Agrofilia is a love declaration, wrapped in obsession and fuelled by Carlos Fernandez’ love for agriculture and all the processes involved in this field of knowledge. The artist from Costa Rica presents an intimate portrait of this passion by bridging together these processes and playing with the different layers hidden in the act of “fieldwork”, a term commonly used within the geographic sciences to describe methods of investigation and analysis strategies which he employs to talk about the sometimes forgotten and often mundane agricultural labour.
The knowledge generated by the artist’s investigations are laid out in a layered rubric of metaphor, figures and relations which put the body in centre stage. The body is the basis of agricultural practices, but nowadays its development is ever more dependant on automatization and robotic instruments, able to carry out the work with astonishing precision. Though this may be good for production, it separates the body from the crop, the hand from the soil and the body, as a tool to explore space, from the field.
The video “Agrofit” introduces the idea of the workout bringing it out of the gym and into the field. The performance not only seeks to include all of those involved, but also functions as an educational video. With his experience in teaching, Carlos is convinced of the importance of body training as a way of exercising the mind and labour as a playful but highly political way of developing posture. Care as a product of agricultural labour and a physical process that allows our bodies to resonate with our minds. An embodied practice that quite literally brings food to the table and feeds the mind.
The Drawing displayed, “Trazando Vínculos” or “Tracing Links”, are a synthesis of the different temporalities of this work. They embody the transition from fieldwork to nourishment, ending at the moment when food arrives to the table and becomes a social act. It is an exploration of the different experiences of these agents into one single perspective.
The work “Patrones” or “Patterns” explores the formal language of the crop field by abstracting form and colour to create kaleidoscopic versions of this reality. These backgrounds trace movement through every stroke and provide rhythm to the exhibition, while hovering above the background, we can identify the single figurative element of the series and what Carlos considers the most important element of agronomy- the Hat, his hat.