Exhibitions, Fairs

The artists using photography to unlock imagination

© Albarrán Cabrera.

Albarrán Cabrera discuss what inspires them to create photographs which challenge viewers to question how they see the world

As windows to the world or portals into faraway places, photographs have the ability to transport the viewer anywhere, and to any point in time. This is true of Albarrán Cabrera’s artworks, on show at Photo London 2018. Influenced aesthetically by the duo’s travels to Japan, the artworks are concerned, on a more conceptual level, with how images trigger memory.

Using both traditional printing methods and their own self-developed hybrid techniques, Barcelona-based artists Angel Albarrán and Anna Cabrera draw inspiration from the notion of photography as a medium that lies somewhere between the real and unreal; a means to see what is hidden from view. Whether making pigment prints with gold leaf or experimenting with the finish of a print, their work is, they say, all about finding ways to play with the viewer’s imagination.

“Photography is a reflection on the world outside us,” say Albarrán Cabrera. “This reflection creates new questions and forces us to learn more about a concept, a set of ideas, a culture, or to even learn a new language.” Ultimately, “we try to create a trigger in the viewer that will open up his or her imagination to the infinite complexity of the world.”

At the 2018 iteration of Photo London, the artists will be showing new works from Nyx (the Greek Goddess of the Night), as well as new images from previous series – The Mouth of Krishna, Kairos and This is you (HERE). Each body of work is as atmospheric and charged as the last.

Bringing Albarrán Cabrera’s work to Photo London this year is Zurich-based Bildhalle gallery. Mirjam Cavegn founded the Swiss gallery in 2013 and is passionate about working with artists – both established and those at an early stage in their careers – whose work excites her.

“First, I fall in love with the work,” says Cavegn, offering insight into how she approaches working with an artist. “It is – in the beginning – a very emotional moment. After that, I meet the artist and find out about other representation, exhibitions, plans, prices, formats and editions – it is more rational.”

“Both parties have to want to cooperate, to support each other,” she adds. “If, after all the discussions and evaluations, I still have the feeling that the work is strong, important and fits into my gallery programme, I go for representation.”

Albarrán Cabrera agrees that gallery representation is about establishing a close and mutually beneficial working relationship where trust and honesty are paramount. “This collaboration is like a tandem where both parties can grow,” they say. “When it works well, it is teamwork. In our case, Bildhalle helps us to show and promote our work in person, not only via social networks or online.”

© Albarrán Cabrera.

In today’s art market having gallery representation is,” according to Cavegn, “absolutely mandatory”. It is difficult to be present on the international market without any representation, she says, adding that collectors and institutions are generally more willing to put their trust in an artist and their work if a serious gallery represents them.

“If [the relationship] is lucky and positive, you can trust your gallery and concentrate on your artistic work,” says Cavegn. “Seeking representation means being ready for total transparency regarding your plans, as well as being open and ready for the market with all its considerations. If you want to live on your art, be ready to compromise.”

As important as the relationship between gallerist and artist is, both Albarrán Cabrera and Cavegn agree that the creation of work comes first. “If you want to be represented by a gallery, the best thing you can do is forget about it,” says Albarrán Cabrera. “You must put 100 percent of your energy into your work. Good galleries, such as Bildhalle, are always looking for good new artists. If you, as an artist, want to fit into this category, the only way to achieve it is by working, working and working. You will never find someone with fantastic work being ignored by everybody. If the work is really good, sooner or later it will be discovered.”

Bildhalle will be exhibiting at Photo London, showing work by Albarrán Cabrera, Flor Garduno and Carolle Benitah.  

Now in its fourth year, Photo London is an international photography fair showcasing work by artists from more than 100 of the world’s leading galleries. Taking place at London’s Somerset House from 17 to 20 May, Photo London 2018 brings together the world’s finest photographers, curators, exhibitors, and dealers to celebrate photography. To find out more about Photo London and to book tickets, click here.

© Albarrán Cabrera.

© Albarrán Cabrera.

This feature was made possible with the support of Bildhalle Gallery. Please click here for more information on sponsored content funding at British Journal of Photography.