Ribas, Xavier (2006) Invisible Structures Madrid photographicfestival PhotoEspana, Madrid, Spain.
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In 2006, Ribas received a prestigous commission (commande publique) from the French national art collection Fonds National d’Art Contemporain (FNAC) to produce a body of work to be exhibited at the Madrid photographic festival PhotoEspaña in June 2006. Ribas travelled to Guatemala to photograph in the remote archaeological site of Waka’, a Mayan city buried in the Petén rainforest. The title refers to Mayan archaeology terminology designating the site of a disappeared structure. Throughout this project, Ribas collaborated with the team of archaeologists working in the Proyecto Arqueológico Waka', directed by David Freidel (Southern Methodist University, Dallas) and Héctor Escobedo (Universidad San Carlos, Guatemala). 'Invisible Structures' (and the series 'Mud', also produced in Guatemala), represent an expansion in Ribas’s way of looking at the landscape, exposing the ‘anthropological’ approach of his previous two books to the paradigms of archaeology, looking not only at the symbolical and biographical elements that mark the identity of a place but also to the vestiges and sediments buried under the surface of the land. In 'Invisible Structures', Ribas interrogates the issue of the representation of time and memory in the landscape, the question of the visibility or invisibility of history, and the politics of ‘reconstruction’ and ‘discourse’ in archaeology. 'Invisible Structures' was exhibited at the Galeria ProjecteSD, Barcelona (September 2006) and in 2 group exhibitions in 2007: Hibrids (Espai 0, Girona) and Last Minute (Fotografie Forum International, Frankfurt am Main). Photographs from the series featured in Del Paisaje Reciente (Fundación, 2006, ISBN 139788493468422) and Source Photography Magazine (Belfast, January 2007). In 2007, Ribas received a commission to work at another archaeological site near Rome. His series 'Vulci' was exhibited at the Rome photography festival in March 2007 and featured in its accompanying publication Non Tutte le Strade Portano a Roma (Zoneattive Edizioni, 2007, ISBN 8889303026).
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