Last week saw the public presentation of FRAGMENTS by Alberte A. Pereira at the Apos’trophe gallery in Vigo; the first photobook by this renowned Galician street photographer and the corollary of a series that began some years ago. Some of the images shown in the book have already taken part in exhibitions (Vigo, Coruña, Pontevedra), have been published in specialised magazines or have been awarded prestigious photography prizes.
By using closed planes and highly cut-out frames, the author presents a vision of the urban in what seems to be an attempt at assimilation that seeks to reconstruct the whole from the detail. The discontinuous discourse that runs through the pages of the book, punctuated by images with no apparent thematic connection, notably replicates the episodic experience of the flaneur that runs through the streets of any city, ready to be surprised by unexpected encounters and surprises of chance. Moreover, the arrangement of the photographs on the page contributes decisively to this line – changes in the proportions and relationships between images, anchoring of the images on each of the margins of the page, continuation of some images on the opposite page – form a visual itinerary with a point of chaos that justifies the author’s intention.
In the succession of images, neither the places nor the people are recognisable. There is no room for empathy: the city is presented as an alienated territory, landscapes without a horizon, disaffected to an individual who is (de)constructed in the reality of his immediacy. The human figure – a constant presence throughout practically all the pages of the book – participates in the same visual rhetoric – not out of prudence on the part of the author, but out of discursive necessity: non-identity requires anonymity.
The editing of photographs and layout of the book – a work by Puri Diaz – is well resolved and avoids visual monotony by combining/colliding elements of composition, volumes and forms, masses of colour and ingenious games of perception.
The book includes -as an epilogue- a text of which I am the author, and which is my first written collaboration for a photobook. When in 2017 I had my first contact with this work by Alberte Pereira, I was surprised by the effectiveness with which these photographs transmitted that desolate sensation that unsettles the inhabitants of contemporary cities. This work is not a simple exercise in street photography; it is a visual manifesto in which colour and form introduce us to a disturbing dimension of the urban experience, and that was the key to my text’s reflection.