ALEJANDRO GUIJARRO PHOTOGRAPHS BLACKBOARDS USED BY THE BEST QUANTUM PHYSICISTS FOR HIS MOMENTUM SERIES
18th March 2013, by Rob Alderson, It's Nice That
Science, we keep being told, is the new rock and roll, and trend forecasters LSN Global believe our cultureâ€™s thirst for these ideas is only going to accelerate. An apt time then to come across the work of Alejandro Guijarro, a photographer who graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2010 and has been putting together his ongoing Momentum series ever since.
Alejandro visited some of the places where quantum mechanics is explored and investigated by the best brains in the business â€“ CERN in Switzerland, Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, Stanford and UC Berkeley in the USA â€“ and photographed the blackboards as he found them in these august institutions.
The results are really striking, removed from their context and the mind-bogglingly complex ideas they illustrate, we are left to enjoy these images on a purely aesthetic level, marvelling at the interplay between line, colour and form. Some still bear every scrawl the lecturer has made, with words and diagrams and equations chasing each other across the surface, but others have been cleaned, leaving only whispy fragments of the intense investigations that once existed.
ALEJANDRO GUIJARRO'S BEST PHOTOGRAPH â€“ A CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY BLACKBOARD
19th June, 2013, The Guardian, by Theresa Malone
A few years ago, I became increasingly interested in all the academic institutions around the world that are working on new theories of reality â€“ in particular quantum mechanics, which says nothing is for certain, everything is a matter of possibilities. I began to visit them to photograph their blackboards. They were full of equations, numbers and symbols, written by physicists making statements about the world and what it looks like to them. They were precise and exact, yet to me they looked like abstract paintings.
I found this one in Cambridge University. Even though it's a shot of a clean blackboard, it represents what I want to say about the relationship between reality and abstraction. I was in a classroom after a lecture and the caretaker was there, tidying the room. As he wiped the blackboard, this image revealed itself. The caretaker was the artist, even though he didn't have any artistic intentions, and the marks he left on the board make it look like a Cy Twombly or Jackson Pollock. I showed him the photograph afterwards and he was surprised he had created such a beautiful image.
Although it's blank, there are still the remains of things that had been written there, traces of the past. So in a way, I'm not just photographing one moment. It's a bit like the history of science: someone invents a theory, then someone else comes along with a different theory, erasing what has gone before. So it continues: theories are written and erased, but traces remain.
ALEJANDRO GUIJARRO; BEYOND PHOTOGRAPHIC BOUNDARIES
Guijarro's photographs could possibly be one of the most anti-government images to display in China, with skyscrapers as well as the forbidden city wrapped in thick white fog. If used by environmental activitists, these images could successfully get a few people jailed.
Luckily Guijarro's not in China, nor is he concerned with air pollution but the "spatial relations in photographic representation". What can be seen and what can be understood. He questions the authority of photography and its ability to represent the truth.
Sarah Reynolds Fine Art
Alejandro Guijarro is an artist based in London and Madrid who works primarily in photography. He completed an MA at the Royal College of Art in 2010.
His work examines spatial relations in photographic representation, exploring what photography is still allowed and able to do. He makes contradictory and paradoxical images, where the boundaries of the photographic image break down. The images imply a tension that goes back and forth between what can be seen and what can be understood, creating a simultaneous sense of appearance and disappearance. By undermining our recognizable modes of perception, he questions the solidity and the authority of the photographic image and its ability to refer to reality and to truth.