Valid Foto BCN
22 - 25 September, 2022, Georgia
Xavier Manrique: Trànsits
“Transits” take place in an indefinite time that possibly exists on the way, on the border of
dream and reality, at a time when memories and what appears at the horizon become the
most significant, in a diffuse space where everything has been, and everything is about to
When entering the exhibition space of Xavier Manrique’s exhibition “Trànsits”, the viewer is
immediately immersed in a most unusual, almost unearthly perceptual experience.
Manrique’s images do not yield quick and easy recognition, interpretation, and
appreciation. The viewer must work her way through the complex visual spectacle of the
presented scenes, by first acknowledging that her usual abilities of recognising objects and
places will not only fail in certain cases, but will only constitute the first step on the way to
understand Manrique’s photographs.
This first step in this creative journey consists of the realisation that if the scenes are
familiar, showing familiar objects and scenes, such as trees and landscapes, then at least the
colours will be most unfamiliar and even disturbingly unreal – although presenting beautiful
tones and compositions. Some images, however, would not even make object and scene
recognition very easy, presenting dreamy, even surrealistic landscapes that we may only
experience in our imagination without the help of Manrique’s photography. Even in the
images where depiction is more easily recognisable, the transcendence of another
dimension of being and reality grabs us and holds on to us. Manrique’s images, regardless of
their perceptual implications, steer towards the abstract as well, for the viewer must always
process and appreciate the composition as a whole, the majestic tranquillity of its lines,
shapes, and colours.
Beyond this strong, even overwhelming perceptual experience the view will also
contemplate the intricate layers of photographic meanings of the images. Manrique’s use of
photographic abstraction takes the viewer far away from the known, the ordinarily
experienced reality, by creating and unfolding imaginary places, places created by the
human mind in its creative reconfiguration of the already known layers of reality. These
new, imaginary places provide for endless possibilities, endless ways of reinterpreting reality
and the human condition. Manrique’s places are places of nature in Catalonia, but these
natural scenes appear in an unnatural depiction. This also forces the viewer to contemplate
the very notion of what we consider nature, natural and unnatural, and also our complex
relation to this natural environment.
Manrique’s exhibition offers a very rich aesthetic experience, and a most interesting
photographic take on the landscape genre and beyond.