Jordi Díaz Fernández. National ID number 47684440N. Sex: male. I was born on 28 October 1979 in Nigrán, in the province of Pontevedra. Son of José and María Paz. Profession: warehouseman. Resident in Tarragona, in the province of Tarragona.
(I never read what an “artist” has to tell me about themselves or their work, so, at this point, I understand completely if you stop reading.)
When I was little I liked drawing, but that wasn’t “a profession”, so I spent five years studying for a career in administration. Which I’ve never pursued.
I went to live in Tarragona at the age of 19 because I wanted to leave home and I had the excuse of going to live with my elder sister. Here, I work in a foodstuffs warehouse and study “artistic” photography, though I’ve never gained the necessary qualifications to receive the title of artist (or photographer, I’m not sure).
One day I discovered the work of Antoine d’Agata, which made a lasting impression on me. I received a grant to do a week-long workshop with him in Madrid. I didn’t realise it at the time, but something gelled and it’s still going round and round in my head. In this field, I don’t think academic titles are much use, but coming across the right person at a given moment in your life helps you to understand the reason for certain things. For me, the photographers Matías Costa, Antonin Kratochvil and Jordi Bernadó, and the film-maker Andrés Duque are these people.
In Blow-up, a short story of just a dozen pages, the writer Julio Cortázar offers an insightful reflection on the parallels between literature and photography, between the narratives determined by a text and the ones that are constructed using images. In this short story, Roberto Michel, translator and photographer (professions by no means chosen at random), witnesses a disturbing scene in a solitary plaza on an island. Unable to contain his photographic urge, Roberto Michel presses the shutter button in an attempt to capture the impact that this image produces on him. But before he can take the photograph, the protagonist of the narrative considers a whole range of possible storylines about what is happening just five metres away. A thousand words are unable to define an image, because it remains free, open to infinite interpretations, however much the context tries to limit it.
The works of Jordi Díaz Fernández offer the spectator this same possibility. The narrative touches that appear like a mirage position us in a landscape that now and then shows glimpses of light that persistently prevent absolute darkness (A, E, Llar de foc). A landscape inhabited by human beings who are incapable of breaking away from their condition, incapable, too, of setting side sex (C), phobias (Tohphobia), History (Prelinger) or death. Incapable of stopping their observation of the other (Piscina), meticulously choosing each of the frames, as they are to be accumulated, for a long time, in the register of the memory.
Cartier-Bresson said that “the photographer cannot be a passive spectator; he can be really lucid only if he is caught up in the event”. It is, then, this obligation (a moral one, if you like) to be caught up in events that conditions the look and inevitably ties the photograph (or in this case the video) to this twofold, contradictory condition of an element that is at once fictional and autobiographical.
Díaz Fernández’s camera selects specific moments of light breaking into the darkness and offers them to the spectator so that she can create the story herself. A story that shows deserted landscapes and cloudy dusks (B), revealing an obsessive obstinacy of the clouds (like the obstinacy in Cortázar’s short story). Reaffirming the spectral condition of photography, which in turn confirms the inevitability of death by becoming a moving image. Observing human beings under water, through that special patina that transforms and distorts, which simultaneously and inexplicably enables a sincere, visceral approach that would not otherwise be possible (D, Piscina). An approach which, ultimately, merely aims to find the glimpses of beauty that Jonas Mekas constantly refers to. The glimpses of beauty which we do not want to disappear because, quite probably, they are all that we really have.
Marla Jacarilla (visual artist and writer)