KBr Flama was conceived with the clear objective of highlighting the youngest talent emerging from Barcelona’s photography schools. To achieve this goal, the Fundación MAPFRE KBr Flama 22 photography center has partnered with Grisart, Idep Barcelona, IEFC and Elisava, Faculty of Design and Engineering of Barcelona, four academic institutions committed to the teaching and study of photography.
TEXT: FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE CULTURE AREA
The exhibition KBr Flama’22 is the second edition of this project and presents the works of Nanouch Congost (Girona, 1999), Guillermo Fernández (Granada, 1991), Jordi Miquel Riera (Girona, 1977) and
Sílvia Parés (Vic, 1997). Their projects were selected after a meticulous screening process, involving a judging panel comprising Horacio Fernández, Carles Guerra, Joana Hurtado and Arianna Rinaldo.
‘Papa’ [Father] is a project that arose from the inner search for my own identity. One day I looked around me and realized how my relationship with my father has influenced the development of my personality. Once I had accepted this fact, I began to analyze the reality of this relationship and what such a direct influence as that of a father has on our behavior in general, even in the case of an absent father.
The need to know what kind of behavior is present in that relationship led me to discover a process that is repeated in all the parent-child relationships in my environment, in other words, I identified a pattern that led me to learn more about each story and try to find out why most relationships, despite the different personalities and circumstances involved in each, always follow that pattern, and above all, in chronological order. It could be said that every parent-child relationship goes through several phases, which can be summarized in three words: idealization, disappointment, acceptance. I have realized that, often, what we do not like or even what we consider to be “the problem” we have with our parents are aspects that we, in turn, incorporate into our own personalities. Are we a reflection of what we see in others?
The project consisted of a series of interviews in which I asked each of the participants to do exactly the same thing: to show me an old photograph of their father, and then give me a totally unrestricted description of who he was. Finally, they would have their portrait taken. During the posing, I invited them to close their eyes and think about a series of specific moments both from their childhood and today with their father; then I asked them how they would feel if I told them that they were just like their father. The moment they opened their eyes, I snapped their picture.”
Initially trained at the Escola d’Art i Superior de Disseny d’Olot (Girona), during the lockdown in response to COVID-19, she developed a project that she presented at the Grisart School in Barcelona, for which she received a scholarship to study photography. Her interest in this discipline has led her to constantly seek opportunities to expand her knowledge, and after graduating she created the online Oceania Creative Studio, with two colleagues specialized in other fields, through which she works for various brands. She has twice participated in the Mot festival in Girona, Olot and Igualada with collaborative projects, and exhibited the series “Papa” at the FineArt Igualada festival.
The Holy Innocents
“Granada, the city of the Alhambra, is one of the most visited cities in Europe, and also one of the hardest hit by the effects of the economic crisis that broke out in 2008. A crisis that affected a whole series of young people who will go down in history as “the lost generation”, forced to make a living outside the system.
The end of an era, that of economic splendor prior to the bursting of the real estate bubble, marked the beginning of another, that of the rise of Granada, which once again became a “kingdom”: the kingdom of marijuana, a new phenomenon that, in reality, is not so new. In fact, it has the same ingredients as that portrayed by Miguel Delibes in Los santos inocentes: an oppressed sector, water, land and light. The light at the end of the tunnel. Or the tunnel at the end of the light.
Through this project I looked for the similarities between the past and the present, between that forgotten era and the present, between the system imposed by those leaders who taught their workers to accept certain rules and this, which forces thousands of young people to accept that there is no future for them.
The project explores the shift from night to day in a depressed rural area near Granada. It begins with a series of nocturnal landscapes of old olive groves, rural roads and typical farmhouses illuminated by an artificial light that marks the path to follow and serves as a link between the different scenarios presented. The story concludes at dawn, when natural light replaces artificial light and “illuminates” the reality hidden behind the night.”
Guillermo graduated in Fine Arts from the University of Granada and obtained a Master’s degree in Photography and Design from Elisava, Faculty of Design and Engineering in Barcelona. His interest in photography was aroused after learning about the work of American artists like Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant.
His first artistic projects were developed during his studies at the University of Granada. His work, with a strong social component, revolves around the nature of people and their context. Currently, he combines his passion for photography, which he uses as his main storytelling medium, with art direction.
Jordi Miquel Riera
“Modus imaginis —tone of the image in Latin— is a photographic project born from a reflection on the processes of artistic creation in the field of photography. Specifically, the project arose from a desire to explore the limits of photographic expression and its possibilities for suggesting the senses. Throughout the history of art, various creators have developed their works based on the link established between artistic expression and physical sensation. The following text, by the writer Josep Palau i Fabre about Picasso, talks about the frontiers between the senses and artistic creation:
“Picasso has made us accomplices from the very first moment. Because the manifest preponderance of one sense over the others is an admitted fact, but it should still surprise us. We live with our five senses and our intelligence. The first time a man dared to draw an image on a wall, the reaction of the others must have been: yes, but he does not speak, he does not make a sound… It is this initial shortcoming that demands the complicity of the spectator, that turns them into an initiate. To be aware that, in the creative act, one starts from this basis is what made Picasso a true creator, because it removes and challenges the very issue of creation. However, to take it for granted that a drawing is a drawing, a painting a painting, as if they were unchangeable forms of expression —as if they were not themselves a transposition— is what can immediately lead us into a routine”.
It is therefore unquestionable that, in order to grasp the depths of an artistic creation, all the senses play an important role. Starting from this conceptual framework, Modus imaginis relates the two senses that have the most in common: sight and hearing, since both are sensory capacities that are transmitted via waves, light in the first case and sound in the second. Thus, the project explores the potential of photography to capture not only visual but also audible moments. The idea, therefore, is to create a form of synesthesia in which sight and hearing are associated, altering the sensory perception of one sensory sector by accompanying it with the perceptions of another.
The visual, photographic representation of sound involves an obvious difficulty: how to depict something that, strictly speaking, cannot be seen. For this reason, Modus imaginis begins with an exploration of sounds through photography, as if it were a medium that could capture them in greater depth. In this sense, it also seeks to transmit the sensations elicited at the moment of capturing or experiencing them. For this reason, special attention was paid to primordial sounds, such as the noise of water or wind, which have been present in the natural environment since the beginning of time.
On the other hand, Modus imaginis also develops the inverse: the transmission of sound simply from an image. This procedure is useful for exploring the limits of photographic creation. Thus, the photographs included in this series are intended to represent or evoke a sound in the viewer’s auditory imagination. The composition of the photographic series must be interpreted, thanks to the auditory suggestion, as if it were a visual pentagram, that is to say, as a musical composition. This exploration is based on an analysis of the visual and sound imaginary that people acquire and modify through their experience and prior knowledge. An imaginary that makes us interpret what we perceive in a particular, and always subjective manner.
Finally, an interest in investigating the physical dimension of sound emerged. Sound waves have an energy, a dimension in space that, in a certain way, can be understood as the very matter of which they are composed. That is why, in this series, an attempt was made to record and capture, in a plastic and visual way, the transformation of sound into matter.
The photographs in Modus imaginis share the same visual aesthetic, in which black and darkness are of great import. This tonality gives a glimpse of what is hidden and, at the same time, lets us see what the artist wants to show. It is an aesthetic that leaves room for conjecture, an essential quality in a project that, more than defining, seeks to suggest. Black is the tone, the note through which the project was refined and developed. The title, Modus imaginis, thus acquires its full meaning: the tone of the image.
Jordi Miquel Riera
Jordi graduated in Photography from the Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya (IEFC) in 2017, specializing in Positivation with old procedures, Landscape and Environment, and Figure and Nude. But his career as a photographer began before that. In 2010, he participated in a workshop at the Sony World Photography Awards in Cannes. That same year, his project Pulso propio was selected for the Emergent-Lleida, International Festival of Photography and Visual Arts. In 2012, he presented 10^10^118 [10 raised to 10 raised to 118 meters] in the cycle El Proyector of the Foto Colectania Foundation in Barcelona. In 2016, he exhibited La memoria del cuerpo at Hangar, the Center for Visual Arts Production and Research in Barcelona. In 2017, he was a finalist in the 5th Galicia Contemporary Photography Award. In 2019, his solo exhibition Ser Tierra was held at Espai 22 in Girona.
Owning the Weather
“In 2018, I begin to navigate the ambiguities defined by the conspiracy of the so-called chemtrails (chemical trails released by aircraft engines) and the facts as told by the history of climate engineering. I began researching online documents, archival photographs and videos from official websites, but also from forums that contain totally far-fetched information. In parallel, and from a skeptical standpoint, I visited and photographed various weather radar and air traffic control installations in Catalonia. Afterwards, I selected and reorganized the material I had obtained in order to decrypt and reimagine the phenomenon of climate manipulation through different formats. On a timeline, I chronologically assembled archival images accompanied by an audiovisual piece illustrating cloud seeding, a geoengineering technique still used in several countries around the world. These historical facts are confronted with the visual and conceptual universe that orbits in conspiracy theories, thus establishing dipoles between which a spectrum of alternative versions is generated. From this mental space I propose a generative artwork that invites one to project new scenarios about the future of the climate, far from the apocalyptic narrative used by the audiovisual industry and the media. The project combines image, text and generative art to explore the past, think about the present and imagine the future of our skies.”
Sílvia graduated in 2020 in Photography and Audiovisual Media from Idep Barcelona, where she also completed a postgraduate degree in Applied Illustration. Linked throughout these years to the world of visual arts, she uses photography to discuss environmental and geopolitical topics. She is interested in the issue of climate change and develops projects through which she seeks alternative scenarios that allow us to diversify and expand our collective imaginaries on the future of the planet, imaginaries currently confined to apocalyptic literature. In 2019, she collaborated as a photographer in the project team for Chronicle of the birth, growth and death of a cloud, by the artist Pep Vidal.