The Liquid City: Floating through the forgotten spaces of urban modernity

La Ciudad Líquida, the poetic photographic exhibition held at the Estación Mapocho will take you places you never thought to look. Look at little closer, take a step back, notice something extraordinary and let your senses do the talking.

Santiago Chile
Photo by Aune Ainson

Celeste Rojas’ photographs allow us to take part in a visual dialogue between the neglected urban spaces and the forgotten places of Latin America. This is a continent of highly concentrated cities, in which people often fail to recognize the very details that make those cities theirs. "The city seduces," comments Celeste, "but at the same time the inevitable abandonment looms when we fail to care for it."

Santiago Chile
Images by Celeste Rojas. Photo by Aune Ainson

In her compositions we see these city spaces in a different light. Her camera gives us new eyes, new perspectives and new angles. Marks and stains on the wall become relics or fossils of what once existed in their place. Glimpses of light assure us that someone is there, but they are outside the shot. We are made to feel like voyeurs from one photograph to the next; peering into cracks and crannies of rooms we shouldn’t enter.

Color is the key ingredient of these photographs. The colors are either vivid and remarkable or as Celeste explains “washed out and pale, acting as a veil covering the photographs.” The colors create an atmosphere of abandonment and awkwardness, of places we don’t want to see but are confronted with.

In contrast, nocturnal atmospheres are evoked through the stronger colors representing the city as a seducer and as something unknown. Primary colors such as blues, reds and yellows dominate the compositions with vibrant greens and turquoises also creating strong highlights and contrast. The colors guide the senses in their journey through something whimsical yet uncomfortably voyeuristic.

Santiago Chile
Images by Celeste Rojas. Photo by Aune Ainson

The photographs comment on Latin American modernisation and its “urban phenomenon,” claims Monsterrat Rojas, the exhibition curator. A continent which has undergone numerous transformations and ruptures in search of modernity is confronted face to face with its reality in the exhibition room.

The spaces in the photographs are impersonal and without specificity or recognizable traits, yet at the same time there is a familiarity of something close to home, of places once visited or of colors that trigger a personal sentiment. The viewer is able to lose their own identity in a new communal space found in the photographs; the viewer becomes part of an inclusive modernity.

The indefinite nature of visual space is captured in Celeste Rojas’ collection. The senses are appealed to through poetic colors and compositions as Celeste intends to “recover the shadows” and give hidden habitats new life and interest. We are placed face to face with forgotten and familiar spaces; a modernity which is virtual, which changes, which challenges and which we have the privilege to witness, documented beautifully by Celeste Rojas as our very own collective liquid city.

La Ciudad Líquida
May 6 - May 30, 2010
Monday to Sunday, 10am to 2pm and 3pm to 6pm
Free entry
Estación Mapocho
Plaza de la Cultura s/n
Metro: Cal y Canto (line 2)
Parking: Parque de los Reyes
Phone: 2 787 00 00

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