ART WITH BOOKS AND BOOKS WITHIN ART

Books are much more than just an object. Its content is capable of housing infinite universes, of being an inexhaustible source of knowledge and transporting us to real and unreal places where the imagination reigns, from another time, from another dimension. It has been shed blood because of the books; there has been prohibition, censorship, repression and annihilation. They have also opened doors to freedom, exchange, tolerance and knowledge. Such is the power of a book, which has become an object of worship. Who has not opened a new book in a bookstore and smelled its pages? We like to read them, see them on our shelves, order them, leave them open face down, carry them in the bag, read them on the subway, lend them, ask for them, return them, and give them a second life. And this same passion is shared by many artists who make books their raw material of work.

The artist Schaduwlichtje is able to transform printed pages based on folds. This way, he manages to create these amazing sculptures with no need for scissors. This Dutch mathematician began working on paper when he joined the bookstore Books4life as a volunteer in 2013.

Other authors focus on taking advantage of the outside of the books for their compositions. This is the case of Mike Stilkey, an artist who works with used and discarded copies to create huge walls of stacked books on which he applies paint to create his works. Sometimes, the colour of the cover determines the type of piece you are going to draw. His compositions are intriguing and overwhelming.

For his part, Jonathan Callan reuses magazines, fanzines and books as the main element. His works give a second life to these materials eliminating references to their original use so that he bends the leaves and curves the covers to get some abstract compositions with shapes that remind us of the organic structures of the coral or the way lichen grows in the bark of the trees.

The work of Alicia Martín is well known. She has been using books in large-format sculptures for years to create proposals with enormous visual impact. In the form of a waterfall that springs from a window or as a huge spiral that imitates a whirlpool of water, her pieces surprise and charm equally.

Much more subtle is the work of Beatriz Díaz Ceballos. Her work is based on the written word, and she uses books as an infinite source of printed texts from which words sprout in waterfalls. Her proposals resemble allegories of a fairy-tale that refer us to images of fantasy and reverie.

 

The CEART opens this Thursday, November 14th in the room A an exhibition dedicated to this master of photography, which will be open to the public until February 9th. The show includes one of the artist's latest projects, focused on the hard work carried out by the miners of Serra Pelada, an open gold mine in the heart of Brazil where employees daily risked their lives.

Immigration, poverty, marginal life, slave labour, man's relationship with the land, the use of natural resources... are issues that have always fascinated Salgado. From the beginning of his career as a photographer, his work has opted to give visibility to the most disadvantaged groups and to create with his images a vivid and impressive visual story without fakes. With a raw black and white, this author's work transits between photo-reportage and naturalistic photography.

And the idea that permeates all his work is human dignity. Salgado portrays employees, miners and gatherers from a purely humanistic approach that wants to value their integrity, their strength and their resilience.

“If you photograph a human, so that he is not represented in a noble way, there is no reason to take the picture. That is my way of seeing things.”

Salgado entered this discipline long after completing his studies in economics between Brazil and the United States, and a doctorate in statistics in France. But in 1973 his life took a turn, and he decided to start his career as a photographer. He achieved to work at the Gamma Agency and Magnum Photos for more than 15 years until in 1994 he founded his own agency “Amazonas Imagen”.

With the “Gold” project, the photographer portrays a harsh reality that takes place in the Serra Pelada mine, a name given to a totally devastated and anarchically excavated mining enclave, the world's largest open-pit gold mine, through which more than 50,000 people have passed. In the heat of the legends about the mysterious “El Dorado”, the enthusiasm for this precious metal led to the development of strenuous exploitation practices for the workers and to originate tales of grief and glory, of human victory and defeat between the soil, the tunnels and the cargo baskets.

The CEART exhibition brings together Salgado's full portfolio in his characteristical black and white and large-format photographs that leave no one indifferent.