The Land Reclaimed by Photography

Published by EST. Publicacions on ocassion of the exhibition The Art Circle. Directors, by Mariela Apollonio at Kir Royal Gallery, Valencia, Spain.

A conscious scrutiny of reality transforms our perception of the real. That is where photography, and any contemporary derivative of the image, holds sway, for it constitutes and informs something based on the referent, whereas it used to represent it before. Jean-François Chevrier puts it this way: “The 20th century is, as Fernand Léger would have it, the century of ‘constructors’ […] So much had never been said about functional creation as in this century, in which all the functions of art have been challenged.[1]” It has proved to be a transforming power, and continues to be so at the beginning of the 21st century. But in its essence, photography – or at least certain active foundational practices attributed to photography – still maintains a link, however slight, with the document, with the testimonial evidence. Several concepts come into play in this operation: “reality”, “document”, “image”, “practice”, and, to mark the limits of the territory where Mariela Apollonio has settled and in which she has constructed a voice for herself, some others should be added, such as “institutional critique”, “staged pictures”, “the ‘thingness’ of the subject”, “photographic art” and “architectonic space”.

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[1] Jean-François Chevrier, La fotografía entre las bellas artes y los medios de comunicación, Barcelona, Ed. Gustavo Gili, 2007, p. 75.