“An essentially theatrical people, a people discontent with its destiny, a people who dream of heroism, of sanctity, of health, is a theatrical people who leave a painful imprint on all its festivities ” – Ezequiel Martinez Estrada, X-Ray of The Pampa, 1933
The people who are so often called on to represent the romantic image of my country are the same people who are forgotten and ignored when decisions that affect their future are made in the centers of power. These are the individuals living in the interior provinces of Argentina . They symbolize the ideals of this country in the rhetoric and artistry of politicians and the powerful, and are also the ones who are made to bear the burdens of corruption and the results of shifting economical failures and deceits.
But in the midst of that long sleep which obscured the history that preceded our default, a social contract was broken and while the poor got poorer and the middle class was driven into poverty, a parallel reality unfolded in the big cities where the façade of consumerism blinded us with little colored mirrors. This work focuses on how the light is reflected and bent by those mirrors, and on the light left out in the shadows.
I offer a narrative aimed at unraveling the spell of our stillness, and provide a voice to this present in which our future’s possibilities seem exhausted by exploring how we cope with exclusion and find ways to survive within our culture and rituals. In the wake of all that stillness, I found many forms of spiritual strength that illuminate this country.
*** This work was produced between 1995 and 2001, during the period of so called “Apertura/Opening” implying free trade and modernization. It was in reality a time when the country was sold out and plundered by internal and external corruption and greed. But instead of reacting, we became spectators of this process that would hold present and future generations captive, and only just begun to react bringing the fall of a presidency on December 2001, followed by 4 others within a week, to declared the default later in January 2002.
Born in Chile and raised in Argentina , photographer Martín Weber currently resides in Brooklyn , NY. He studied at the University of Buenos Aires and the International Center for Photography in NYC. A 1998 Guggenheim fellowship recipient, Weber has also been awarded two Hasselblad Foundation grants and a prestigious National Endowment for Arts grant. He has exhibited his work in the US at venues including Lightwork’s Robert Menschel Gallery in Syracuse, International Center for Photography in NYC, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Project in NYC and LA, and abroad at the Photographer’s Gallery in London, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, the La Habana Art Biennial in Cuba, the Mois de La Photo Maison de L’Amerique in Paris, and Communa de Milano in Milan. Lightwork published A Map of Latin American Dreams in Contact Sheet issue #125. Martin recently was honored as one of two inaugural recipients of the No-Strings Foundation Individual Artist Grant.