2019. Solo Exhibition: Construyendo Percepciones

In 2019 I was exhibiting one more time in the Gallery Arancha Osoro, this time with a solo exhibition. I was able to bring bigger images and to think and distribute carefully the space to create a careful dialogue with my photographic work. The title, that could be translated as Building Perceptions, refers to the serendipity of my photographic practice and my approach to photography in general.

In the text prepared for the exhibition by María M. Vallina and me, we explained that:

There are many definitions that can be attributed to the term “art”, but we will take here the one that has to do with what identifies us. Every social or collective group needs to define itself through some signs. A common past, a material reflection or a symbology are enough to build a story. In the case of Álvaro Trabanco (Gijón/Xixón, 1991) the search for his identity is closely linked to his geographical migrations. So much so that, this young artist, he builds his own history through the relationship that he has created between photography and his most subjective views. Graduated in Graphic Design from the Asturias Higher School of Art and the Caldas da Rainha School of Art and Design, he has completed his Master’s Degree in Communication Design and New Media at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon.

2010 evidenced the beginning of his interest in capturing landscapes and events that have grown to configure the way of seeing and perceiving his own life. Since then, Álvaro Trabanco has no longer been able to avoid freezing his own visual experiences but has also documented customs and practices of those places that he has made his home. The framings, rigorously calculated and aesthetically precise, are always accompanied by a look that transcends the first effect. In these works, halfway between Gijón and Lisbon, Trabanco already reveals the influences of great photographic references from the second half of the 20th century. Landscapes and projects that document changes, cities whose color masterfully combines with light and movements and scenes of imposing beauty, refer to artists such as Ambroise Tezenas, Erns Hass or Andrew Moore.

In 2018 the artist completed a research project where he consolidated his consciously conceptualized way of doing things. With Tras los Pasos, Álvaro Trabanco narrated the migratory experiences of his relatives to link them with his own experience during the last six years in Portugal. In all this time, Álvaro has developed his photographs far from his country of origin, which has led him to participate affectively and consistently within the psychological, social and family realities in the search for personal identity. Without neglecting the aesthetic part, the techniques were a decisive factor in which he merged traditional media, the digital world and photojournalism.

In Construyendo Percepciones he follows the footprints that marked the homes he has conquered. His return to Asturias, as a sign of reference, has always meant a pilgrimage to his roots from the perspective of his home in other places. The way of capturing and interpreting the objects come together in the creation of his identity and point out the common point of the way in which he builds the images. The narrative richness behind the photographs delves into the succession of events and the subject portrayed himself. «The miriameter portrayed in the middle of the vegetation works as a grave for someone who never had it: my great-grandfather, who was assassinated by the fascists in front of that point. The photograph of the wagons is the María Luisa Well on its first day without activity after its closure. The long line of ships is awaiting authorization to cross the Bosphorus – at a time when a second artificial strait with serious environmental consequences will be built. Tree branches folding in on themselves face paradise Anzak Cove, where tens of thousands of soldiers died in World War I.” In the aesthetic condition of the photographs lies the desire to look at them carefully. Plastic and velvety textures that explore colour, meditative and hypnotic landscapes, decisive formats and black and white photographs, with refined nuances, communicate with the deepest memory of a diligent viewer.