SERGIO VEGA - Borges in the Alhambra
GALERIE KARSTEN GREVE
5 rue Debelleyme
In 1918, when he is still a child, Jorge Luis Borges (Argentinian novelist, poet and man of culture) visits the Alhambra in Grenada for the first time. Since that visit, both the architecture of this monument – deeply tied to Islamic poetry and philosophy – and the history of Muslim presence in the Iberian Peninsula become part of the writer’s fictional landscape. In 1976, during his second visit with his companion María Kodama, Borges, henceforth at the apex of his career and international renown, is blind. He suffers from retinitis pigmentosa that causes blindness, which he defines as ‘modest’: whereas one eye sees nothing, the other manages to perceive a world veiled in a yellow film, a golden reality. He sees the Alhambra therefore through his companion’s eyes, through her descriptions, but mostly by getting to know it thanks to the numerous gurgling fountains and the chirping of the birds hidden in the garden's lemon trees.
Sergio Vega's aesthetic journey offers a contemplative reconstruction of this second visit: by training his eye on the site's architectural spaces. To do so, Vega turns to a primary photography technique: tintype. A metal plate is soaked in a photosensitive solution that, upon contact with light, sets a permanent image. The result in these thirty aluminium-plate photographs is quasi-aqueous, creating phantasmagorical images from ghost-like traces.