Andrés Baltar‘s CIDADE MUDA, the latest proposal by Carlos Puga as curator of this exhibition hall, will be available until 21 September at the Sala de Fotografía Sargadelos in Vigo.
In order not to ruin the effect that caused me to enter the room and find the work of the young photographer from Lugo (Spain), I resist this time to include any image of the exhibition space, but the disturbing image of the program that was delivered during the inauguration last June 28 was preceded by a discussion with the author moderated by Armando Garcia, graduate in Fine Arts and professor of photography at the Antonio Failde School of Art and Design in Ourense.
CIDADE MUDA, is the result of an Erasmus program of the author to study a semester at the University of Art in Tirana (Albania). The first thing that shakes you as you enter the room are the deep blacks who dominate most of the images, characters who seem to move in the shadows of a reality that oppresses them. A certain tragic feeling surrounds the characters, perhaps a reflection of what Baltar defines as economic violence, which seems to be installed in a country that lives on the peripheries of the European economic bonanza. Although in some images one can guess some approximation or empathy between subject and photographer, the gaze retains a certain distance, which seems to be accentuated with the dominant darkness. This circumstance, however, helps to create a stage in which the actors are more uninhibited. Is there perhaps an intention to dramatize the tragedy in which the Albanian people participate, representing a script they haven’t even chosen?
It is not, however, a gaze that pleases in common places, stereotypes. Baltar avoids compassion or a predatory attitude in this photo essay, and the result is an honest narrative that gives a glimpse of the subtle violence that decorates this city that these characters silently wander through. Although darkness is dominant, there are corners and visual edges in the project, which provoke small shocks and questions. Even within documentalism realm, a certain poetic atmosphere, this tenebrist tinge and the absence of specific spatial and temporal references -it could be any city-, incline the spectator to perceive the work as an author’s project.
The 23 photographs are accompanied by an audiovisual montage that can also be seen in the hall, which includes interviews and other photographs that complement the vision of the exhibition from a perhaps more documentary position.
Exhibition curator: Carlos Puga
Person in charge exhibition: Xabier Fernandez
Production company: Copias de Autor (Alejandro Novoa)