Featured works and projects

Traces of Nitrate

This research project examines the material transformations instigation by nineteenth century nitrate mining in the Atacama Desert, northern Chile.

Melilla border fence photo

Concrete Geographies

A visual documentation of two contested territories

Photo of the Nomads concrete photos in the ProjecteSD gallery


Conveying the destruction wrought on the landscape by property developers who intimidated and evicted gypsy families living in Poblenou, Barcelona

Xavier Ribas, Sanctuary


Relationship between centre and periphery, the built and unbuilt environment and the contemporary fragmentation of the landscape in the urban space.

Xavier Ribas


Greenhouse is a double channel HD video installation about the changing landscape of Holland.

Xavier Ribas, Invisible Structures

Invisible Structures [1]

A photographic series made in the archaeological site of the buried ancient Maya city of Waka’ in Guatemala.

Xavier Ribas: Untitled


Images looking at the peripheral landscape of Barcelona after the massive urban redevelopment on the occassion of the Olympic games of 1992.

Research activity


It Would Never Be Quite The Same Again, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona 2017. ISBN: 978-84-945596-4-8

Nitrate, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona 2014. ISBN: 978-84-92505-53-1 (Spanish) / ISBN: 978-84-92505-66-1 (English)

Concrete Geographies [Nomads], Bside Books, Barcelona 2012. ISBN: 978-84-615-7229-8

Concrete Geographies [Ceuta and Melilla Border Fences], Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona 2012. ISBN: 978-84-8081-325-9

Xavier Ribas (ed), Traces. Fundació Foto Colectania / Universidad de Salamanca, 2009. ISBN: 978-84-7800-266-5

Sanctuary, Editorial Gustavo Gili, Barcelona 2005. ISBN: 84-252-2040-8

Xavier Ribas, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca 1998. ISBN: 84-7481-988-1


Grants and awards 

2017 – 2018

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), with Louise Purbrick and Ignacio Acosta




Laus Bronze Prize 2015 (Barcelona) for the book NITRATE

    2012 – 2016

    Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), with Louise Purbrick and Ignacio Acosta



      International Photography Research Network (IPRN) fellowship

      Commande du Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication – Centre National des Arts Plastiques FNAC, France

      Photo España 06 Special Mention Book Prize, Madrid


        Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB)


          Primavera Fotogràfica book prize, Barcelona



           Photo España 98 Leica Prize for best new work




          Cahiers d'Enquêtes Politiques. Vivre, Expérimenter, Raconter. Les Éditions Des Mondes À Faire, Paris 2016. ISBN: 978-2-9555738-0-8

          Co-Curate Magazine 01, February 2016



          Topografías Invisibles. Estrategias críticas entre arte y geografía. Teresa Blanch (ed). Universitat de Barcelona, 2015. ISBN: 978-84-475-3953-6

          A Handful of Dust. David Campany. Le Bal/Mack 2015. ISBN: 9781910164389

          The Photographer's Playbook. Jason Fulford and Gregory Halpern (Ed). Aperture, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-59711-247-5 



          Asuntos Domésticos. Diputación de Huesca, 2014. ISBN: 978-84-92749-42-3



          Geografías Concretas [Nómadas]. CONCRETA 01, Abril 2013 [DESPLAZAMIENTOS Y DESALOJOS]. Text by Matt Packer


          Lugares en Pérdida. Teresa Blanch (Ed). Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Huarte, 2012. ISBN: 978-84-615-9387-3 



          La Relève / Cambio de Turno. Papel Alpha, núm 8 (2010), p 111-127. Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca
          Antes que Todo / Before Everything. CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo. Comunidad de Madrid. Madrid, 2010. ISBN: 978-84-451-3323-1



          Profecías, Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca 2009. ISBN: 978-84-7800-225-2
          Strange Places. Urban Landscape Photography. Kingston University, London 2009



          PhotoArt. Photography in the 21st Century. Aperture, 2008. ISBN: 978-1-59711-062-4
          Miradas Críticas en torno a la Colección del MUSAC. MUSAC, 2008. ISBN: 978-84-92572-04-5
          Imatges Metropolitanes de la Nova Barcelona. Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona. MACBA, 2008
          Nature and Artifice. New Dutch Landscape in Photography and Video Art. Nai Publishers, Amsterdam 2008. English edition, ISBN 978-90-5662-028-8
          Tàrraco. Mirada Actual. Fundació Caixa Tarragona, Tarragona 2008. Curated by Chantal Grande



          10 Potographers, Canton Biennale; May 2007
          Ocho Visiones. Distrito C. Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, 2007. ISBN 978-84-89884-74-8
          Local. The End of Globalisation. Photo España/Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid, 2007. ISBN 978-84-451-3000-1
          Non Tutte le Strade Portano a Roma, Zoneattive Edizioni, Roma 2007 ISBN 88-89303-02-6
          Work (Changing Faces), Veenman Publishers, Rotterdam 2007 ISBN 978-90-86900-65-7
          Cazadores de Sombras. Seacex, Madrid 2007. ISBN 978-84-95146-36-6
          Itinerarios Afines. 10 Fotógrafos Españoles. Seacex / La Fábrica, Madrid 2007. ISBN 978-84-96008-72-4
          ‘Invisible Structures’, Source Photography Magazine, Belfast, Jan 2007



          Naturalmente Artificial. El Arte Español y la Naturaleza (1968-2006). Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Esteban Vicente, Segovia, 2006. ISBN:84-933460-9-8
          Filipiniana, Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid (cat.), 2006. ISBN: 84-932950-2-7
          Del Paisaje Reciente. Fundación ICO/Photo España , 2006, Madrid. ISBN 13:978-84-934684-2-2



          En las Ciudades. Fotografía urbana en los fondos de la Fundación Foto Colectania. Madrid, 2005. ISBN 84-451-2747-0
          Rosa Olivares, 100 Fotógrafos Españoles. Exit Book, Madrid 2005. ISBN 84-934639-1-4



          Vidas Privadas. Fotografías de la Colección de Foto Colectania. Fundació Foto Colectania, Barcelona 2004 



          Des Espèces d'Espaces, VOX/Tinglado 2 Centre d'Art Contemporani, Tarragona, Spain. ISBN 2-9801608-9-Hyperurbano/Hyperurban. Quaderns d'Arquitectura I Urbanisme, July 2003. p. 8-37. Barcelona


          Salamanca. Un Proyecto Fotográfico. Consorcio Salamanca 2002. ISBN: 84-95719-07-X
          BLINK, Phaidon Press, London, 2002. ISBN: 0-7148-4199-4
          Photoworks Magazine, Summer 2002, Brighton



          IMAGO'01. Festival catalog. Salamanca, Spain, ISBN 84-95719-00-2
          Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, Biennale catalogue, Lyon, 2001. ISBN 2-7118-4259-2



          Quaderns Tecla Sala 2000, Centre Cultural Tecla Sala, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, 2000. ISBN 84-920102-8-2
          Un divertissement idéal. CVphoto, nr. 51, pp.15-22, Montréal, 2000. ISSN: 0831-3091



          IMAGO'98. Festival catalogue. Salamanca, Spain, 1998. ISBN: 84-7481-948-2
          Transportable, Tinglado 2, Exhibition catalog. Tarragona, Spain, 1998

          Solo exhibitions


          It Would Never Be Quite The Same Again, Espai Visor, Valencia
          Nitrate, Museo Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona
          It Would Never Be Quite The Same Again, ProjecteSD, Barcelona
          Nitrate, The Bluecoat, Liverpool. Curated by Carles Guerra
          Solo Objects, ARCO 2015, Madrid



          Nitrate, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona. Curated by Carles Guerra



          L.C., Virreina Centre de la Imatge. Barcelona. 



          Habitus, Belfast Exposed, Belfast. 
          Nòmades, Galeria ProjecteSD, Barcelona. 



          Invisible Structures, Galeria ProjecteSD, Barcelona. 



          Fundació Fotocolectania, Barcelona
          Espacios transitorios. Fotoencuentros, Colegio de Arquitectos, Murcia



          Salamanca. A Photographic Project, Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Salamanca 
          Galería Antonio de Barnola, Barcelona 
          Galeria Forvm, Tarragona 
          Galería Visor, Valencia



          Forum de l'Image 2001, Toulouse 
          IMAGO'01, Salamanca 
          Urbi et Orbi, Festival de Photographie de la ville de Sedan 
          Nicephore+161, Festival de Photographie, Clermond-Ferrand



          Old Museum Arts Centre, Belfast



          Encontros da Imagem, Braga



          Centro de Fotografía Universidad de Salamanca
          Galeria Forvm, Tarragona

          Group exhibitions


          Peace Treaty / Tratado De Paz, Donosti 2016 European Capital of Culture. Curated by Pedro G. Romero, Carles Guerra, et.al.

          State Of Exception / Estado De Excepción, Centro Gallego de Arte Contemporáneo. Curated by Santi Olmo.

          Barcelona. The Metropolis in the Age of Photography (1860-2004). La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona. Curated by Jorge Ribalta



          A Handful of Dust. Le Bal, Paris. Curated by David Campany [Opening 16th Oct 2015]



          Asuntos domésticos. Visiona 03. Programa de la imagen. Diputación de Huesca, Huesca. Curated by Pedro Vicente 
          The Social Construction of Landscape. Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla. Curated by Yolanda Torrubia Fernández
          Vestigios Invisibles. Espai d'Art Contemporani de Castelló. Curated by Mercedes Vicente and Pep Benlloch
          Relat de Belles Coses Falses. Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona
          Playgrounds. Reinventing the Square. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Curated by Manuel J. Borja-Villel, Tamara Díaz y Teresa Velázquez



          Art, Two Points. Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona. Curated by Bartomeu Marí
          The Telling of Beautiful Untrue Things. 'Lo Pati' Centre d'Art Terres de l'Ebre
          O Chair / O Flesh. Treignac Project. Curated by Matt Packer


          Lugares en Pérdida. Centro Huarte de Arte Contemporáneo, Pamplona. Curated by Teresa Blanch
          The Inverted Mirror. Art from the Collection of 'La Caixa' Foundation and MACBA. Guggenheim Bilbao. Cuarted by Bartomeu Marí
          Topografías de la Memoria. Fotografías de la Colección Ordóñez-Falcón. Alhóndiga Bilbao. Curated by Carles Guerra


          Volume! Works from the Colections of 'La Caixa' Foundation and MACBA, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art - MACBA, Curated by Bartomeu Marí
          Cultured Nature, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Curated by Hripsime Visser



          This Must Be The Place. Jerwood Space, London. Curated by David Campany
          Antes que Todo / Before Everything. Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo (CA2M), Madrid. Curated by Manuela Moscoso and Aimar Arriola
          Itinerarios Afines. 10 Spanish photographers. National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), Bucharest
          Profecías. Museo de la Ciudad, Madrid, PhE 2010. Curated by Rafael Levenfeld and Valentín Vallhonrat
          Profecías. Centro de Fotografía Universidad de Salamanca. Curated by Rafael Levenfeld and Valentín Vallhonrat



          Strange Places. Urban Landscape Photography. Stanley Picker Gallery, London. Curated by Alexandra Stara
          Time as Matter (New Acquisitions), Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona - MACBA, Barcelona. Curated by Bartomeu Marí
          Nature as Artifice. New Dutch Landscape in Photography and Video Art. Aperture Gallery, NY. Curated by Maartje van den Heuven
          Nature as Artifice. New Dutch Landscape in Photography and Video Art. George Eastman House, Rochester. Curated by Maartje van den Heuvel
          Periferias. Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo(CA2M) , Madrid. Curated by Rosa Olivares
          Periferias. Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM). Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Curated by Rosa Olivares
          Session_2_Flags, Am Nuden Da, London
          Campus en Images. CIAM-Université de Toulouse-Mirail, Toulouse
          LugoLand. Lugo, Italy. Curated by Luca Nostri.
          Nature as Artifice. New Dutch Landscape in Photography and Video Art. Neue Pinakothek, Munich. Curated by Maartje van den Heuvel



          Universal Archive. The Condition of the Document and the Modern Photographic Utopia. Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona. Curated by Jorge Ribalta
          Nature as Artifice. New Dutch Landscape in Photography and Video Art. Kröller-Müller Museum. Curated by Maartje van den Heuvel
          Objeto de Réplica. ARTIUM - Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo
          La sombra de la historia. Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea CGAC, Santiago de Compostela
          Recorridos. Seis Fotógrafos de la Colección FotoColectania. Fundació Foto Colectania, Barcelona
          Nou-Now. Contemporary Catalan Photography. F-Stop International Photography Festival, Leipzig. Curated by David Balsells



          Beyond The Country. Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork. Curated by René Zechlin and Matt Packer 
          Nou-Now. Contemporary Catalan Photography. FFi - Fotografie Forum international, Frankfurt. Curated by David Balsells
          Ocho Visiones. Distrito C. Fundación Telefónica, Madrid. Curated by Pep Benlloch 
          Somewhere Between Fact and Fiction: Ben Callaway, Jenny Perlin, Xavier Ribas. Loop Barcelona 2007, Barcelona. Galeria ProjecteSD
          Existencias, Musac - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Léon
          Idilio. Domus Artium / DA2. Salamanca
          Cazadores de Sombras. Guangzhou Photo Biennial 2007. Guangzhou, Guangdong. Curated by Rosa Olivares
          Cazadores de Sombras. Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá. Curated by Rosa Olivares
          Local. The End of Globalisation. Photo España, Madrid. Cuarted by Paul Wombell
          Itinerarios Afines. 10 Fotógrafos españoles. Canton Photo Biennial. Curated by Oliva María Rubio
          European Parliament, Goethe Institut, Frankfurt, 2007 (touring)
          Invisible Landscapes / Impossible Places, Espai 0, Girona, 2007. Curated by Lluís Sabadell i Artiga
          Work (Changing Faces), Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal in Scheltema, Leiden, 2007 
          Non Tutte le Strade Portano a Roma, Fotografia International Photography Festival, Rome 2007



          Naturalmente Artificial. El Arte Español y la Naturaleza (1968-2006). Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Esteban Vicente, Segovia
          Filipiniana, Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid
          Del Paisaje Reciente, Fundación ICO - Photo España 2006, Madrid. Curated by Horacio Fernández



          In the Cities, Canal de Isabel II, Madrid



          Espace Fragile, Urbi et Orbi, Festival de Photographie de la ville de Sedan 
          Aconteixements, Primavera Fotogràfica 2004, Barcelona. Curated by Carles Guerra 
          Vacuum. Fotografías de Humberto Rivas y Xavier Ribas, Galería Antonio de Barnola, Barcelona 
          Mediterranean: Between Reality and Utopia. The Photographer's Gallery, London. Curated by Lisa Le Feuvre
          Vides Privades. Colecció de la Fundació Foto Colectania. Barcelona and touring around Spain



          Proménons-nous, Gallery Commune, Tourcoing 
          Perfect Distraction, Zelda Cheatle Gallery, London 
          Des Espèces d'Espaces, Espace VOX, Montreal. Curated by Chantal Grande and Marie-Josée Jean
          Espècies d'Espais, Tinglado 2, Tarragona. Curated by Chantal Grande and Marie-Josée Jean



          Urban Visions, Flowers East Gallery, London



          Contemporary Art Biennieal of Lyon. Curated by Anne Bertrand



          Near and Elsewhere, The Photographer's Gallery, London. Curated by Kate Bush



          Un domingo en Europa, PhotoEspaña'98, Madrid. Curated by Alejandro Castellote 
          Transportable, Tinglado 2, Tarragona. Curated by Chantal Grande and Gloria Malé



          SIMCITY- Simulation des öffentlichen Raumes, Bielefeld and Kassel.


          Curatorial Projects

          'Traces', Fundació Foto Colectania, Barcelona (Aprl - July 2009), Centro de Fotografía Universidad de Salamanca (July - December 2009), Fundación Cajasol, Seville (January - April 2010)

          Works by Javier Ayarza, Anna Ferrer, Gert Jan Kocken, Ulrich Gebert, Matt Packer, and Sven Johne.

          Exhibition catalogue:  Texts by Iain Sinclair and Xavier Ribas. English/Spanish/Catalan, 166 pages. ISBN: 978-84-7800-266-5



          Urban Encounters 2014, Tate Britain, 24–25 October 2014

          1st International symposium 'Invisible Topographies: Critical Strategies Between Art and Geography', Universitat de Barcelona 28–29 November 2013.


          Research Supervision

          'The Copper Geographies of Chile and Great Britain' AHRC funded. Ignacio Acosta, completed 2016.

          'An Archaeology of Childhood: Rethinking Landscape, Memory and History in Creative Visual Practice'. Andrew Cross, 2015-18 


          Citations and reviews

          "After two decades of work, Xavier Ribas has earned a reputation as a photographer committed to the geographies of abandonment: areas on the outskirts; roadsides where prostitution is carried on or where sanctuaries have been created to mark fatal traffic accidents; borders of all kinds and conditions; and places of temporary settlement where the human presence is the butt of politics of expulsion. Over this period, during which the photography of Xavier Ribas has effectively fulfilled its documentary role, changes in its style have been minimal. His most recent works on the modern history of nitrate mining in Chile confirm that he has not substantially changed his concept of the medium. But in this case, the specific nature of the mineral in question – the mining and processing of which generate extraordinary profits and trigger processes of circulation, resignification and mutation of form – has gradually infiltrated the documentary uses of his photography. It is here that Nitrate (...) unfolds a specific documentary potential that lies between testimony to the ruins of production – obsolete and abandoned procedures – and recollection of an episode of modern-era Western colonialism (...) Nitrate represents an artistic practice with one foot in a university department and the other in the museum space; neither aspect can be understood without the other. This is because the documentary practice of Xavier Ribas brings together different approaches to research, both academic and artistic, recalling to some extent the critical tradition of photography that crystallised as an artistic genre in the 1970s: a kind of composition that demanded the combination of data and photography, with results akin to investigative journalism. Ribas draws on this working method which brings a renewed formal quality to his work, and in which format and spatial sequence of the images play a major role." (Bartomeu Marí. In Xavier Ribas Nitrate, Macba, 2014, p. 9)


          "Since 2009, Xavier Ribas has devoted his photographic practice to looking into the natural history of nitrate. Unlike his earlier series, in which the landscape anchored the artist’s documentary and empirical engagement, nitrate unfurls a vast geography impossible for a strictly photographic vision to encompass. Nitrate takes the form of an essay that explores the political and geological history of Chile, linking it with flows of finance and consumption in Europe, in such a way that the geography of this material gives form to a colonial structure. The representation of this system of extraction of natural resources that began in the late nineteenth century, and that we now dare to label an extractionist modernity, has called for a documentary dispositive that requalifies the role of photography." (Carles Guerrra, Unfolding the Documerntary Disppositive. In Xavier Ribas Nitrate, Macba, 2014, p. 13)


          "In Nitrate what on the surface, appear to be photographs of rocky landscapes and street scenes around London Boshopsgate, lists of people and property, and a collection of used tobacco wrappers, unearth an explosives-and-fertilizer money trail through colonial politics, from the Atacama Desert to the City of London and the trenches of World War I. (...) In these potent works [It Woul Never Be Quite The Same Again], Ribas attempts a form of triangulation with the trajectories of the photograph and the written language – yet, what he hopes to pinpoint is not really to be found by looking directly at locations so much as from audacious moral and spatial strategies: covert action, expatriation, universal jurisdiction, coup d'états, vandalism and the 'lawful excuse' defence that committing an offence can be justified in order to prevent a more serious crime." (Max Andrews, FRIEZE, No. 173 Sep 2015, p.174-175)


          "Nitrate’s historical breadth may be sweeping, covering a period that spans more than a century. Yet one of the strengths of Ribas’s exhibition is that, in spite of its repeated use of grids to display texts, images and archival documents, implying that the material be taken as data, it does not make any claim to comprehensiveness or objectivity. Indeed, whether the material used is historical or modern day, each of the works seems to affirm the status of the document in the very same breath in which it is called into question." (Rye Dag Holmboe, http://www.apollo-magazine.com/review-xavier-ribas-nitrate-macba-barcelona. Visited: Aug 26, 2014)


          "Xavier Ribas quiebra la jerarquía entre foto y texto, y así las imágenes que reúne en su nueva exposición quedan hiladas por los actos de disidencia que arman su historia (...) En todos los trabajos de Ribas, las jerarquías de fotografía y pie (texto) se hacen inestables, y en este carácter ligeramente infundado de la imagen hay una subversión del papel del espectador: la fotografía ya no garantiza el temay el 'lector' no busca el efecto realidad. El mensaje sin código del que hablaba Barthes ya no está en la imagen, sino en la sintaxis visual perpetrada por el autor." (Ángela Molina, El País/Babelia 2/05/2015 p.16)


          "Xavier Ribas por su parte culmina un proyecto de investigación de varios años en torno a la historia de la extracción del nitrato en el desierto chileno de Atacama por parte de empresas británicas. Nitrato es precisamente el título de la exposición que se presenta en el Macba, que además de mostrar el resultado de dicho proyecto ofrecerá una mirada retrospectiva sobre su trayectoria, exhibiendo una buena parte de los trabajos realizados por el artista hasta el momento. Nitrato es un ensayo de aplicación de la imagen fotográfica a la lectura de la historia, abordando a través de las diferentes obras que componen el proyecto aspectos como el colonialismo, la circulación de la plusvalía, el eco actual de los conflictos del pasado o la percepción del paisaje como dispositivo histórico, político y económico" (Alberto Martín, El País, Miércoles 26 de Marzo de 2014)


          "Beautifully composed and rendered in black and white, the book documents the rubble-strewn landscape of the devastated lot (...) Xavier Riba's Concrete Geographies [Nomads] offers an intimate and affecting picture of this willfully torn landscape. While Ribas never shows the people or lives of the displaced, his restrained images show us a landscape of discrimination, displacement and social injustice (...) Xavier Ribas' Concrete Geographies is a smart book about a politically charged landscape, the vagaries of land-use in the urban setting and their often-tragic consequences." (Best (Books - Book Reviews: Concrete Geographies [Nomads] Reviewed by Adam Bell, Monday, March 4, 2013. http://blog.photoeye.com/2013/03/best-books-book-reviews-concrete.html)


          "Ribas's intimate exploration — of the rubble, monoliths and sharp edges found at abandoned industrial sites, where the once smooth concrete surface has been violently destroyed in order to prevent the sixty Gypsy families that once lived there from returning — is a sad but striking (and beautifully photographed) testament to displacement and discrimination, subtly discovered by Ribas within the shapes and forms of an easily overlooked contemporary landscape." (Aaron Schuman, Best Books of 2012. http://www.photoeye.com/magazine_admin/index.cfm/bestbooks.2012.book/catalog_number/ZF269/)


          "Spanish artist Xavier Ribas's dual-channel video further explores how much the lens-based arts have changed since "New Topographics." Half of "Greenhouse" is a 20-minute video of a slow, rolling journey between two ends of a massive greenhouse construction site north of Amsterdam. The footage is as aloof as a video camera can be: unedited, and offering nary a pan, tilt, or zoom. The other half of "Greenhouse" is an interview with two landowners who sold their property to the developers. They recall all manner of context and history, recounting the reclamation of the land from the water and the Nazi invasion during World War II. While the artists of "New Topograhics" relied almost solely on the poetic mystery of images to make their statements, Ribas offers both a poem and a reason for why it was made." (Luke Strosnider, Nature as Artifice and New Topographics. This is Our Land. Rochester City Newspaper. Review of the exhibition Nature as Artifice at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, July 1 2009)


          "El sueño de un paisaje justo está cada vez más lejos, como muestra bien el último trabajo de Xavier Ribas, un autor cada vez más interesado en la visualización de la violencia y sus condiciones. En Nómadas (2008), una instalación compuesta por 30 fotografías, Ribas reordena los restos de un solar levantado y destruido por sus propietarios para evitar que siguiera siendo ocupado por un grupo de gitanos de origen rumano. Aquí se registra un claro ejemplo paradójico de violencia controlada y legitimada, un daño significativo a la propiedad autoinfligido por sus dueños para garantizar el control del espacio. El paisaje que vemos en esta cuadrícula de 30 fotografías es la huella de una agresión, es la emanación de la destrucción como forma de autoridad, un paisaje que proviene de la pobreza y de la presencia amenazante del “otro”. La cuadrícula, como herramienta de montajedel indicio crítico que representa este solar en uno de los barrios de Barcelona, reúne los pedazos dispersos de una conciencia ausente." (Alberto Martín, Imágenes de la violencia, Art&Co, Núm 4, 2008, p. 14-15)


          "Las imágenes de la periferia de Barcelona que Xavier Ribas realizó en El séptimo día, a mediados de los años noventa, se encuentran convertidas ya en un referente inevitable, tanto si aludimos a lo que fue la fotografía documental de esa década, como si tratamos de acercarnos al análisis del espacio urbano a finales del siglo XX, en un momento en el que se aceleran diversos procesos que tienen como ejes, la polarización socio-espacial, la fragmentación urbana, el fenómeno de la periurbanización, la suburbanización, y sobre todo, la fractura y el declive del espacio público. En esos años asistimos a la manifestación clara de todos los síntomas generados por la radicalización de las políticas de diseño urbanístico y por el pragmatismo inmobiliario. La periferia de Barcelona y su área limítrofe fueron el espacio sobre el que Xavier Ribas se enfrentó a dicha situación a mediados de la década. Es necesario señalar la importancia de las coordenadas espacio-temporales en las que se desenvolvió esta serie, pues no sólo dan cuenta de la acertada ejecución de la propuesta, sino que también sentaron en buena medida las bases para el complejo desarrollo de su práctica fotográfica en los siguientes años." (Alberto Martín XAVIER RIBAS. DE LA PERIFERIA AL SUBSUELO. Miradas críticas en torno a la colección MUSAC, MUSAC, 2008)


          "Xavier Ribas (Barcelona, 1960) se dio a conocer con fuerza en la escena española a mediados de los años noventa con un excelente primer trabajo titulado El séptimo día. Se trataba de una amplia serie desarrollada en los alrededores de Barcelona que se centraba en la utilización por parte de la población de espacios marginales o periféricos como zonas de ocio durante el fin de semana. El registro de estos procesos de “apropiación” espontánea del territorio mediante  la asignación de un uso no organizado, desvelaba al mismo tiempo la capacidad de los ciudadanos para habitar y construir el lugar. Desde entonces, la práctica documental de Xavier Ribas ha ido evolucionando y complejizándose hasta convertirse en una de las figuras más representativas e interesantes dentro del panorama de la fotografía española." (XAVIER RIBAS. SANTUARIO. Alberto Martín, Camera Austria International, núm 98, verano 2007)


          “Traversing the urban peripheries, in search of that delicate, barely-existent space where the city meets the image (a space always ready imminently to deliquesce, and able to coagulate into the image only as the result of an exhaustive exploration and of an interrogatory patience), is open corporeal work, mediated through the eye – only ocular journeys ever take on substance, in those peripheries; that is the work of Xavier Ribas. Such an evanescent coagulation, swept out of its danger of extinguishment, in the gap between two moments of annulment, and sited alongside other such images, in a sequence of fragments torn from time, also forms a perfection.” (Stephen Barber, Peripheral Zones. In Xavier Ribas Sanctuary, Editorial Gustavo Gili, Barcelona 2005)


          "Ribas studied as an anthropologist and it shines through in the work... Ribas' acute observations seemed to me filled with a desperate recognition, display, rather than a concern for the individual examination of behaviour... And these really are truly beautiful prints. Ribas has spent substantial lengths of time with his subjects, who by now disregard the camera, or are busy in the middle distance, and here the current concerns of a reflexive anthropolgy are sited within this camera/subject relationship. The high aesthetic of the prints and the presentation of pedestrian, habitual activity, the patterning and mapping of movement makes them work, curiously, as illustrative documents. It's clear that Ribas, by valuing the texture of the print-colour surface, format, elevates the sometimes 'unaesthetic', that is, the largely ignored environment-urban beaches and the largely working classes who populate them." (Phil Collins, artist and curator based in Belfast, and a member of Catalyst Arts. Extracts from the review of the exhibition: Xavier Ribas, Old Museum Arts Centre, February/March 2000 reproduced from CIRCA 92, Summer 2000, pp. 44-45)


          "Anthropologue ayant aussi travaillé auprès d'architectes et d'urbanistes, photographe documentaire, il considère en périphérie des villes, ces lieux que les citadins investissent pour leurs loisirs, en fin de semaine: lieux sans qualité, ni banlieue ni campagne, friches et terrains vagues, plages bricolées sans sable fin ni dunes. Ceux qui les habitent font des silhouettes, tout à la "distraction parfaite" qui donne son titre à l'ensemble de ce travail. Ribas a commencé par photographier ceux dont il partage les repères, de plain pied. Certaines de ses images touchent à autre chose, il en est conscient, qui fait intervenir dans son analyse aussi bien des données économiques et culturelles que certaines références issues de l'histoire de l'art et de la photographie, Lewis Baltz aussi bien que… L'Embarquement pour Cythère..." (Extracts from: Anne Bertarnd, "Un monde". Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, 2001. ISBN:7118-4259-2)


          "For young Spanish photographer Xavier Ribas, the landscape also results from a collision of nature and artifice. His colour scenes are composed with classical clarity, often observed from a high, distanced viewpoint, with arboreal repoussoirs leading the eye through ordered layers of fore, middle and background, ending at the horizon. Ribas pictures people indulging in the pleasures of nature: reading, sitting, watching, relaxing, retreating from the vexations of city life. Despite the brilliant rays of the Spanish sun, these are hardly Virgilian idylls in an arcadian campagna. Instead, Ribas documents new, degraded landscapes - residual spaces found around Barcelona, neither urban, suburban nor rural - in which people stubbornly seek old pleasures." (Kate Bush, curator of the exhibition Near and Elsewhere, The Photographer's Gallery, London, 1999) 


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