5th Jun 2014 - 12th Oct 2014
Museu D’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
University of Brighton Photography lecturer Xavier Ribas has a new exhibition at the Museu D’Art Contemporani de Barcelona which investigates the potential of photography for re-reading recent history through themes that invite us to reflect on our immediate surroundings.
Nitrate is the central axis of the exhibition, which also includes projects carried out by Ribas in the last decade. The exhibition presents a project that exposes the political geography of the Atacama Desert and the history of the extraction of this mineral. Through a series of works, including photographic polyptychs, texts and videos, Ribas unfolds an investigation in which photography becomes an object of reflection rather than a mere documentary support. By inspecting sites, artefacts and images, the project traces the route of nitrate, a traditional component of fertilisers and explosives, in the genealogical line of the exploitation and appropriation of non-renewable resources that define the process of globalization.
The work shows the mineral in its natural state, its processing in the oficinas (depots) of the Atacama Desert, the transporting of the product for its prospective sale, and its symbolic value in the mansions of London and its surroundings.
Other projects by Ribas featured in the exhibition include the series Geografías concretas (Concrete Geographies), since 2003, and Santuario (Sanctuary), 1998–2002, dedicated to the analysis of places whose uses and meanings are highly vulnerable and controversial. These are enclaves in Ribas’ trajectory that reveal his ongoing interest in the representation of human geography, a concern that has led him to conceive photography as a register of absences.
Curator: Carles Guerra.