Daniel Canogar was born in 1964 in Madrid, Spain. He holds a Masters’ degree in Photography from New York University’s International Center of Photography (1990) and a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication from the Complutense University of Madrid. He lives and works in Madrid and New York City.
Canogar’s fascination with the technological history of optical devices, such as magic lanterns, panoramas and zoetropes, inspired him to create his own projection devices. The resulting artworks are mobile-like hanging sculptures that project images onto the surrounding walls. Canogar projects large-scale video animations on emblematic monuments and historic buildings in cities across the globe. By conquering the buildings, they become active participants of a shared history. He has developed a flexible LED tile that allows him to create screens with complex curving shapes. These works invite viewers to seek out multiple perspectives in discovering the artwork, incorporating their movements in and around the work.
With the advent of digital technology, Canogar continued re-conceptualizing visual media as sculpture. By projecting animations onto salvaged obsolete electronics, for example, he was able to metaphorically reveal the collective dreams trapped within DVDs, old calculators, video-game consoles or found computer hard drives. Also notable are Canogar’s public artworks using flexible LED screens. Like with fiber optic cables a decade earlier, he once again reinvents an existing technology to suit his artistic explorations; by fabricating flexible LED tiles, he is able to create twisting ribbon-like screens for atriums and public spaces.
Other public works include the Asalto series, projected onto emblematic monuments in several cities. Depicting climbing bodies, these projects reference historic events, such as the storming of the Bastille and the collapse of the Berlin Wall, or present migratory border crossings. Memory and its loss are a central theme in his work. Unless we remember, we are condemned to an amnesiac present, textureless and flat, lacking the perspective of time. His recent artwork tackles such issues in different ways. He has scoured junkyards, recycling centers and flea markets, looking for examples of aging technologies that defined our existence in the not-so-distant past. What we throw away holds an accurate portrait of who we were. VHS tapes, 35 mm film, hard discs, CDs, to name just a few obsolete mediums that he has used in art, are all depositories of our memories. When tossing them out, we are also discarding an essential part of ourselves. By projecting video animations onto old media, he attempts to reignite life back into them so as to reveal the shared memory they hold within.
To be a spectator all too often means to remain on the sidelines of what we are watching. Canogar wants his artwork to activate an engaged viewer, one that experiences seeing as grounded in a moving sentient body. With this full-bodied gaze, the artist believes we not only have a richer experience of our world but are also able to claim a place in it for ourselves.
Solo exhibitions of Canogar’s work include the Sala Verónicas, Murcia; Fundación Telefónica Lima; Bildmuseet Museum of Contemporary Art and Visual Culture in Umeå, Sweden; El Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo (EAC), Montevideo; art ON, Istanbul; and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Gas Natural Fenosa, A Coruña. His work has been exhibited at the Reina Sofia Contemporary Art Museum, Madrid; the Palacio Velázquez, Madrid; Max Estrella Gallery, Madrid; Filomena Soares Gallery, Lisbon; Guy Bärtschi Gallery, Geneve; Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea, Milano; the Santa Mónica Art Center, Barcelona; the Alejandro Otero Museum, Caracas; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio; the Offenes Kulturhaus Center for Contemporary Art, Linz; the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfallen, Dusseldorf; Hamburger Banhof Museum, Berlin; Borusan Contemporary Museum, Istanbul and the American Museum of Natural History, New York.