Arts visuals

Xisco Bonnín: Fotografia i post-fotografia, o de com cercar l’inèdit al conegut

Donada la seva incidència en la construcció de les identitats, els imaginaris i els codis de relació dels seus habitants, la ciutat ha estat sempre un valuós objecte d’interrogació de filòsofs, sociòlegs, urbanistes, escriptors o artistes. És clar que les ciutats actuals ja no són com aquella Lisboa de Pessoa que revelava la seva essència misteriosa al passejant curiós, ni tampoc somien projectes utòpics o se semblen als relats dels viatgers fascinats per l’exotisme de ciutats orientals com Pequin o la bulliciosa Delhi, tan a prop del fastuós Taj Mahal. Avui aquestes i altres ciutats mítiques es troben en processos tan accelerats de canvi que fa, com digué Italo Calvino, que siguin ara més bé una idea poètica, “com un somni que neix del cor de les ciutats invisibles”. Malgrat això, l’antropòleg Marc Augé escrigué: “El món existeix encara en la seva diversitat. Però aquesta diversitat poc té a veure amb l’aparent calidoscopi del turisme. Tal vegada una de les nostres tasques més urgents sigui tornar a aprendre a viatjar, en tot cas, a regions més properes a nosaltres, a fi d’aprendre novament a veure”.

Nascut a Palma el 1967 i llicenciat en Història de l’Art a Mallorca i a Barcelona, la ciutat i els seus entorns industrials, turístics i naturals és l’eix argumental que unifica el treball de Xisco Bonnín al llarg de més de vint anys. Coherent en la seva diversitat, la seva obra es caracteritza per una nítida objectivitat emocionalment distanciada en el cas de les imatges directes i l’ús expressiu de la manipulació fotogràfica i la superposició de capes visuals en funció de la temàtica. Tanmateix, sempre s’hi pot esbrinar en les seves imatges un component romàntic o una pinzellada sentimental positiva. És el cas del seu projecte “Adéu barri xinés, adéu”, un acurat recorregut per les darreries de tot un barri del centre històric de Palma que s’havia d’esbucar per iniciar un controvertit projecte de remodelació urbana. En aquesta sèrie fotogràfica, Bonnín es va afirmar com aquest lúcid antropòleg de la contemporaneïtat que ens feia veure més enllà de les velles façanes i els murs trencats, en els rètols i totes les restes trepitjades pels carrers, el que quedava de les vides dels antics habitants d’un indret marginal que ja no representava la cosmopolita capital balear dels anys noranta.

Fotografia de la sèrie “Adéu barri xino, adéu”. Xisco Bonnín, 2001.

Impulsor d’un espai gestionat per artistes i centrat en fotografia, “La Fàbrica de Licors”, Bonnín es va donar a conèixer intensivament en exposicions col·lectives de molt ressò, com “Exit” al Casal Balaguer el 2001, “Somnis i Malsons” presentada al 2004-2005 al Centre Cultural Andratx i “Bombeu d’amor” a Amsterdam l’abril de 2005, mostres que el varen relacionar amb un nombrós grup d’artistes mallorquins que, amb les seves propostes més híbrides, trencaren amb els supòsits estètics i argumentals de la generació precedent.

Una fita a la seva trajectòria fou el seu ambiciós projecte “Motorland”, diari visual d’un viatge al llarg de 2.500 quilòmetres per la Mediterrània Sud – presentat a la Galeria Xavier Fiol de Palma- en què l’artista contraposava la seva visió alternativa a aquella idíl·lica imatge de postal d’uns territoris farcits de memòria històrica i bells paratges, posant l’èmfasi en el caràcter impersonal dels espais anònims i “no llocs” que conformaven l’altra cara dels seus sumptuosos escenaris.

Fotografia de la sèrie “Motorland”. Xisco Bonnín, 2006.

Són artistes com Xisco Bonnín els que ens ajuden a llegir la ciutat com un fet canviant i ens fan descobrir les noves experiències a què ens conviden les seves transformacions. La ciutat de Bonnín és, de fet, tant un lloc físic com conceptual, un entorn mental i literal on té lloc un encontre singular amb el present. Cercador de llocs inèdits dins el conegut, Bonnín ha interpretat visualment tant l’antic barri jueu de Palma com les anodines ciutats dormitori, les cases burgeses i els ressorts turístics de luxe, els clubs nocturns, les fires d’art i també tots els signes, cartells i reclams visuals que surten cada dia al nostre encontre.

Amb motiu de la seva exposició retrospectiva “Les ciutats (in)visibles” al Casal Solleric de Palma el 2015, l’artista va classificar les seves ciutats en tres àmbits principals: la ciutat submergida -els entorns marginals que mostren l’embat de les transformacions del present-, la ciutat continua -que mostrà la magnitud del fenomen urbà així com l’homogeneïtzació de les tipologies de les ciutats contemporànies- i la ciutat espectacle -la ciutat del “simulacre” de l’oci i el consum, d’aquesta híper-realitat que ens condueix cap a la “civilització del desig”, de la moda i la multiplicació infinita de l’oferta del lleure.

Fotografia de la sèrie “Honeymoon Home Resort”. Xisco Bonnín, 2008.

És molt curiós que després de tants anys perseguint la diversitat del fenomen urbà i d’haver viatjat al llarg i ample de diferents continents per trobar històries originals i vestigis de diferència, un accident tecnològic hagi resultat un fet cabdal dins la trajectòria de l’artista. Deia Marco Polo que “tenia por de perdre Venècia si no parlava d’ella”. Xisco Bonnín no pensava que la pèrdua, o millor dit la “corrupció” dels seus arxius digitals li oferiria un ventall d’imatges tan diferents i suggeridores com les que conté el seu llibre “Photo Data Corruption”, publicat aquest any i presentat recentment a Can Balaguer de Palma.

Imatge de la publicació “Photo Data Corruption”. Xisco Bonnín, 2021.

Es ben sabut que Joan Fontcuberta és un dels millors artistes i teòrics de la fotografia actual i que ha investigat amplament sobre la revolució digital tant amb texts com “La fúria de les imatges” com amb exposicions temàtiques sobre post-fotografia. Segons Fontcuberta, la post-fotografia és un llenguatge que “reubica la desmaterialització de la imatge i la seva autoria, i que dissol les nocions d’originalitat i de propietat, de veritat i de memòria”. No és estrany que aquesta i altres reflexions en torn a aquest nou àmbit sorgit de les evolucions digitals encaixin perfectament amb les imatges de “Photo Data Corruption”, que són en realitat un doble mirall en el qual podem endevinar tant el reflex de la imatge inicial com el d’aquella altra causada per la “corrupció” accidental dels arxius perduts en el procés.

Potser ens hauríem de demanar què passaria si l’artista no hagués fet públic aquest fet atzarós i si haguéssim cregut que, igual que ell mateix féu amb altres sèries com “Motorland”, volgué novament transformar unes fotografies que li semblaven massa conegudes en quelcom de nou i diferent superposant-hi capes d’imatge i color. I és que la diferencia, la singularitat i tot allò que ens separa del comú i el conegut és quelcom que perseguim tots, artistes i persones corrents.

Imatge de la publicació “Photo Data Corruption”. Xisco Bonnín, 2021.

I si bé aquest cop l’artista comparteix “autoria” amb un ordinador capritxós, del que no hi ha dubte és que la font original (la imatge perduda), la selecció i l’ordenació de les imatges dins el llibre són totalment obra de l’artista. És ell i la seva mirada la que ens guia per les successives pàgines d’un llibre que, finalment, té molt d’ell i dels seus interessos, dels seus punts de vista, de la seva sensibilitat, fins i tot la que ens amagava abans, quan només era ell l’artífex de les obres, encara que superposés plànols. És Bonnín qui ha construït aquest darrer viatge visual que comença amb vistes de jardins i entorns naturals i que, a poc a poc, ens endinsa per indrets turístics i urbans transformats atzarosament, per arribar fins a les darreres formes d’abstracció cromàtica, imatges totes elles que creen una bella metàfora d’aquesta realitat paral·lela que ja ens hem acostumat a mirar, fills com som del flux inacabable d’imatges que corre per l’univers intangible de les xarxes virtuals.

Imatge de la publicació “Photo Data Corruption”. Xisco Bonnín, 2021.

Fou un error, l’accidental exposició a la llum dels seus negatius, el fet que va obrir els camins a la fotografia experimental per a Man Ray i a tots aquells artistes que van entendre que el fins aleshores llenguatge “secundari” de la fotografia podia mantenir fermament el pols a la pintura, alliberant-se també de la responsabilitat de “descriure la realitat”. I han estat errors, o canvis de perspectiva, els estímuls que han propiciat la gran diversitat de solucions que caracteritza la pràctica contemporània, avui més oberta que mai a interferències de tota mena. I quan ja tenim a les mans la magnífica publicació que recull el fruit de la imprevisible corrupció dels arxius digitals de Xisco Bonnín, cal pensar que ben segur que aquest projecte marcarà un punt d’inflexió en el seu quefer, del qual n’haurem d’esperar impacients les seves millors conseqüències.

“Photo Data Corruption”.
Publicació editada per SAMAKINETA amb el suport del Departament de Cultura, Patrimoni i Política.
Lingüística del Consell de Mallorca.
Projecte fotogràfic: Xisco Bonnín.
Text: Evarist Torres.
Disseny i maquetació: Ramon Giner.

“ENGLISH TRANSLATION”

Given its suitability in constructing identities, imaginaries and relational codes of their inhabitants, cities have always been a valuable object of reflection for philosophers, sociologists, urbanists, writers or artists. It is clear that our current cities are not more like that Pessoa’s Lisbon that revealed its mysterious essence to curios walkers. Neither are cities dreaming about new utopias and, of course, they don’t resemble to those old oriental cities such as imperial Pekin or boisterous Delhi -so near of impressive Taj Mahal-, that captivated us when reading the narrations of those travellers fascinated by their exotism. Today, these and other mythic cities suffer so accelerated process of transformation that, according to Italo Calvino are mainly a poetic idea “as a dream born at the heart of invisible cities”. However, the anthropologist Marc Augé wrote: “The world still exists in its diversity. But this diversity has little to do with the apparent kaleidoscope of tourism. Maybe one of our most urgent tasks is to learn again to travel, included to closer regions, with the aim to learn to see again”.

Born in 1967 in Palma, Xisco Bonnin graduated in Art History in Mallorca and Barcelona. The city and its industrial, touristic and natural environments unify his artistic production, which last for more than twenty years. Cohesive in its diversity his work characterizes by its emotionally distant and nitid objectivity of direct images and by the expressive use of photographic manipulation and the overlapping of layers depending on the theme. However, we may always discover a romantic touch or a sentimental trait in his images. As an example, his project “Goodbye Chinese Neighbourhood, Goodbye”, an accurate tour around the last days of a whole area of the city of Palma before it was all pulled down to start a controversial new urban remodelling project. In this photographic series, Bonnin was confirmed as that lucid anthropologist of contemporaneity who made us see beyond the old façades and broken walls, in the signs and all the remains trampled by the streets to discover what was left of the lives of the ancient inhabitants of that marginal area of the city that no longer represented the cosmopolitan capital of the Balearic Islands of the nineties.

Promoter of a space managed by artists focused on photography, “La Fabrica de Licors”, Bonnin was widely known thanks to group exhibitions such as “Exit”, at Casal Balaguer in 2001, “Dreams and Nightmares” at Centre Cultural Andratx in 2004-2005 and “Love Pumping” in Amsterdam in April 2005, shows that contacted him with a new generation of Mallorquin artists that broke with the aesthetics and arguments of the previous one with their hybrid proposals.

A highlight of his trajectory was the ambitious project “Motorland”, a visual diary of a long trip along 2.500 kilometers of the South of the Mediterranean -presented at Xavier Fiol Gallery- where the artist contrasted the idyllic vision of those postcard-like territories filled with historical memory and beautiful landscapes with his alternative vision of anonymous spaces and “non places” of impersonal character that represented the other side of that sumptuous scenarios.

Artists like Xisco Bonnin are those that help us to read the city as a changing text, making us discover the new experiences that offer their transformations. The city of Bonnin is, in fact, both a physical and a conceptual place, a mental and literal environment where takes place a singular encounter with the present. Searcher for unpublished places within the well-known, Bonnin has visually interpreted both the old Jewish quarter of Palma and the outskirts cities, bourgeois houses and resorts, nightclubs, art fairs and those signs, posters and visual claims that come out every day to meet us.

On the occasion of his retrospective exhibition “The invisible cities” at Casal Solleric in Palma, in 2015, the artist classified all his cities in three main ambits: the submerged city -marginal environments that show the impact of the transformations of the present-, the continuous city -which showed the magnitude of the urban phenomenon as well as the homogenization of typologies of contemporary cities- and the city spectacle -the city of the spectacle -the city of “simulation”, a kind of hyper-reality that leads us to the “civilization of desire”, of fashion and the infinite multiplication of leisure and consumption offer.

It’s very curious that after so many years pursuing the diversity of the urban phenomenon and having traveled across different continents to look forward to find original stories and vestiges of difference, a technological accident has been a major event in of the artist career. Marco Polo said that he was “afraid of losing Venice if he didn’t talk about it.” Xisco Bonnin never thought that the lost or, rather, the “corruption” of his digital files would offer him a range of images as different and suggestive as those included in his book “Photo Data Corruption”, published this year and recently presented at Can Balaguer de Palma.

Joan Fontcuberta, who is among the best artists and theorists on photography, has extensively research on the digital revolution with texts such as “The Fury of Images” and thematic exhibitions on post-photography, which, according to him “relocates the dematerialization of the image and its authorship, dissolves the notions of originality and property, of truth and memory”. It is not surprising that this and other reflections on post-photography fit perfectly with the images of “Photo Data Corruption”, which are actually a double mirror where we can see both the reflection of the initial image and that of the other caused by the accidental “corruption” of the files lost in the process.

Maybe we should think about what will have happened it the artist have not made public that hazardous fact and we could had thought that, same as he did with his “Motorland” series, he wanted once again to transform photographs that seemed to him to well-known into something new and different. And this is because difference, singularity and all that that separates us from the common and known is something that we all, normal people, wish to attaint.

And whether this time the artist “shares authorship” with a capricious computer, there is no doubt that it is the original source (the lost image), the selection and the organizing of the images of the book totally due to the artist. It’s him and his gaze what guides us throughout the successive pages of a book that, finally, has a lot of him and his interests, of his points of view, of his sensitivity, even that one hided before, when he was the only “author” of his works. It is Bonnin who designed that last visual trip that starts with garden and natural environments views and, step by step, deeps us into touristic and urban places to reach the last chromatic abstractions that close the book, images all of them that create a beautiful metaphor of that parallel reality that we are already used to deal with, as we are all suns of that endless flux of images that run by the intangible universe of virtual networks.

It was an error, the hazardous exposition of negatives, what opened the paths of experimental photography to Man Ray and to all those artists that understood that the “secondary” language that was photography until that moment, could now maintain its pulse to painting and get also freed of being responsible of “describing reality”. There have been errors, or changes of perspective, that have propitiated the great diversity of solutions that characterizes contemporary practice, today much more opened than ever before to all sort of interferences. And now, when we have in our hands the fantastic publication that show the result of the unpredictable corruption of Xisco Bonnín’s digital archives, we are sure that this project is a turning point in his career, which we will have to follow waiting to see its best consequences.

Given its suitability in constructing identities, imaginaries and relational codes of their inhabitants, cities have always been a valuable object of reflection for philosophers, sociologists, urbanists, writers or artists. It is clear that our current cities are not more like that Pessoa’s Lisbon that revealed its mysterious essence to curios walkers. Neither are cities dreaming about new utopias and, of course, they don’t resemble to those old oriental cities such as imperial Pekin or boisterous Delhi -so near of impressive Taj Mahal-, that captivated us when reading the narrations of those travellers fascinated by their exotism. Today, these and other mythic cities suffer so accelerated process of transformation that, according to Italo Calvino are mainly a poetic idea “as a dream born at the heart of invisible cities”. However, the anthropologist Marc Augé wrote: “The world still exists in its diversity. But this diversity has little to do with the apparent kaleidoscope of tourism. Maybe one of our most urgent tasks is to learn again to travel, included to closer regions, with the aim to learn to see again”.

Born in 1967 in Palma, Xisco Bonnin graduated in Art History in Mallorca and Barcelona. The city and its industrial, touristic and natural environments unify his artistic production, which last for more than twenty years. Cohesive in its diversity his work characterizes by its emotionally distant and nitid objectivity of direct images and by the expressive use of photographic manipulation and the overlapping of layers depending on the theme. However, we may always discover a romantic touch or a sentimental trait in his images. As an example, his project “Goodbye Chinese Neighbourhood, Goodbye”, an accurate tour around the last days of a whole area of the city of Palma before it was all pulled down to start a controversial new urban remodelling project. In this photographic series, Bonnin was confirmed as that lucid anthropologist of contemporaneity who made us see beyond the old façades and broken walls, in the signs and all the remains trampled by the streets to discover what was left of the lives of the ancient inhabitants of that marginal area of the city that no longer represented the cosmopolitan capital of the Balearic Islands of the nineties.

Promoter of a space managed by artists focused on photography, “La Fabrica de Licors”, Bonnin was widely known thanks to group exhibitions such as “Exit”, at Casal Balaguer in 2001, “Dreams and Nightmares” at Centre Cultural Andratx in 2004-2005 and “Love Pumping” in Amsterdam in April 2005, shows that contacted him with a new generation of Mallorquin artists that broke with the aesthetics and arguments of the previous one with their hybrid proposals.

A highlight of his trajectory was the ambitious project “Motorland”, a visual diary of a long trip along 2.500 kilometers of the South of the Mediterranean -presented at Xavier Fiol Gallery- where the artist contrasted the idyllic vision of those postcard-like territories filled with historical memory and beautiful landscapes with his alternative vision of anonymous spaces and “non places” of impersonal character that represented the other side of that sumptuous scenarios.

Artists like Xisco Bonnin are those that help us to read the city as a changing text, making us discover the new experiences that offer their transformations. The city of Bonnin is, in fact, both a physical and a conceptual place, a mental and literal environment where takes place a singular encounter with the present. Searcher for unpublished places within the well-known, Bonnin has visually interpreted both the old Jewish quarter of Palma and the outskirts cities, bourgeois houses and resorts, nightclubs, art fairs and those signs, posters and visual claims that come out every day to meet us.

On the occasion of his retrospective exhibition “The invisible cities” at Casal Solleric in Palma, in 2015, the artist classified all his cities in three main ambits: the submerged city -marginal environments that show the impact of the transformations of the present-, the continuous city -which showed the magnitude of the urban phenomenon as well as the homogenization of typologies of contemporary cities- and the city spectacle -the city of the spectacle -the city of “simulation”, a kind of hyper-reality that leads us to the “civilization of desire”, of fashion and the infinite multiplication of leisure and consumption offer.

It’s very curious that after so many years pursuing the diversity of the urban phenomenon and having traveled across different continents to look forward to find original stories and vestiges of difference, a technological accident has been a major event in of the artist career. Marco Polo said that he was “afraid of losing Venice if he didn’t talk about it.” Xisco Bonnin never thought that the lost or, rather, the “corruption” of his digital files would offer him a range of images as different and suggestive as those included in his book “Photo Data Corruption”, published this year and recently presented at Can Balaguer de Palma.

Joan Fontcuberta, who is among the best artists and theorists on photography, has extensively research on the digital revolution with texts such as “The Fury of Images” and thematic exhibitions on post-photography, which, according to him “relocates the dematerialization of the image and its authorship, dissolves the notions of originality and property, of truth and memory”. It is not surprising that this and other reflections on post-photography fit perfectly with the images of “Photo Data Corruption”, which are actually a double mirror where we can see both the reflection of the initial image and that of the other caused by the accidental “corruption” of the files lost in the process.

Maybe we should think about what will have happened it the artist have not made public that hazardous fact and we could had thought that, same as he did with his “Motorland” series, he wanted once again to transform photographs that seemed to him to well-known into something new and different. And this is because difference, singularity and all that that separates us from the common and known is something that we all, normal people, wish to attaint.

And whether this time the artist “shares authorship” with a capricious computer, there is no doubt that it is the original source (the lost image), the selection and the organizing of the images of the book totally due to the artist. It’s him and his gaze what guides us throughout the successive pages of a book that, finally, has a lot of him and his interests, of his points of view, of his sensitivity, even that one hided before, when he was the only “author” of his works. It is Bonnin who designed that last visual trip that starts with garden and natural environments views and, step by step, deeps us into touristic and urban places to reach the last chromatic abstractions that close the book, images all of them that create a beautiful metaphor of that parallel reality that we are already used to deal with, as we are all suns of that endless flux of images that run by the intangible universe of virtual networks.

It was an error, the hazardous exposition of negatives, what opened the paths of experimental photography to Man Ray and to all those artists that understood that the “secondary” language that was photography until that moment, could now maintain its pulse to painting and get also freed of being responsible of “describing reality”. There have been errors, or changes of perspective, that have propitiated the great diversity of solutions that characterizes contemporary practice, today much more opened than ever before to all sort of interferences. And now, when we have in our hands the fantastic publication that show the result of the unpredictable corruption of Xisco Bonnín’s digital archives, we are sure that this project is a turning point in his career, which we will have to follow waiting to see its best consequences.

Pilar Ribal Simó
Llicenciada en Història de l’Art (1993) i Màster en Gestió Cultural (1995). Exerceix la crítica d’art des-de 1995, amb col·laboracions a premsa escrita i revistes especialitzades (Lápiz, El Cultural, Art.es, Arco Noticias, Art Investor, Lluc, etc.). Fou docent de la Universitat de les Illes Balears (Història de la Fotografia i Patrimoni Cultural), Responsable Artística d’Es Baluard, Directora-Gerent de la Fundació Palma Espai d’Art i, entre d’altres, Directora de Artactiva, s.l. Autora de centenars de texts i assajos crítics, ha comissariat nombrosos projectes expositius per a institucions públiques i privades a nivell internacional. L’àmbit experimental del Dibuix Ampliat és una de les seves línies d’investigació artística. Associada d’ACCA i membre de la Junta Directiva d’ACCAIB, actualment és Responsable de Cultura i Pràctica Artística Contemporània de la Fundació ITINEREM.

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