JOSE GUTIERREZ (San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1974-) | URBAN TRAIN

Until May 28th, 2010

 

José Gutiérrez has worked as a photographer of architecture, advertising and fashion. He has ventured in what is now usually qualified as “product” photography.  And in general it tends to a sort of representation specialized in the enhancement of objects, subjects and the photographed spaces. By means of the light, the color or the design, the photographs of José Gutiérrez inevitably will show an attractive, seductive reality, and with an air of glamorous artificiality. I say this and I am already thinking about the exception: the documentary photographs that Gutiérrez has elaborated in public spaces. Those are photographs that stem from the interest for real subjects that participate of the urban dynamics, people on the streets, anonymous characters, not necessarily attractive, even when the photographer achieves (and it seems part of his vocation) to “beautify” situations, the spaces and the gestures, no matter how humble they are. The photographs of the series Tren urbano (Urban Train) may be placed in the mid point between a rationality that is defined in the design (geometries, symmetries, precise lines, complementary areas, balanced compositions) and an attraction, that seems basically affective, for urban spaces, pointed out by the use, the transit, and the daily presence of people. All of this, with a significant detail: the spaces appear empty. Although the loneliness of those places does not cease to be symbolic (it is a fact, the absence is lived in these cases as a sort of presence) nevertheless, I tend to understand that emptiness as a need for the formal construction of the photograph, more than as a condition for the construction of its meaning. I believe that only in the empty space could the photographer concentrate on the system of forms, almost abstract, that configure those images of architecture as a monument and as an almost absolute place. And I am certain that human presence would be contradictory with that search for totality that is suggested in the fragments offered to us now by José Gutiérrez. This search for totality and singularity may be one of the keys to understand the filiations of this author with an iconography that has a lot to do with the sensuality and materiality of things.

By Juan Antonio Molina (translated by Leticia Consuegra)
Mexico City, May 11th, 2010

 

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