Xavier Ribas, Sanctuary. Editorial Gustavo Gili, Barcelona 2005. 136 pages. ISBN 84-252-2040-8 (hard bound).
Sanctuary compiles a significan part of my photographic work from 1997 to 2003. Following similar lines of argument as in my previous monograph (Xavier Ribas, Centro de Fotografía Universidad de Salamanca, 1998), Sanctuary deals with the practice and experience of transitory spaces from the point of view of the relationship between centre and periphery, the built and unbuilt environment, and the contemporary fragmentation of the landscape.
Sanctuary investigates how certain spaces are prone to spontaneous symbolic apropriations and how these appropriations could relate to a certain notion of domesticity. In a wider context, Sanctuary is about the relationship of man and territory, engaging with the notion of the production of space (Henry Lefevbre), the experience of the landscape from the perspective of the everyday (Michel de Certeau), and the notion of anthropological place (Marc Augé). Sanctuary intends to dialogue with the disciplines of urban studies, social anthropology and archaeology.
The book received a special mention at the Madrid photographic festival Photo España in 2006, and was reviewed in Camera Austria International, issue number 98 / 2007, from which I have extracted the following paragraphs:
"The works appearing in this edition give us a glimpse of how Xavier Ribas’ s gaze resembles that of the anthropologists, for he focuses on the representation of the game of relations set up between the individual and the territory, particularly in urban contexts.
"We could say that in this set of works Xavier Ribas suggests we reinstate the experience of places and redefine a concept as complex as that of the threshold, the interstitial space par excellence.
"Xavier Ribas’ s documentary practice has evolved and gradually gained complexity, making him one of the most representative and interesting figures in Spanish photography today."
(Alberto Martín, Camera Austruia International, nr 98/2007)
Sanctuary contains the following works: Rooms (1997), Flowers (1998-2000), Stones (2000), Thresholds (2001-2002), Sanctuary (2002), and Fires (2002). Also included in the book are a selection of images made in London, Marseille, Rome and Berlin, and an essay by writer and critical theorist Stephen Barber. It is published in English and Spanish.