El viajero inmóvil by Chema Madoz


Chema Madoz makes his photographs by manipulating images and everyday objects to uncover new aspects of their symbolic capacities. To create this exhibition, which he is presenting with the title of The Stationary Traveller, Chema Madoz had to take the opposite path to his usual approach to his works. This time, the objects and their open meanings are not in the foreground, but instead the very idea of Asturias becomes the object to be observed and defined.

From Madoz’s vantage point and methods, looking at Asturias means turning the reality of its geographic space, its customs and its peoples into an abstraction. To do so, he suggests a stationary journey, since there was no need to travel to a specific place or get images of everyday reality to create this work. Instead, he journeyed through his imagination to discover the conceptual elements that shape a mental idea of Asturias. Thus, using iconic representations’ capacity for synthesis, he depicts the landscape and wild nature, the sea and its inhabitants, the rainy climate and the mountain, and he speaks to us about their traditions and ways of being through a collision of the senses. By doing so, he manages to connect his observation of this small region with its poetic representations that range back and forth between pure abstraction and the concrete, using the sense of humour omnipresent in his works.

In short, this is Chema Madoz’s Asturias, and we know that the traveller has indeed been stationary. We can accompany him on his voyage around Asturias through the photographs comprising this exhibition, which naturally, elegantly and precisely demonstrate that he never left it while creating this work.

Borja Casani


Chema Madoz (Madrid, 1958)

Chema Madoz studied History at the Complutense University in the early 1980s, which he combined with his photography training at different courses and schools in Madrid.

He held his first exhibition in 1985. By the early 1990s, his images had developed their own defined, personal language. His world revolves around the unusual, poetic presence of the objects that he chooses and lays out in intimate scenes that he himself creates. In his works—which touch on visual poetry, painting and sculpture—the decontextualized objects transcend themselves and show something hidden to the ordinary eye. Metaphors and visual games surprise and provoke viewers, revealing a uniqueness that inspires an unexpected association behind their everyday appearance.

Reality is questioned in his photos, where he encourages viewers to observe and reflect and to discover the hidden poetry of objects.

He has won the Kodak Award (1991), the National Photography Award (2000), the PhotoEspaña Award (2000), the Bartolomé Ros Award (2010) and the Overseas Higasikawa Award, Japan (2000), and has been a featured artist at the Houston Biennial (2000).

He has displayed his works at different venues: Moriarty Gallery, Madrid; Joan Prats Gallery, Barcelona; Yossi Milo, New York; OMR Gallery, Mexico; Lisa Sette Gallery, Arizona; Esther Woerdehoff Gallery, Paris; PDNB Gallery, Dallas; 111 Gallery, Lisbon; and Elvira González Gallery, Madrid.

His works have also been displayed in museums, including: the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela; Museo de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires; Kiasma Museum, Helsinki; Netherland Photomuseum, Rotterdam; Hermitage Museum, Kazan; Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow; Museo Nacional de Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago de Chile; Museum für Angewandtekunst, Frankfurt; Museet for Fotokunst of Denmark; Rencontres d’Arles Photography Festival, France; Fundación Telefónica, Madrid; Fundación Joan Miró, Mallorca; Fundación La Pedrera, Barcelona; and CCBB, Rio de Janeiro.