Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

(No) soy de aquí – Gustavo Alemán

Nov 08, 2018 - Sole Satana

Gustavo Alemán (Murcia, 1977) is a photographer, editor and photography professor. He studied at EFTI school (Madrid) where he took the International Master of Photography. Later he opened in his hometown, along with his sister, the “Gatos de Marte” art gallery specialized in photography (2009-2012). After the publication of his first self-published book “(No) soy de aquí” (2013), following the solo exhibition of the same name in la Kursala (Cádiz), and after a lifetime of fascination with books and their expressive possibilities, in 2014 he founded the Fuego Books publishing house together with his sister Ángela. Fuego Books publishes photobooks of Spanish and foreign authors and its emphasis is the diffusion of projects that start from personal experience but at the same time serve as reflection, opinion and criticism about contemporary reality.

 

Since its foundation in 2014, Fuego Books has published “Country Fictions” (2014) by the Madrid photographer Juan Aballe, a work on the aspiration to return to the rural environment, examining this mix of reality and fantasy. This was followed by “Up Around the Bend” (2015) by Christian Lagata, a personal vision of life in Rota (Cádiz) next to the American military base. In 2017 Fuego Books published “Ser de La Cala” by Gerard Boyer, a meditation on memory, construction of memories and the relationship between past, present and possible future. “Survivalists” by the French artist Léa Habourdin, addresses in a subtle narrative our complex relationship with the natural environment. His latest title is “A Place Both Wonderful and Strange” an anthology of photographic works inspired by Twin Peaks and the work of David Lynch that has the work of thirteen international photographers, including Cristina de Middel, Jason Fulford, Melissa Catanese and Salvi Danés.

 

He is also founder of the Photobook Club Murcia and member of the underphoto collective, with which he develops projects for the diffusion of contemporary photography in his hometown.

 

“(No) soy de aquí/I’m (not) from here speaks about my relationship with my own land: it was born of a faint but persistent discomfort, of the feeling of disbelief about my surroundings and of a dual rejection/attraction that this territory provokes in me. This work is the exploration of that discomfort and of my own beliefs about Murcia, the region of the southeast of Spain where I live.
My Murcia is a grotesque and formless place, insecure about its identity. The signs and portents I have been photographing along the way are to me the unequivocal clues of this lack of identity. Ruins that seem monuments and monuments that seem ruins, these surrealistic displays may seem simple jokes at first, but beyond their obvious humor a deep confusion and the desire to find some meaning or purpose can also be found. Even if the way to reach that goal is to use external references or borrowed stories, not too well understood.
So, my desire is not to offer just a parody of this crazy South or a comical taxonomy of provincial disasters. I think these jarring images speak as much about our present bleak economic crisis and poor prospects as about similar nonsense of the past. I hope that, by facing such foolishness with its distorted reflections we can find some way to escape these endless cycles.
Exorcism, homage, mockery and research at once, ‘(No) soy de aquí’ is the (self) portrait, made by one of its confused inhabitants, of a place impossible but real.”