Jordi Calafell
4 November to 3 December
Wednesday to Saturday 10.00 to 13.00 and 16.00 to 20.00. Sundays and public holidays, 11.00 to 14.00.
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It’s not for history that I feel nostalgic. It’s for geography.

Joan Margarit

The difference between the dead and the unborn is that the dead have this memory. As the number of dead increases, the memory enlarges.

John Berger

Caminant en estat d’alerta. Baridà (Walking in a State of Alert) is photographic project on everything that the passing of time has made invisible in a valley in the foothills of the Pyrenees. The series that it comprises, the result of practising photography while roaming around the countryside and the streets, belong to a personal record and expand to the past with the desire of evoking, as it sparkles in the instant of danger, what the natural cycles and a cultural inertia have displaced to the limbo of invisibility. The acceptance of that invisibility constitutes a kind of document of barbarism, an ahistorical and conformist view of the world with the goal of collective consumption that redeems us from a critical look at the past and the territory.

The photographs document the roaming and, in the last instance, construct a fragmented and incomplete view of the countryside, but they are also documents that visualise: the itinerary as praxis of exploration and metaphor of a transit, the need to question all that seems immutable or the tension between a notion of the countryside isolated in pure time and the historical drive. Finally the photographs, or rather my landscape, constitute the start of my experience.

The indexing character of analogue photography is consubstantial with the project as the very photographs that document the rambles and the trails through the country are always a physical support, whether film or paper, with the trace of light reflected by the objects in front of the camera’s lens. These traces are integrated in a chain of indexes of remote origins each of which precedes the one that follows. Above this imagined stratigraphy I pass through an inherited landscape following the vestiges of former landscapes that no longer exist, taking photographs (of myself) that record a present that, by being documented, becomes automatically the bygone and, finally, that make up the index and the only proof of what I have been doing. The final photograph can be interpreted as the representation of a state of question or as an image that wishes to trap all the past thus, the photographic process adds a significant supplementary charge to the project and each photograph becomes an image-metaphor of all the bygone instants.

Every photograph is an act of self-affirmation, as it is my visual note of where I come from, where I am going and what I see. And this easily drifts into self-portrait. The representation of the body in a celebration of the senses is a metaphor of living in an inner world and distancing one’s own limits as exploration continues. But beyond representation, taking photographs – and of myself – while I walk confers on photography an absolute character over my own experience since I allow myself to be on one side and the other of the camera. In this way the photographic camera, which separates the world into two realities that can never coincide, is converted into a device by means of which the photographer is able to transit between the two apparently incompatible realities: memory/history, dead/living, place/territory.

Jordi Calafell

Jordi Calafell is a self-taught photographer and graduate in contemporary history from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (1984). He develops his projects exclusively with photochemical techniques and in black and white, and personally does his own printing.

His works have been displayed regularly since 1991 and form part of public collections (CCCB, MNAC and Fons d’Art de la Generalitat de Catalunya) and private ones.

Between 1991 and 1996 his photographs were characterised by a rhetoric proper to abstract realism (El desassossec del senyal acústic, 1993; Barcelona a vol d’artista and Les Geòrgiques, 1994; L’espant de l’alpinista, 1996).

Since 1996 his personal work has acquired a more documentary register and is developed in some valleys of the Pyrenees (Baridà, 2008-2013) and farming districts of Lleida and Tarragona where the impacted caused by the wind turbines has changed the landscape irreversibly and radically. His landscapes invite reflection on the tension between nostalgia and historical time.

He has worked in the Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona (AFB) since 1988, where he commissions work as well as other activities in publishing the photographic heritage of the city. Among the commissioned exhibitions are 1909: fotografia, ciutat i conflicte (AFB, 2009), Jacques Léonard. Barcelona gitana (AFB, 2011), A propòsit de l’11 de Setembre (AFB, 2014), Esteve Lucerón. La Perona. L’espai i la gent (AFB, 2021) and Jordi Pol. Entre la multitud (AFB, 2022). He has published Barcelona. 100 fotografías que deberías conocer (Ed. Lunwerg, 2011).

In collaboration with the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona he wrote the script and text for the documentary El cine en casa. De la ilusión al documento of the programme Soy cámara (coproduced by RTVE and the CCCB, 2012).

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