Salamanca - Un proyecto fotográfico

Photographs 2001
Catalogue & exhibition

These photographs are the result of a commission from the European City of Culture Salamanca 2002. Curator Alberto Martín had selected 6 artists to work on Salamanca - Un proyecto fotográfico including Lynne Cohen, Michael Danner, Candida Höfer, Valérie Juve, Xavier Ribas and Humberto Rivas. My work investigates the housing estates orbiting the historic town center of Salmanca.

ESSAY RAMÓN ESPARZA

But there is no such distinction in the spaces chosen by Michael Danner to express his particular vision of the city. There is none for the simple reason that these are economically less buoyant zones; humbler dwellings, blocks where small apartments are huddled together. Public and private are superimposed inside and outside the buildings. There the relationship with nature is different too. l have always been struck by the stubbornness of undergrowth, bent on returning to its domain through the tiniest crack in the concrete. The humble weed, despised as an ornamental element, which we have relegated to the lowest rung of the plant ladder, is always the pioneer in the return of nature to reclaim what once belonged to it. And that is so because, in fact, undergrowth is from nowhere because it is from everywhere. It is the very image of disorder and the first thing man eliminates, both from the wood (the representation of untouched nature) and the garden (the expression of tamed nature). In the juxtaposition of spaces with opposite meanings, united by the presence of a single element, undergrowth, Danner finds the continuity between the natural space and an urban space which never quite imposes its order of asphalt and cement. And here there is a twofold criticism. First, of the spaces which town-planning terminology defines as ‚dormitory towns‘, and which are nothing more than a sarcastic comment on the idea of city to which the -misunderstood- architectural avantgarde has brought us. Spaces for a collective life which, if it is conspicuous at all it is conspicuous by its absence. Not to mention the old pastoral idea that sees primitive nature as a welcoming environment where we can build a life in harmony with our surroundings. What Danner‘s images show is an environment as unpleasing as the city (indeed the plant element is repeated), although we cannot avoid evoking it and repeating it there.

Extract from the essay by Ramón Esparza in Salamanca - A Photographic Project, Consorcio Salamanca 2002, Salamanca (pp 141-142)

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CATALOGUE

Salamanca - Un proyecto fotográfico
Photographs by Lynne Cohen, Michael Danner, Candida Höfer, Valérie Juve, Xavier Ribas and Humberto Rivas with an essay by Ramón Esparza

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EXHIBITIONS

2002
Sala Millares, Madrid
Centro de Arte, Salamanca

2002 CENTRO DE ARTE, SALAMANCA

2002 CENTRO DE ARTE, SALAMANCA

Adelanto

Tribuna

La Gaceta

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