These Photographs Toy with the Inner-Geometries of Nature.

Imagine a parallel world where the geometry of natural landscapes is made visually explicit. This is a world that photographer and artist Javier Riera envisions in his images of light projections onto the terrain around him in his latest series Landscape Light Interventions.


The Madrid-based artist has long been fascinated with the relationship between landscape and geometry, with this series being part of an ongoing project he started back in 2008.

Valleys sweep into structural patterns and trees contort into geometrical shapes, all the while Javier’s images transport you into the essence of nature. Reminiscent of the Land Art movement, Javier’s light installations cast realistic dimensions onto different landscapes, creating an awe-factor for his audience and followers.

We sat down with Javier and asked him the process behind these light sculptures.

THE PLUS: Tell us more about yourself.
Javier Riera:
My work has always been related to nature. My formation was as a painter, and at a certain moment I felt the need to work on nature. I think what I do is a bit like light painting. However, nature is not a blank canvas, but a full of life and overflowing space that contains the great mystery of existence as we know it. My work arises from an experience of amazement and communication with the places where I work.


TP: What sparked your inspiration to blend nature and the use of light?
I have always been fascinated by the night within nature for its mysterious and transcendent character. It offers a chance to have a moment of privacy with the depth of the universe, so to speak. I started working with light during golden hour – that period of time that passes from the sunset until the night falls completely. At that time, there are very important changes: some animals end their day while others are getting up. The wind, the temperature or the humidity suffer remarkable alterations, but above all, the light changes very quickly and the blue sky gives way to darkness and stars. Your gaze is recalibrated to the great temporal-space distances of the universe, not visible during the day.

There is something very revealing to me in the environment at that time. Adding artificial light at that moment, making the light that was still in the environment live with my projections, was for me a way of living together with nature. I was offered the possibility to intervene, just like the artists of the Land Art of the 60s but without leaving any trace of that intervention. This is important for me.


TP: How do you map out the patterns you use?
What I am looking for with my work, is an effect that I would call resonance. I believe that when I find the right geometry for a place, it becomes the key to open an experience of visibility in that place, extending our perception of reality towards a dimension of spaces that was previously hidden.

TP: A lot of the lights you use are geometric patterns or shapes, is there a reason for this?
Geometry is the language capable of describing everything that happens in the universe, both in matter and in energy. I think that is why, from the relationship between geometry and landscape, a kind of harmony that can reveal aspects of nature that are not visible is derived. There is a seemingly difficult relationship between geometric accuracy and landscape irregularity, but at a deeper level there is an essential relationship between them.


TP: How do you seek out the public spaces where you are going to install the projects?
My work began as an activity on the landscape, which in principle took place in places without public and therefore I started taking pictures of it. But now, my interventions in public spaces are a fundamental part of my work. I think that direct contact of people with art is something very positive. The projects usually arise from proposals I receive, and so they often suggest places to me where my work makes sense.

TP: Your Landscape Light Interventions has been ongoing for a long time now. How did it start?
The first experiences are from 2008 on the occasion of an exhibition at the Museo Reina Sofía. I think since then, my work has become more complex when I started drawing with a mathematical program, but in essence, I would say there is no evolution, the search is just the same.


TP: What is your favourite part of creating the light interventions?
The best moment to me is when I feel that a particular drawing has an essential communication with a place. Something that only happens occasionally, and often in an unexpected way. It is that resonance to which I referred earlier; when drawing seems to connect with something latent in that place. It is something difficult to explain, but I feel it has an enormously positive, transformative power.