Back in the dark-room

Patricia Conde Galería
May 17, 2018 7:51PM

After sixteen years Adam Wiseman is back in the dark-room. He was a fine printer at Magnum Photos agency in 2001, during his 13-year stay in NY where he obtained a BA from NYU in Ethnographic Film (1992) and completed the Documentary Program at the International Center of Photography in NY (1996). This April 2018 spend some time printing his negatives he made for the Subway series and 9/11 at the San Agustín Etla Arts Center in Oaxaca, and for the first time are shown at the exposition that opens today at Patricia Conde Galería

What happens



What happens in a place where nothing seems to be happening? Dead space. Differences fade away. Everything seems to be the same when spaces and bodies blend in indifference. Faces seem unconcerned unless somebody –a voyeur– stares and captures a feature that bestows a singular quality on them. Over twenty years, Adam Wiseman (Mexico City, 1970) has had a clandestine, yet frontal glance out of the corner of his eye towards faces and spaces around Mexico. He had the same glance where he first trained himself as a photographer. During his stay in the United States –nourished by his work as printer at the renowned Magnum Photos agency – Wiseman’s work evolved from a documental approach into a field focused on the problems of photography as a medium in a broad sense. In his Subway series (1998-2001), Wiseman draws on a hidden camera to unsettle the idea of subjects posing for a portrait. Sixteen years later, the Moving Portraits Revolution series revisits the idea of subjects posing through a clever trick that reformulates not only the relationship between the photographer and the subject, but also the relationship between a still image and a moving image.

Tlatelolco Debunked (Tlatelolco desmentido) is a nodal point in the artist’s career to the extent that he carefully designed a collective action so that the population living in that housing development would become part not only of a remembrance, but also of a revision that embraced both the modernist drive of Mario Pani’s architectural utopia, as well as the massacre of students in 1968.

The project Free Architecture (Arquitectura libre), which Wiseman began in 2016 and is still under way, evokes Robert Frank’s iconic work The Americans developed between 1955 and 1956. If in the mid- twentieth century, undertaking a journey to gather a documental account of his travels in the United States, Frank’s work revealed a physical and social landscape of the United States, still rough, unfinished, and somehow disjointed, sixty years later, Wiseman has traced a sort of architectural geography in which a different landscape in that country is rendered visible. It is the landscape of materialized dreams by dint of imagination, but also of the ways immigrants living in the United States use their remittances to do so.

As a whole, this retrospective shows the development of an artist interested in cultural processes that span people’s geographical transitions, how architectural movements move from one imagining to another, as well as urban and collective memories in a process of re-adaptation.

Iván Ruiz


Patricia Conde Galería