Exhibition Madriz Project

Sala Libertad 22, Madrid, 2012

Critical text, Elvira Rilova


I do not know well

What city was that

in which the light had the appearance of a flower


Persistence of oblivion, Felipe Benítez Reyes


Images spreads questions, visual poems that hide a report , snapshots verses walking down the streets, squares, bars, balconies, buildings. Madriz is a is a tour of Madrid today but pierced by the ghosts of his past, an invitation to look at the city, perhaps rediscover, from its deep contrasts, its almost constant stimuli and its paradoxes. These series were born initially as an assignement from Madriz magazine to illustrate their covers between 2009 and 2012, but later the artist completed and expanded them for different exhibits.

What first strikes in all the series Madriz is its light, its skies , its pulsating colored even the  images in black and white or in the autumn skies images. The energy and vibrancy of this great city are a complement tha the photographer uses as a pretext to melt in that so characteristic luminosity painting its streets, traffic lights, their days and hours. This Madrid sun without retouching , forced the artist to capture images at different times and for several days, this light, combines the distance between heaven and earth, the distance between light and humans, and the mysterious comings and turns created between them.

The images have been digitally treated from the original, clean and carefully for symmetry and composition,  containing that purity of lines, extolling the uniqueness of each space with a characteristic ingredient. The artist attempted to exploit the full potential of each place captured in order to evoke producing a curious counterpoint between minimalist photographs (Monuments, Views Air) that integrate well with the more elaborate images that recall scenes and sounds of city as Plaza Mayor, Planned Spaces o15M. The result in all cases is an ordered and idealized conception of something that already exists, a personal vision that the photographer has been stored as a sediment to form a particular graphic encyclopedia. When looking through the viewfinder of the camera, these are your reference latent image through digital retouching and manages to get the perfect form, the encounter with geometry shapes and the absolute imagined city.

All series has an affinity with the place where the snapshot was taken, and their common denominators wich are light, time and space, are interrelated in different rhythms with great integrity. The thematic , despite being very different, containing a delicate narrative. Except Air views ( which refer to non-urban, rural and royal a few kilometers from the capital Madrid) and Still Lifes, with its emphasis on an inner landscape, homely and quotidian, the rest of the series is purely urban: Industrial unit as a key time,  cityscapes which are leaders in the collective imagination as Plaza Mayor, or the Scaffold series, visual manipulation that surface in pictorial key and constant references to historical events that have marked  Madrid in recent years and the life of its inhabitants, such as public protests or the bursting of the housing bubble.

One of the common points of the series that make Madriz is undoubtedly, that reveals the extent of the human dimension in the urban context. This photographer uses various resources such as the use of anonymous people he portrays in a city that is the setting of your story with an almost narrative dimension. At other times the human figure does not even appear, leaving the photographer’s predilection for those times when the human presence fades or disappears for a moment (as in Scaffolds , where we can feel that the workers will return for their lunch anytime or 15M where the tarps are a beautiful metaphor for the thousands of souls who were protesting under them) or the tendency to look for places that stopped being, whose characteristics are hidden or nearly marginal, as we see in the series Industrial Units. In contrast, in other series, the human presence leaves the stage directly. These gaps are filled with information and attractions that they may, among other things, explain many things to say and without a direct and obvious human presence. Special mention deserves the Still Lifes series where the photographer does his unique tribute to the Spanish still lifes of the seventeenth and eighteenth from usual and everyday images that concisely represent the ingredients in recipes like Madrid stew or shrimp scampi. This will appeal to the taste memory of the viewer, taking him to Madrid bars and restaurants, households and families, inevitably, also part of an urban landscape, intimate and full of memories and associations.

The photographer manages to capture in this particular combination of urban images all personal impulses, his vital expertise and its foreign vision and at the same time perfectly integrated, leaving a mark that defines him as an artist and person. The city is the space in which you become aware of your own ephemeral , temporary condition of product shelf life and that´s what Fernando Maselli captures with his camera: Madrid as the place in which one is born and dies countless times.