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Jose Martinez Verea
Poster for Por la cocina de Hippocrates
[A walk by Hippocrates' Kitchen]
Provided by the artist - Jose Martinez Verea
A walk by Hippocrates' Kitchen.
In between the photography as a magic process, there is its capability of convert the most simple and ordinary things in material for art. For the record, we are not saying artistic material but material for art because these same simple and ordinary things don't dig up their condition for the simple fact of photography. They don't transform themselves in material for art by the prodigious instrument that is a photographic camera, analogic or digital; neither they transform themselves by the chemical or electronic process and that we use to call "a photo". Things change or find a new essence, in the imagination and creative talent of the photographer, which is a creature not yet defined that swing between art, science, things and adventure and holder of that privileged look of certain human being, as beginner in time of history as the recent invention of photography.
Jose Martinez Verea is one of the photographers that have that kind of mutant look, different of other artistic creators, capable of discover abandoned or no-used objects, and with the forcefully use of techniques and processes he'll find them another essence, give them a new life, a plastic vibration that don't have by themselves. In resume, he'll reinvent them as his own artistic creation, from just being material for art to be artistic material; in other words, saving the enormous difference between any photo of an object and another which from the object itself can transmit us the indefinable emotion of beauty and harmonic, the enigmatic vibration of what we call art.
A Walk by Hippocrates' Kitchen combines archaic surgical instruments, preserved yet as history collection with the mortal and fragile food of every day. Tweezers, claws, bistouries, scrapers, terrible augers, handsaws and a parade of hourglasses, all of them share the plastic and tonal harmony created by Martinez Verea in the photographic design with inviting mushrooms, juicy cantaloupe, chirimoyas, tangerine's segments, meticulously impaled charales in a woods of hypodermic needles; luxury cuts of meat, lobsters and shrimps.
What would be a summary of the instrumental torture which we all fear, but what we sometimes commit for to save or to die in the try, plays a galloping photographic imagination of Martinez Verea with a refined menu. The fine iron of the surgeon combined with the raw material of a great cuisine. What cuts, digs, drills and opens invented by the Scientist Man to free us from pain and illness combined with what the Country Man extract from the ground, the fields or the sea to give us energy, delight and life. There is no contradiction; that is what Pepe Martinez discovered with his sharp eyes of a photographer and the burning and meticulous imagination of an artist. Both things, surgical and food, they give us life but also they can take it away or at least ruin it. It is indeed, a creative and harmonic paradox with a dose of humor and extravagance.
In the same way, Jose Martinez takes the game of the paradox to the technique ground. In his imaginary walk by Hippocrates' gardens, he uses distant techniques, and in opposite appearance but at the end turned up to be sequential in history of photography. In one hand, the finest of the printing systems of XIX century, the Paladium/Platinum and on the other hand, the digital printing that has come to stay and in which the spirit of craftsman like Martinez, doesn't displace the classic photographic culture where still live the darkroom, the fiber papers, the hand prepared emulsions, the outside light expositions and the almost extinct 20 x 25 cm plates in touch with cotton paper.
What this exhibition offers is the outlasting of magic and manual processes, interlarded with the digital revolution of photography. In this manner, there is neither contradiction in the technical use of this excellent photographic exhibition. You can see in almost all images is the spirit of pursuit, that mutant look of the truly photographer who knows how to give to abandoned objects, the dignity of being reborn in a photographic perfection.
Rodrigo Moya, Cuernavaca, summer of 2003.