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Translating Gursky

By Jesús Mario Lozano
New York, November, 2003

The arrow of the eye
dead on target of the instant.
Octavio Paz

 

When writing about Manuel Alvarez Bravo, in 1981, the Mexican poet Octavio Paz admired the titles of his photographs. He called them “mental triggers”, because they made appear from an explicit photographic image an implicit one, until then invisible. He was interested on the encounter between word and image, but, at the same time, on the multiple realities, double or triple, that emerged from the photographs. On his rhyming games, both, visual and verbal, among the nets of visual, mental and even tactile relations that emerged. For Paz, the poetic image occurs when being and desire pact for an instant, on the intersection of times, in the moment of its appearance/disappearance. It is interesting how Jürgen Habermas cites Octavio Paz in his Der Philosophische Diskurs der Moderne, regarding precisely this convergence point, the poetic instant of the “longing of real presence.” He does this to refer to his particular interpretation of the Dionysiac in Nietzsche. To describe the moment of ecstasy in which, for Habermas, the categories of doing and thinking collapse, and the sphere of the aesthetic experience opens up. The photographs of Oswaldo Ruiz more than taking us to The Other Shore, they let us in the middle. Nor in one shore, nor in the other, but offshore. His photographs are entr’actes. He stays with Nietzsche. His images paralyze before the poetic instant and after the photographic one. They show us the obscene cut that stops the moment of supposed ecstasy, he makes a grid of it, he erases it and recomposes it. He gets fixed in translation, on the interval; on the pause of the visual nets. Half digital, half analogue. In front of the Paz-Habermas’ narrative of the aesthetic moment, Oswaldo Ruiz, slows down and becomes a stranger. An undifferentiated kaleidoscope under the Gursky signifier that, on itself, means a way of making photography and a tradition, not that far away from making of photography an art, as Octavio Paz celebrates it in that text of 1981. The translation of Oswaldo Ruiz is a geopolitical provocation, but it is also a photographic irruption. An impossible translation of the gaze in which the interlaced body gets in between. A cut. Gursky is translated to be betrayed, from the infinite garbage dump of Mexico (2002).

STUDIO:

oswaldo.r@gmail.com
info@oswaldoruiz.net
 

INSTAGRAM:
www.instagram.com/oswaldorruiz
 

GALLERIES:

 

PATRICIA CONDE

Gral. Juan Cano 68
San Miguel Chapultepec I Secc.
Mexico City, 11850, Mexico
T: +52 (55) 5290 6345
info@patriciacondegaleria.com
www.patriciacondegaleria.com
 

HEART EGO

Lazaro Garza Ayala 511, Casco Urbano, 66230
San Pedro Garza García, N.L., Mexico
T: +52 (81) 8448 9408

galeria@heartego.com
www.heartego.com

Oswaldo Ruiz was born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, in 1977. An early interest in space led him to study architecture at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), a profession that he quickly abandoned in order to focus on photography. Interested in broadening his understanding of the image, he completed graduate studies in psychoanalysis, philosophy and art history at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). Later, in order to advance his explorations of visual media, he enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts program at Central Saint Martins College in London. From 2015 and 2018 he was the studio assistant of the Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide.

Using the darkness of night as material for his photographic work, between 2004 and 2012 he took pictures of different places along the highways around Monterrey: gas stations, convenience stores, bus stops and strange, illuminated buildings. This led him to photograph the demolished houses in the municipality of Anáhuac, a border area where his family was originally from and that had since been abandoned because of migration to the U.S. after NAFTA. Along these same lines, and as a result of artistic residencies in Dublin, Berlin and Santiago de Chile, he developed different projects with which, in a sort of archeology of the everyday, he explored the dualities of light and darkness, consciousness and the unconscious, life and death, in his series of medieval towers, ephemeral constructions and anti-monuments. The last of these series, about quiotes (the flower produced by the agave plant before it dies), was shot in the state of Oaxaca. One of his last projects Welcome to Paradise (2013-2017), shown in Centro de la Imagen in 2017 and Fototeca de Nuevo León in 2018, he portrays different enclaves of Latin American cities to deconstruct the idea of the city and extract images of some archetypes that inhabit it, where a dialogue between ruins and science fiction spaces is created. For this project he photographed from the port of Valparaíso in Chile to the Dry port of Jalisco, across Mexico City, Monterrey, the zone of The plain in flames of Rulfo, Barra de Navidad, Colombia and Dominican Republic.

He has had over a dozen solo exhibitions, including: Nostalgia de catástrofes (Patricia Conde gallery, 2018), Welcome to Paradise (Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City 2017 and Fototeca de Nuevo León 2018); Espacio que cabe entre dos tiempos (Galería Heart Ego, Monterrey, 2016); Anudamientos (Museo de la Ciudad de México, Mexico City, 2013); Frecuencia natural (Galería Luis Adelantado, Mexico City, 2011); Oswaldo Ruiz 2002-2009 (Fototeca Nuevo León, Monterrey, 2010) and Last Night (Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2010).

He has also participated in over fifty group shows, including: Constitución mexicana 1917- 2017. Imágenes y voces (Galería del Palacio Nacional, Mexico City, 2017); Tlaxotlali: Alternancia de ciclos (Casa del Lago, UNAM, Mexico City, 2017); the XII FEMSA Biennial / Poéticas del decrecimiento, ¿cómo vivir mejor con menos? (Centro de las Artes, Parque Fundidora, Monterrey, 2016); Develar y detonar. Fotografía en México ca. 2015 (Centro Cibeles, Madrid and Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico City, 2015); Existe todo lo que tiene nombre (Camera Works, San Francisco, California, 2015); Dirty, Poorly Dressed and Filled with Love (Erehwon Center for the Arts, Quezon City, Philippines, 2013); El vértigo de la abundancia (Casa del Lago, unam, Mexico City, 2013); Basado en una historia verdadera (Museo Salvador Allende, Santiago de Chile, 2012); Umbrales (Instituto de México en París, Paris, 2010); Registro 02. Mirar por segunda vez (Museo marco, Monterrey, 2009) and the XIII Bienal de Fotografía (Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, 2009).

His work has received awards both nationally and internationally, including the Acquisition prize of the XVIII Photography Biennial of Centro de al Imagen (2018), SIVAM prize (2006), the Petrobras-Buenos Aires Photo Prize (2006), and the Acquisition Prize at the 2nd Bienal de Artes Visuales de Yucatán (2004). Recently he published the book Welcome to Paradise (La Caja de Cerillos Ediciones and Fundación BBVA Bancomer, Mexico City, 2017). His work has also been published in many books, magazines and catalogues, and shown at the international fairs Madrid Foto (2011 and 2012) and Paris Photo (2006 and 2007). Since 2018 he is a Member of the National System of Art Creator, of FONCA.

2006-07

Master in Fine Arts, Central Saint Martins College, London, UK.

2000-01

Postgraduate courses in Contemporary Art and Psychoanalysis. Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain.

1994-99

Architecture, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Monterrey, Mexico.

2018

Acquisition prize in the XVIII Photography Biennial at Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico.

Member of the National System of Art Creators, FONCA, Mexico.

2010

FORCA Northeast grant to do a residency in Santiago de Chile.

2009

Special Mention on the XIII Photo Biennial, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico.

2006

First Prize SIVAM, by the International Society of Values of Mexican Art, Mexico City, Mexico.

Second Prize Petrobras-Buenos Aires Photo 2006.

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2005

Special Mention on the VII Monterrey Biennial FEMSA, Monterrey, Mexico.

2004

Acquisition Prize in the II National Biennial of Visual Arts of Yucatán, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.

 

First Prize in the XXIV Reseña de la Plástica Nuevoleonesa, Monterrey, Mexico.

2018

Museo de Arte de Sonora (MUSAS), Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

2017

Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico.

2009

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Monterrey (MARCO).

Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami, USA.

Fototeca de Nuevo Léon, Monterrey, Mexico.

2007

Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, UK.

2005

FEMSA Collection, Monterrey, Mexico.