Born in Madrid (1964) to a Spanish father and an American mother, Daniel Canogar´s life and career have bridged Spain and the U.S. Photography was his earliest medium of choice, receiving an M.A. from NYU and the International Center for photography in 1990, but he soon became interested in the possibilities of the projected image and installation art.
He has created permanent public art installations with flexible and rigid LED screens, including Aqueous at The Sobrato Organization (Mountain View, CA, 2019); Pulse, at Zachry Engineering Education Complex in Texas A&M University (College Station, TX, 2018); Tendril for Tampa International Airport (Tampa, FL, 2017) and Cannula, Xylem and Gust II at BBVA Bank Headquarters (Madrid, 2018). He has also created public monumental artworks in different mediums such as Constellations, the largest photo-mosaic in Europe created for two pedestrian bridges over the Manzanares River, in MRío Park (Madrid, 2010) and Asalto, a series of video-projections presented on various emblematic monuments, including the Arcos de Lapa (Rio de Janeiro, 2009), the Puerta de Alcalá (Madrid, 2009) and the Church of San Pietro in Montorio (Rome, 2009). Also part of the series is Storming Times Square, screened on 47 of the LED billboards in Times Square (New York, NY, 2014).
His solo shows include Surge, a temporary installation for the Grand Lobby Wall at Moss Arts Center, Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA, 2019); “Echo” at Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum (Lafayette, LA, 2019); “Melting the Solids” at Wilde Gallery (Geneva, 2018); “Fluctuations” at Sala Alcalá 31 (Madrid, 2017); “Echo” at bitforms gallery (New York, NY, 2017) and Max Estrella Gallery (Madrid, 2017); “Sikka Ingentium” at Museum Universidad de Navarra (Pamplona, Spain, 2017); “Quadratura” at Espacio Fundación Telefónica (Lima, 2014); “Vórtices”at the Fundación Canal Isabel II (Madrid, 2011); Synaptic Passage, an installation commissioned for the exhibition “Brain: The Inside Story” at the American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY, 2010) and two installations at the Sundance Film Festival (Park City, UT, 2011).
He has exhibited in Reina Sofia Contemporary Art Museum, Madrid; Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio; Offenes Kulturhaus Center for Contemporary Art, Linz; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfallen, Düsseldorf; Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin; Borusan Contemporary Museum, Istanbul; American Museum of Natural History, New York; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh; Palacio Velázquez, Madrid; Max Estrella Gallery, Madrid; bitforms gallery, New York; Art Bärtschi & Cie Gallery, Geneva; Eduardo Secci Contemporary, Florence; the Alejandro Otero Museum, Caracas and the Santa Mónica Art Center, Barcelona.
Memory, and its loss, are a central theme in my work. Unless we remember, we are condemned to an amnesiac present, textureless and flat, lacking the perspective of time.
My recent artwork tackles such issues in different ways. I have 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 I have used in my art, are all depositories of our memories. When tossing them out, we are also discarding an important part of ourselves. By projecting video animations onto old media, I attempt to reignite life back into them so as to reveal the shared memory they hold within.
I have also projected large-scale video animations on emblematic monuments and historic buildings in cities across the globe. I contact local communities and create events that allow participants to project themselves literally, and metaphorically, onto their surroundings. In this way they claim the history of their city as their own. Using green-screen technology, I often record performers acting out climbing motions that when projected onto a building’s façade, create the illusion of their ascent to the top. By “conquering” these buildings, they become active participants of a shared history, rather than mere spectators of an urban reality.
I like to break away from the confines of the flat screen and create three-dimensional installations that conceptualize media as sculpture. My LED screens are clear examples of this approach. After years of research, I have developed a flexible LED tile that allows me to create screens with complex curving shapes. Thus, I can make screens that bend and twist and respond to the specific features of the architecture that contains them. These works invite viewers to seek out multiple perspectives in discovering the artwork, incorporating their movements in and around the work as a crucial component of their experience. To be a spectator all too often means to remain on the sidelines of what we are watching. I want my artwork to activate an engaged viewer, one that experiences seeing as grounded in a moving sentient body. With this full-bodied gaze, I believe we not only have a richer experience of our world, but are also able to claim a place in it for ourselves.