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The death of culture: apocalyptic visions
of our future underwater.

The sea surging through the Louvre, opera houses and libraries destroyed for ever by floods … Pablo Genoves’ images offer a haunting vision of catastrophe that could almost be ripped from headlines

Rocky horror picture show ... detail of Desierto (2009) by Pablo Genoves. All photographs: courtesy the artist/DACS 2015

The future has a long history in art. Romantic painters loved to picture what the
great buildings of their time would look like as ruins. The architect Sir John Soane
commissioned the artist Joseph Gandy to paint Soane’s masterpiece the Bank of
England not as it looked when spanking new, but as the grand vision of decay it
would one day become. Soane’s apocalyptic fantasy of his own building was
probably influenced by the French painter Hubert Robert, who in 1796 pictured
the Louvre as a roofless ruin overgrown with weeds.

The art of Pablo Genovés resurrects and restages such visions of architectural
catastrophe. In his series Precipitados, this contemporary Spanish photographer
creates grand European interiors – opera houses, libraries, baroque palaces – in
which floods of water or seas of sand push against bookcases, inundate staircases,
crash into wrought-iron gates.


Books and art, memory and history are all about to be lost ... Bibliothek (2009-2015).

In one picture, Genovés imagines the sea surging into the Louvre’s Grande Galerie
– a direct quotation of Hubert Robert’s sublime dreams. It is his passion for
European architecture that makes this horror picture show so distinctive. The
power of these photomontages is in the collision of timeless cultural grandeur
with overwhelming natural destruction. The imagery is haunting: books and art,
memory and history are all about to be lost.

There is, of course, one great difference between earlier artistic impressions of the
end of civilisation and these contemporary cataclysms. Today, the end of the
world as we know is not a romantic fantasy, but a potential reality. Overwhelming
scientific evidence minutely charts human-caused climate change. Sombre
analyses carefully map the likely consequences of melting ice caps and rising sea
levels on a precise timeline. We can’t look at these surreal images as playful acts
of imagination; they are reasonable predictions.


Nightmares that have already been seen ... Superconectores (2011).

These nightmares have already been seen, not as art but as news. Hurricane
Katrina caused scenes as strange and monstrous as those by Genovés. When part
of New Orleans lay underwater a decade ago, photographers did not need any
special effects to find apocalyptic images of inundation. Hurricane Sandy afforded
similarly stupendous images of devastation on the east coast of the US. The west
of England also became a diluvial waterscape in February 2014.

Genovés creates haunting visions of apocalypse with the enthusiasm of a
consummate catastrophist. But every day the flood becomes less mythic;
every day, the evidence grows to make these monstrous images more prosaic. The
elemental death of civilisation was once a dark theme for imaginative artists.
Today, it is a pressing and all too real emergency that our imaginations struggle to
comprehend.

   
   
 
 
 
 
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Inauguración.(12-12-2013).
 
 
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  PRECIPITADOS EXIT PUBLICACIONES
Precipitados
PABLO GENOVÉS
Texto: Ángeles Caso

Edición bilingüe: Español / Inglés
Formato: 28 x 24 cm
Páginas: 128 pp. / 59 imágenes color
Encuadernación: Tapa dura forrada en tela
ISBN: 978-84-937347-4-9
Precio: 30 euros + gastos de envío
Distribuye: Cataclismo. Distribución de libros de arte
 
       



EXIT Publicaciones presenta Precipitados, de Pablo Genovés (Madrid, 1959), el último volumen de su
colección Proyectos, destinada a visibilizar propuestas inéditas de fotógrafos españoles.
Precipitados incluye los últimos trabajos de Genovés, unas imágenes que al igual que en anteriores series, remiten al
lienzo, a la pintura, gracias a la mezcla de representaciones reales y digitales que dialogan y toman vida propia en el
objeto-archivo que es la fotográfía. La memoria queda atrapada en estas imágenes, en las que el ser humano
desaparece oculto por la marea, por enormes olas, bajo toneladas de tierra que se llevan consigo nuestros deseos. La
temporalidad de esos bellos entornos creados por el hombre nos recuerda la de la propia vida y evoca el poder de la
naturaleza: lujo, amor, felicidad, inmortalidad. Eros y Tánatos cogidos de la mano.
"El agua. Océanos de agua bramando como una tempestad en Saturno. Planetas enteros de tierra que sepultan. Ay, el
tiempo, el tiempo. ¿Y toda esa belleza? ¿Ese poder? ¿Y la belleza?". Ángeles Caso.
Pablo Genovés (Madrid, 1959). Vive y trabaja entre Madrid y Berlín.
Su obra indaga en los conceptos de memoria, pasado y realidad mediante la combinación de técnicas fotográfico-
digitales y de elementos pictáricos que dotan a sus imágenes de un carácter propio. En esta mezcla de lenguajes,
Genovés propone una renovada relación con el espectador en la que lo insólito juega un importante rol. Ha expuesto en
España, Francia, Alemania, Inglaterra, Argentina y EE UU, y sus fotografías forman parte de importantes colecciones
públicas y privadas españolas e internacionales.

© vegap / pablo genovés