Javier Riera: Illuminating the Connection Between Nature and Man

by Sarah GianelliPosted on

Inspired in part by the Land Art movement of the late 1960s, Javier Riera’s “luminance interventions” — geometric patterns projected directly on natural landscapes — are there one moment and gone the next with the flip of a switch.

Working with computers to create his own designs as well as drawing from ancient patterns like the Fibonacci sequence, mandalas and labyrinths, Riera’s work explores the connection between nature and man, religion and science, and serves as a reminder of the time before the Copernican Revolution when there was little or no separation between the two.

“I think that geometry is the best language to describe the pulse of nature’s depths,” says Riera. “What happens in landscape can be explained with mathematics, physics and geometry, and it is the same for all of the universe — the material as well as the immaterial. Geometry is the visual representation of it.”

Riera prefers to keep the exact locations of his projections secret so that they are not tied to any specific place, and emphasize nature’s universality. Occasionally, the artist works in public spaces where people can visit the installations, but most often Riera sets up his projections far from urban areas and the only way to experience his installations are through photography.

Riera’s upcoming exhibition, which opens on June 21 at the Niemeyer Center in his hometown of Avilés, Spain, is somewhat of a departure from his usual format, but he is still using light to illuminate the complex relationship between man and the natural world. For this site specific piece, Riera designed deer silhouettes, evocative of prehistoric cave paintings, to be projected on the futuristic architecture of the museum. “For the primitive human, cave drawings were a kind of invocation for animal capture, which was necessary to survival,” he says. “What I’m proposing is a new kind of invocation — for a comprehensive closeness to the animal world, and a new way of thinking about our survival in relation to nature.”


Projection at the Niemeyer Center.