Eva Saumell, Carrer Manso, Barcelona, February 1996
Original title: Eva Saumell, carrer de Manso, Barcelona, febrer 1996
Black and white photograph
Dimensions: 142.2 x 139 cm
Reference: ACF0685
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Like all the fifty or so works that make up his ambitious, complex project “La ciutat de la gent” (Barcelona, 1996), it is quite difficult to cope with the improbable singularity of a single piece by Craigie Horsfield, especially if we limit ourselves to its evident “photographic” quality or its plausible status as document or testimony. We may point out its simplicity, with no pictorial effects; the single central motif, with no compositional manipulation; its visual schematisation, with no staged complication: or its objectivist reduction, with no fictional spirals. With his insistence on a single copy of each work and final proportions which are often close to the real ones, what in other cases would be no more than a mere portrait or a simple instant captured and held in the void, here is a reiterated, deliberate, direct display of an attitude, and the heightening of a representational meaning in artistic practice which goes beyond any possible realist temptations which are usual in apparently similar works. Moreover, he shuns any association with the rigidity of artistic and disciplinary genres. Doing honour to the title of the project, the people who make up the ones the artist is showing us are inhabitants, citizens, territoriants. Their life is interwoven with the fabric of the city and its architecture and with the sense of collective experience that allows a particular type of social relations structured according to people's existence in movement. And so this is a work that belongs to different operative spheres simultaneously and equally significantly: the historical, the documentary, the anthropological, memory, protest, the archival, the instrumental, the relational, the situational and, of course, the artistic. Their power and complexity help once again to present the work of art as another inevitable cultural construction, the product and reflection of a specific moment and a particular time in a specific place, with figures, spectators, and material conditions for being seen and read which are also highly specific. And with such a construction, without losing sight of this context, in which -and starting from which- it can develop and artistify, the work actively contributes to redefining and questioning established criteria for the active role of art in contemporary societies and its relational -not aesthetic- efficacy, together with the changes in the notion of time or the realisation of the total invalidity of any linear system in the socialisation of artistic practices.

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