press release

Galería Tomás March is proud to present the most recent work by Sergio Belinchón (Valencia, 1971) in an exhibition titled “Once upon a time...”

Belinchón, who lives and works in Berlin, is one of the most important young Spanish photographers. He has had one-person shows at Galería Distrito Cu4atro, Madrid; Abadía de Silos-MNCARS, Silos; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; and the Centro Cultural Español in Brasilia. His work has also been featured in group shows at ARCO, the Bamako Biennial in Mali, the PoriArt Museum in Finland and the Fisher Gallery, Los Angeles.

Belinchón received the Mention of Honour at Caja Madrid’s Generación 2005 and the L’Oreal Contemporary Art Award 2002, the Creación Artística grant from the Generalitat Valenciana (2000), as well as scholarships at Casa Velázquez (2001), the SpanishAcademy in Rome (1999) and the SpanishCollege in Paris (1997). His work is now in many major contemporary art and photography collections. More recently he has been involved in the Invaliden1 Galerie project in Berlin, a self-run artist’s space.

“Unlike previous exhibitions generally featuring just one series, this time I am showing different pieces I have been working on over the last year and which share elements in common.

There are three groups of photos and several super 8s. First of all, there is “Paraíso”, a film I put together from over 15 hours of super-8 film I found in a flea market. They were originally shot by two women who travelled all around the world back in the 1970s. For “Paraíso” I edited the footage down to 16 minutes focussed primarily on 5 trips with different themes: the sea, nature, the city, USA and Disneyland. It addresses the way we travel, how we reduce it all down to a few images, as if they were icons, how we visit a place, and the need to portray ourselves as some kind of proof that we were there. Besides, I have tweeked the footage a little. At the opening of the chapter on nature, many of the images actually come from a visit to a Safari Park, or Disneyland itself. And vice versa, the section on Disneyland is spliced with scenes of places other than the theme park. Sometimes our gaze is torn between both places.

Playing with appearances interests me. And that’s where the series of photos “Once upon a time…” comes in. It’s a kind of collage with 30 different-sized black and white photos taken in Yeniseisk. It’s a frontier town in Siberia with a history of gold mining and buildings that conjure up the wild west of America. Presented in old used frames, the photographs have an aged look to them, as if they were images from one hundred years ago. This impression is further enhanced by the buildings themselves. That said, in a few of them we can detect elements that tell us that they are from the present moment. For instance, a satellite dish on a roof, or a Lada car parked near the church.

“Western” is a third group of photos and a super-8 film made in Almería, where Sergio Leone filmed his famous Spaghetti Westerns. And not just the studios built especially for the movies, now a kind of tourist theme park, but all the roads, houses and towns where he filmed. Again, these photos are also undercut by visual trickery, and seem to be more reminiscent of a town in Arizona. The super-8 film is a western where nothing happens, travelling through a desert landscape until reaching a ghost town and returning back to the landscape.

The last set of photos picks up a thread from “Paraíso”. This time it’s a collection of 20 small-sized photos on tourism and travelling, again using found material or bought in markets, and it covers almost the whole history of photography, from the end of the 19th century right up until the 1980s.”

Sergio Belinchón

Sergio Belinchon
“Once upon a time...”