Monday, April 1, 2013


Xavier Ribas writes - On the 24th of February 2004, heavy machinery entered an empty industrial plot in Barcelona occupied by some sixty Gypsy families. Over a few days two diggers drilled and lifted up the concrete floor of the site, intimidating the Gypsies and finally pushing them out. They left behind a contorted surface, like a horizontal wall, to protect the site and keep it empty. This method of dissuasion demonstrates the economic value of violence and destruction in order to control space. The broken ground, the fissures and fragments of concrete slabs standing up like remnants of ancient Mayan stelae give testimony, still today, of this displacement. 

This is a quietly insistent bookwork, a typology of change, displacement and loss. There is a strange beauty in these photographs, at odds with the facts. The bookwork is a testament to the iniquity of power over the powerless, politics and control. As with all profound artworks Ribas has made something out of nothing and a record of a cities act of destruction which made nothing out of something. There are elements of Baltz and Gossage in this work both artists who have examined landscape from a politically charged point of view.

The work is part of the much larger project entitled Concrete Geographies. Spanning several years and including several subseries, the larger project explores a variety of different landscapes marked by violence, history or politics.

CONCRETE GEOGRAPHIES, NOMADS is limited to 687 copies, each copy signed by Ribas and is stunningly produced with tri-tone reproductions. The book is available from photo-eye HERE. Alternatively you can go to Xavier Ribas's website and purchase there.

B Side Books, 2012. Hardbound. 84 pp., 33 tritone illustrations, 9-1/2x11-3/4".

Publisher BSide books has a facebook page which is worth checking out, you can go there HERE.

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