Madoz. Objetos 1990-1999

26 october, 1999 - 10 january, 2000 /
Sabatini Building, Floor 3, Paper Gallery

Objects are the protagonists in the collection of over one hundred photographs at the exhibition of Chema Madoz (Madrid, 1958), chronologically focused on work from the Nineties. The exhibition presents important examples of his visual game constructions, new realities created by the association and combination of objects, ideas, functions and materials. In this way, Madoz is considered "an object focused sculptor who works with a photographer’s eye, in as much as photography allows him to fix the idea."

In the works gathered for the exhibition the human figure present in his previous images disappears, giving way to everyday objects upon which Madoz proposes a poetic approach, without de-contextualising or redefining them. Catherine Coleman, curator of the exhibition, says that aspects which prolong the stylistic path starting in the Eighties, "keeps the distance between the subject of the photograph and the photographer, and sets the symmetry in a common resource." Also to be noted is the emphasis on the theme vanitas, alluded to in various forms, through coffin-shaped clocks, hourglass or clock faces.

A tour of these images allows us to consider them according to three possibilities of photographing the object, as Coleman acknowledges: "unchanged, as it has been found, manipulated or built by the photographer himself." The taking into account of the scale of objects (like a cactus in a thimble) and exploring its poetic possibilities between a logical and random find, establishes the photographic-sculptural gesture.

The artist creates pairs of opposites from their association, such as feathers and tongs or a boxing glove holding a quill pen to write. He also combines meanings and connotations (a hangman's noose made of pearls), he works with symbolic analogy (a bowler hat becomes a pincushion or a cane a hand rail) or with the formal analogy of a pipe as a saxophone or a sewer as a drainer. The verbal games between homonyms also play a role in his work (a leaf of a banana tree as a support for typed text), like the metamorphosis of objects, such as burnt matches, which develop into sperm or sun rays.

The result of the clean assemblies and the renunciation of manipulating negatives and prints allow objects to reach a realistic presence and capture the spectator's attention. His photographs are usually related to the visual poetry of Joan Brossa, but Madoz does not recognise this genealogy nor does he allow himself to be carried away by the surrealist free association, as noted by Catherine Coleman. In addition, his images do not need words to reinforce their messages. In contrast, in the opinion of specialist Steve Yates, his photographs refer to the History of Modern Art, to artists such as Raoul Hausmann or Max Ernst, with whom he shares literary allusions and an irony of findings.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Catherine Coleman
Exhibition Tour: 

Galería Nacional de Bellas Artes, Caracas (July - October, 2000); Centro Cultural Tijuana, Mexico (October, 2000 - February, 2001); Château d'Eau, Toulouse, France (September - October, 2001)