Spanish artist Gori Mora focuses on exploring the myriad effects technology has on social media interactions, our concept of self-perception, and our various other, most intrinsic values, such as love, sexuality, and desire. In fact, Mora considers desire to be one of the main catalysts behind social communication; typically, desire suggests a lack, a sort of void that one wishes to fulfill with external pleasure. In contemporary life, accentuated with new technologies, our bodies become sites of interpretation, almost poetic, if hybridized, or even somehow ‘cyborgian’. Essentially, Mora’s paintings are his own sort of visual study, recording his own perception of reality as understood through a modern technological lens. The Perspex ‘window’ upon which Mora paints references (in no small way) the screen through which we receive information; the dating-apps through which we present and cultivate our online selves; and the palm-sized windows, like crystal balls into which we might see (a version of) reality.
Yet, paradoxically, Mora’s scenes of lovers in repose and leisure are intimate, even sweet, handled with a loving hand and patient brush. Furthermore, his approach is, for all intents and purposes, backward: the artist’s process is inverted, and the most forward-facing elements of the painterly picture must be applied first. Extreme care and planning is necessary when painting on Perspex, as the first brushstroke placed on the support will be the first one seen by a viewer, (which is fundamentally opposite to traditional painting techniques where the first mark is buried deep within the surface of the painting.) In a sense, there is nowhere for Mora to hide. He is metaphorically ‘naked’ – as naked as his subjects. The aesthetic of an exhibition screen is invoked; a world just out of reach that one is at once privy to, yet ever estranged from. And there is a further sort of paradox or riddle to this approach: a blindness, a faithful commitment to and belief in the process. Not entirely unlike the overwhelming panoply of persons and personas facilitated online.
Mora’s artistic practice explores the form of camouflage, mimesis, and appropriation, further confounding the complex relationship between reality and representation. Bodies, revitalized through a virtual space, engage us just as these paintings. But why paintings? Why not video or new-media art? There is an intimacy in painting, a sort of Romantic desire to reconnect to the corporeal, the physical body. The real body. This play between contemporary technology and more traditional means is also a commentary on classical portraiture’s role in courtship before the advent of photography.