At the time, in the place
What proves chilling in Eduardo Nave’s work is not what one sees, but what one hears. His photography is a constant act of sounding out landscapes, the result of an extremely sensitive, persistent ear. The photographer’s usual method resides in holding up a stethoscope to the place, seeking out its whispers. He creates an atmosphere that often gives an outwardly calm appearance, but the images conceal a sign of pain, creating an air that bears suspicion and uneasiness. In his photographs, Nave explores the pathology of landscapes in order to liberate their mute signals.
At the Time, in the Place is a documentary work where expressing tragedy acquires special importance in sound — the magnitude of volume and the intensity of suffering borne from the image itself. Nave travels to those enclaves where the terrorist organization ETA [Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, Basque Homeland and Freedom] has committed an attack since the 1970s to present, and subjects himself to the nature of the perpetrated incidents. On the same day, at the exact time, he appears on the precise scene of the event and takes a photograph. Both the framing and time of exposure reproduce the location and endurance of the event.
Without the chance to choose the most adequate light or point of view, Nave captures raw reality. The photographs’ precision and their submission to the event have marked the project’s most existential feature, which even rejects all expressive value. At the Time, in the Place is a portrait of loss and absence, but above all it is the examination of a world snatched away. The emptiness of the images invites viewers to reconstruct the sounds of fear and horror. In them, the photograph becomes a sounding board. Each location acquires its condition as an illuminated historical skin, like a sensitive surface that retains traces and incisions. In a certain sense, it is an impressionable film where part of our memory remains recorded.
Eduardo Nave invites us to reflect on the silence and mutilation suffered by individuals and their surroundings through historical references, making his work achieve surprising dimensions. Undoubtedly, he immortalizes the symptom in the image, bringing forth the urgency of listening. As in his other series, it proves difficult not to notice a composer of visual requiems in the photographer’s gaze. His work articulates a personal symphony against forgetting, adopting a form of poem that mourns words divested of their power.
Text by Mireia A. Puigventós