Born in 1958 in Madrid, Chema Madoz has been spending the last thirty years creating a body of work that manages to escape the trends of artistic photography while constantly honoring it with the most beautiful tributes.
In the influence of Surrealism, the photographer becomes a sculptor, on a line stretched between the real and the imaginary. By transforming objects, often utilitarian, playing with collage, juxtaposition, reflections, he then brings chaos in everyday life and seems to allow silent things to express their innermost desires. The views from his studio, photographed by Pablo Zamora for El Pais, show us a cabinet of curiosities both orderly and fanciful. We can spot some of the subjects of his photographs: a terrestrial globe -disco ball, a tie made out of rococo frames or a shoe with The Eiffel Tower as a heel. Some objects regularly return: scales, watches, musical notes, mirror or chess are also symbols of the human condition.
The choice of black and white separates even more theses objects from the real world, the monochromy makes them timeless and allows us to focus on their shape, texture, and tones, like coming back to the origins of photography, when the long exposure of the daguerreotype forced the photographer to choose immobile subjects. Far from being a tribute to materialism or to consumer society, theses portraits of objects by Chema Madoz are a call to reconsider their use and their beauty. Magician of the silver printing, Chema Madoz prints his pictures in warm tones, playing with the small and large, with a format and an edition always carefully chosen according to the subject of each photograph.
As soon as 2005, Esther Woerdehoff Gallery has been exhibiting the work of Chema Madoz, who was then almost unknown in France. Since then, our gallery regularly shows his photographs in exhibitions and international fairs. In 2014, the Rencontres d’Arles offered him a major retrospective show that made him better know to the general public and Actes Sud recently published the French translation of his latest book, Les règles du jeu, which presents photographs created since 2008. We are pleased to present a selection of these recent works. (Text by Florence Pillet)
Chema Madoz was born in 1958 in Madrid. He discovered photography and printing as a self taught in the early 80’s during the creative burst of the Movida. The artist composes his photographs from a vocabulary of objects that he combines, modifies, and assembles to obtain unexpected marriages where Surrealism and the absurd are never far away. The photographer collects found objects in his studio, like a trivial cabinet of curiosities waiting to be revealed. Taken from a timeless picture book, shoes, books, watches or ladders have been photographed since the nineteenth century; Chema Madoz, the illusionist, defies the laws of physics and realism by extracting theses objects from their utilitarian banality to realize the dreams they yearn for. For nearly thirty years, his beautiful black and white gelatin silver prints depict the inventory of a transformed reality into visual poems.