In the exhibition Expanded Photography 2002-2018, Galerie Springer Berlin is showing three different work cycles by the Basque artist Aitor Ortiz in which traditional photographic boundaries are surpassed in surprising and fascinating ways.
The highlight of the exhibition is the presentation of works from the related series 'Vicinay and Link' (2018). Vicinay is a chain factory in the former industrial area of Zorrotzaurre in Bilbao. The manufacturing plant, which produced a total of 10,000km of ship-mooring chains over a 60-year period, was moved to a new location as a result of urban-development measures and gentrification. Ortiz, who grew up in the vicinity of the industrial site and has been based there via his studio for many years, had parts of the steel floor panels in the former manufacturing plant removed piece-by-piece, involving extensive effort.
These heavy steel plates are characterised by distortions, folds and scars resulting from decades of pulling kilometres of extremely heavy, hot chains. The steel plates from Vicinay, which are being shown in the exhibition in the original (100 x 100cm), are therefore prints or impressions in the wider sense of the words.
The related series 'Link' is the photographic treatment of Vicinay. With great clarity and striking sharpness, the works give expression to the work processes that formed or deformed the steel plates over decades, and to the cracks and 'injuries' caused to them as a result.
In the series 'Espacio Latente' (2008/2018) and 'Modular Mod' (2002), Ortiz works with space and architecture as source elements in order to puzzle us both visually and cognitively. His works, which he presents only in back and white, go way beyond a documentary form of architectural photography and emphasise the dissolution and conversion of the real that is concomitant with the photographic representation. Ortiz has an unending interest in highlighting a series of contradictions between representation and interpretation (perception).
About the Artist
Born in Bilbao in 1971, the artist is one of the best-known Spanish photographers. He has already exhibited in numerous major museums in Europe, Asia and America, in both group and solo exhibitions. His major solo exhibitions include Museo Universidad de Navarra (2018); Fotografiska Stockholm (2012); Sala Canal de Isabel II, Madrid (2012); and Museo Guggenheim, Bilbao (2011). The 2011 book published by Hatje Cantz is an important monograph on his work, which has been celebrated by critics and honoured with numerous awards. His works are featured in many different collections, including Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Museo Guggenheim Bilbao; Fundación La Caixa; AXA, Belgium; IVAM-Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno; the Norman Foster Collection and many others.
Press release courtesy Galerie Springer Berlin.