Madriz exhibition

Elvira Rilova.

 

 

It’s the uncomfortable stillness

of a photograph,

the strange attic in plazas and workshops,

the exhausted flashlight that reveals

millennial youths, inexperienced memories,

empty cans and dry paint.

 

The Elegies of Juan Vida – Cities I

Luis García Montero

Fernando Maselli is an effective photographer, with very little material he is capable of arranging and questioning large spaces, inanimate objects or urban landscapes, that are the constants in this exhibition: Scaffolds, Industrial Estates, Plaza Mayor, Aerial Views, Planned Spaces, Still Lifes and Monuments, are the series that form it.

Throughout his photography, pictorial effect is underlined thanks to color variations respectively highlighted through games of light and shade; and on the other hand, he uses and arranges an element as an architectural value: the flowing space or vaccum that trasverses and sensitizes, in moderation, the free intervals between matter. All series have a common denominator, Madrid, an urban (and rural) axis. A city that Maselli venerates and interprets through critical procedures to which the author submits it, questioning it as an autonomous work of art, enriching it despite the graying overview of the current situation and measuring the possibilities of its social role in formats like squares, monuments, buildings and public sculptures, in which the human element is sometimes involved, but without diminishing the prominence of architectural elements.

His Aerial Landscapes are shown bare and without artifice, leaving the viewers to decide upon their nature, creating spaces where land has been completely stripped off accessory garments and where we can hardly recognize buildings or real references, while it remains to be the countryside of Madrid.
With this expressiveness, he reminds us of territories of erosion and iron, of lava lands, where landscapes vibrate and celebrate the echoes of ashes of burned forests, a field of lichen and crops, that has been deconstructed and rebuilt from a collage of photographs.

The series dedicated to architecture; Industrial Estates, Plaza Mayor and Planned Spaces feature, however, a silent element, so alien to our Madrid, so frantic, that more than a cry can be heard. All details, all elements are valued just as they appear in reality, all are highlighted with the same accuracy, even the human element, which he sometimes introduces in situ or digitally, adding it naturally just as another component. Maselli gives us an idea of what we could get to see if we made a very careful observation of the urban landscape. His is not a scenic view that sets up a visual hierarchy in the traditional sense, but one that consists in a faithful portrait, made with amazing accuracy, exceeding the capturing capacity of the human eye.

In these pictures he plays with light and shade and although the color palette tends towards gray, the purity of whites glow, being this cold but powerful light, the winter light of Madrid, the main character in this photograph.

In the Sculptures series, instead, well known sculptures located in crowded Madrid plazas are decontextualized and thus strike with the strength of their heightened individuality. When the viewer meets these statues, the first feeling is that of surprise due to their singularity. This display of singularity is based on two principles: the first one consists in the preservation of the concept of sculpture as the art of volume or three dimensional space, and the second one is the use of classicist iconography that reminds us of statues in museums, crashed against the codes of current imagery.

As a result, by introducing the statues as distant from the viewer, this work thus fills the hierarchical transition between the plain view of the observer and the superior universe of photography.

In the line of urban architectures, Scaffold series offers a daring vision of the massive uncontrolled building phenomenon we lived in Madrid in recent years. The structures lining the buildings acquire their own personality, becoming rich fabrics that fall gracefully over the irons, which in turn become columns that tectonically support the theater curtain, where occasional construction workers appear as supporting actors in the play.

The Still Lifes by Maselli, so daily, are a reflection of fleeting images of the customary (in advertising and media) that take their brief condition (and that refer to film, television, video, Internet), contrasting those images to an iconography coined along the centuries. Works carried out with a desire of perpetuity, as a tribute to the still lifes of the XVII and XVIII centuries.

This exhibition is an example of iconographic singularity that does not avoid veiled criticism, and a continuous reference to Madrid, or rather the concept each of us has of the city, so that we can question it through photography as it places the viewer before realities that are not earthly despite seeming so. Fernando Maselli represents the poetic view of a city that breathes, where each photograph is a conquest, because we always see more than we look.