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Les ciutats (in)visibles

The city understood as the subject where various contemporary dialectics intersect is the thread that draws together the project entitled "Les Ciutats (In)visibles" by the Mallorcan artist Xisco Bonnín (Palma, 1967). Thus the photographic series that constitute this project, which was specially conceived for Casal Solleric's Area 1, reflect the breadth and versatility of the urban phenomenon via its multiple appearances. Xisco Bonnin traces its similarities and differences ¿ architectural and otherwise ¿ its cultural features and its public and anonymous stories that determine the personality of the generic contemporary city, his purpose being to reflect on how we as human beings experience the relationship with our cities.

Humans are, despite their apparent absence, the main actors in the urban life recorded by the artist's work. It is the human being who constructs the space, who sees and absorbs its visual codes or perhaps is the blind person who walks without seeing, who lives without decoding the meaning of his or her existence. After all, what is a city without inhabitants if not a landscape without meaning?

Italo Calvino, to whom the title of this project alludes, gave us a suggestive formulation from which to observe the city: its invisibility. Set against the evident paradox of the impossible invisibility of any conurbation filled with an infinite number of intensely real elements, an unprecedented phenomenon emerges: the overwhelming combination of "signs" that assail us render us unconscious and therefore we have learnt to ignore them.

Xisco Bonnín takes a wide-ranging look at the contemporary notion of the city, inserting us into various neighbourhoods and cities, but no specific city in particular. Only the profile of the world's great capital, New York, transformed by a fateful day, is revealed in these series of photographs founded on "places" and "non-places" and whose subtle references to tragic or happy events have to be known to be seen.

Advertising hoardings, trees, cars, wastelands and demolition sites, building sites, monuments, signboards, highways, the sea¿the landscapes included in Xisco Bonnin's "Les Ciutats (In)visibles" artwork comprise an iconographic repertoire that has to be approached both from an anthropological-cultural perspective and from contemporary artistic theories regarding reality as simulation and the subjective virtuality of all experience.

Every city is unique for every human being. Everything in urban experience is instantaneous and changing. Its time is speeded up, fleeting¿which means that every day the city is discovered anew when we notice what was always there but we failed to see.

Xisco Bonnín's proposal is therefore a visual call to the viewpoint of the passer-by, a defence of difference, since it is only through difference that a unique present can be constructed for each humanity.

The exhibition comprises three thematic parts:

  • · The submerged city

In these photographs, encompassing the series "Adios barrio chino, adios", "Graffitis románticos" and "Pa(i)sajes de la memoria", Xisco Bonnin immerses us in marginal and secondary parts of the city, representing historical realities that are "submerged" by the speed of the present.

  • · The continuous city

The urban phenomenon has conquered the planet: of the more than seven billion people who inhabit the earth, more than 75% now live in cities. The proliferation of communication networks - both physical and virtual ¿ as well as the homogenisation of the forms and kinds of city around the world situates us in a "continuous city" that perpetuates itself at the speed of our own geographical movements. This themed section includes the series "Motorland", "Autovisión", "Islaciudad", "(In)transit" and "Vida orbital".

  • · The city as show

Amid the continuing extinction of the authentic, Jean Baudrillard was pioneering in predicting contemporary society's tendency to indulge in simulation. Urban life, according to the famous French philosopher, is more and more devoid of real experiences and more impregnated with pre-coded habits. Cities today present themselves as vibrant universes of light, colour and sensations designed by and for the modern cultural industry of leisure and consumption, which frequently leads them to lemmatisation and hyper-reality. This last section includes the series "Honeymoon club resort", "Art show" and "Lovestores".

Title: Les Ciutats (In)visibles.
Area 1, Casal Solleric
Dates: 4 June to 23 August 2015.
Director and curator: Pilar Ribal
Organised by: Fundació Palma Espai d'Art, Fundación Banco Santander.
Sponsored by: Council of Mallorca and Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca.

Duration: since 4 of june until 23 of august 2015 .

Place of exhibitions

Date of last modification: 11 of May 2016


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