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Other Realities: The Alhambra

From March 02, 2018 until April 01, 2018Monday through Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sundays and holidays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe exhibition halls (at Calle Alcalá, 62). Monday through Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sundays and holidays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.

At its headquarters in Madrid, Casa Árabe is exhibiting a selection of photographic negatives created by Javier Abella.

These unique photos of the Alhambra, taken by Javier Abella, with some presented in back-lit boxes, are a carefully designed project developed over a time period spanning 14 months, taking advantage of the light at different times of day. In them, Abella shows us another reality in the form of photo negatives. “The work is done using a camera that allows me to view the image as a negative without having to carry out any digital post-production. The balances and escapes which are achieved by working with photo negatives are very different from those you get using conventional photography,” the author explains about his work.

Their creator, named a Spain Brand Talent, has already used this same technique to photograph Jerusalem, Berlin, London, Madrid and Barcelona, and he has left a record of his work at the Alhambra in a book/catalogue that includes texts by Ramón Masats, Estrella Morente, Rafael Guillén and María Kodama. This exhibition shows the contents of his book, published by Abella with 153 photographs.

Javier Abella (Madrid, 1991). With a diploma in advertising from the CENP in 1993,  he completed his training as a photographer at the schools CES, EFTI and FYCSA. Through his innovative work, he attempts to invite viewers to rediscover cities, objects and things in general. He has held 12 solo exhibitions and the same number of group exhibitions. In 2009, he was awarded with the Tertulia Ilustrada (Illustrated Literary Gathering) Award of Madrid (in the photography category) and in December of 2016 he was named a Spain Brand Talent. He has also had three works published, with the titles Otras Realidades, La Alhambra (Other Realities: The Alhambra, 2015); Otras Realidades, Madrid (Other Realities: Madrid, 2013) and Otras Realidades, Barcelona (Other Realities: Barcelona, 2012).

“It is a truism that going from day to night is not difficult: you just have to wait for the sun to go down.
Javier Abella does not wait. In his laboratory, he fills daytime images with sun, and as if by magic, he turns them into poetry to show us a reality, ANOTHER.
Conceptual artists assert that photography is a lie, but Javier does not lie. He just shows the hidden beauty of HIS night.
An iconoclast, he shows the admirers of the night and their mysteries, HIS reality.
A shaman turns balconies and windows into a carnival of adorable eyes
and Venetian lips. Only a poet could see it this way.
Arachnoid door knockers, Nasrid reflections and abstractions with no excuses. In other words, pure pleasure.
Those of us addicted to the energy of the night and its mysteries are happy.
After all, there is no greater satisfaction than managing to live without the intellectual while remaining sensitive.”
As If by Magic (El birlibirloque), Ramón Masats

“And in the end the enormous fiction is revealed, the disquieting fragility, the lies and half-truths of the Alhambra. The mystical rays of Ibn Tufail and Avicenna palpitating towards a spiritual trembling. You have reached that state. Your eyes open, gain the ability to see and travel across the entire fortress, surrounding it from one end to the other. You find nothing different from what you remember, or anything whatsoever that you do not recognize. It all matches the descriptions you have heard of it. You find something new in every image, great things: larger evidence, clarity and larger pleasure.
The flighty glimmers of light multiply into static fadings. You scarcely behold them, yet that new lighting electrifies you.

We knew about the colors only from the description of their names, and it excites us to find such a perspicacious sight with our eyes wide open, requiring no rational speculation. The metaphysical and supra-sensitive is perceived. In this sort of hallucination, the difference between perception by those who only use the powers of reason and the clairvoyance of visionaries lies in the fact that the latter are aware of the supra-sensitive in and of itself, penetrating into its very essence.
A night blinded by the day.”
A night blinded by the day, Antonio Arias

Other Realities: The Alhambra
Photo: Nasrid Palaces. Patio de los Arrayanes (Javier Abella).