“It’s the first time I am exhibiting at Brighton PhotoFringe and I am delighted to be part of a festival that is now so renowned.” – Dolores Sanchez Calvo
Born in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Dolores Sanchez Calvo is an award winning international artist. Known for embodying a range of art forms such as photography, painting and installations, her work often concerns the politics of trauma, mourning and human alienation. Her latest instalment, A Shadow Is…, comprises of ten photographs displayed in the Redwood Café as part of the PhotoFringe festival in Brighton. The series was originally commissioned for the Book of Invisible Bridges by Xelis de Toro. To visualise the world of poetry, Dolores uses lighting and shadows to create dark tone, whilst through the medium of photography she examines the relationship between the Human and Humanity.
Redwood, situated in Brighton’s North Laine, is a ‘coffee house’ venue named after the national and state parks of west coast America. The café is an evocative site, creating a retro atmosphere with walls adorned with nostalgic and charismatic bric-a-brac, and a background sound of neo soul and jazz. This is the setting for A Shadow Is….
Nine photos are situated hanging upon the far wall. First impressions are of bare frames which are void of colour or image. Upon closer examination, however, single figures begin to emerge within the photographs. This creates a necessity for the beholder to actively engage and interact with the art. Dolores commented how “the forms are always there but according to the incidence of light on the photograph, [or] how close the viewer will be, it becomes more or less perceptible”. It is in this way that the series seeks to examine the boundaries between darkness and light, and the point at which a shadowed form becomes visible to the human eye.
Additionally, it is important to regard the figures themselves. They have been stripped of any individuality and discerning features, wrapped in constraining fabric. This gives a sense of the absoluteness and collectivism of human experience regarding social constraints, and also the claustrophobia and hardship many of us experience within our daily lives. Indeed, one of the photograph models found the process to be discomforting but cathartic, allowing her to reflect upon her own thoughts and feelings. Under the fluorescent bulbs at Redwood Café, the frames shine and mirror, making it easy for the observer to feel and do so also.
Further work by Dolores Sanchez Calvo will be available at Shepherds Bush Green on the 22nd of November, and at Melt Art Fair next year.