A Time of Ruins (4 of 4)
Text: Rosa Olivares

tiempo de ruinas 2017

The main difference lies in the concept, which has shifted from an existential void filled only by beauty to an absence full of feeling, memory, history and symbols. The idea of the passage of time and the transformation of things remains as a connecting thread.

When reality is mentioned in relation to photography I always think it is a naïve idea far removed from contemporary thought. Art has never been based on reality, not even on the authentic; rather, it is constructed and developed from symbols, dreams, appearances, representations, impossible tales and stories, discursive gazes – anything that serves to tell something that is almost impossible to tell. And I do not mean imaginary as opposed to real, or false as opposed to true. All I am saying is that art speaks of everything that is difficult to tell, of things that barely have a fleeting body. Although in a photograph we see things, objects and places that actually existed at the time they were photographed, they are not necessarily representing themselves but rather what the sight of them meant to the artist. The experience of gazing – that is what photographs speak of; naturally of many stories, of power, and of fear, absences and presences. Later, when the work is viewed, each spectator might see a different world in it, recall their own stories and dreams, and experience different things. This slippery material is what art is made of. And photography too, of course. What each artist conveys through their gaze and their hand is what makes the work real; what we see is just an excuse.

tiempo de ruinas 2017

What does the photographer feel at the sight of these ruins? At the sight of a landscape that is familiar in its decadence, but revisited years later, ruins of ruins, the certainty of the irreversible end, the knowledge that everything has time against it; the advent of absolute death, of oblivion. Perhaps her feelings are simply these images, which are terribly dramatic despite their unquestionable beauty.

Pilar Pequeño performs an almost archaeological study, returning to the same abandoned spots that appear to interest no one, forgotten yet full of lives and deaths, replete with history of former times. Her gaze leads us through these architectures, these spaces where so much has happened and we can sense the children breathing, the soldiers’ footsteps, the rustling cassocks and the fear and sadness of the prisoners. The passage of time is destroying the walls but not the memory of everything that went on inside them. We follow their traces, wandering through these spaces that we will most likely never tread, guided by images that entice us inside places we assume to be empty, places which still stand and will live forever through these photographs, saved from oblivion and death.


Diseño: Óptima! comunicación visual