. The film’s narrative has astounding moments of humour and also bizarre horror and yet it is a very astute portrayal of the human condition.

Escenario, a second film which is literally one scene lasting 3mins, is a fully executed animation. The figures are resembling our protagonist in Pre-historia, a recognizable cipher for a human in Gabriel Acevedo’s signature style. Again a group/social dynamic is examined as a surreal scenario. People are guided on a stage, where they are hit by blinding light and upon falling are escorted back off the stage where the join the jostling crowd in the dark. Escenario is a cautionary tale about vanity and herd-like behaviour.
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