BY JUAN MARGOLLES
Turia (you cannot step into the same river twice)
Changes in the physiognomy of the rivers in Spain have been vertiginous over the last one hundred years, due to new industrial and demographic necessities, and favored by political interests, which have promoted architectural projects as a symbol of power and progress.
In the Turia river, some of these changes have been extraordinary and have converted the river, from its source to its mouth, into a protagonist and witness of the political models, economical changes, and social development, occurred in the contemporary history of the region.
Located in the east of the Iberian Peninsula, the Turia river springs in the mountain ranges and flows across a rural environment throughout towns and villages. Downstream, there are two big reservoirs-fetish construction that characterized Franco’s dictatorship. In the 60’s, the course of the Turia was diverted, leaving Valencia, the Turia’s capital, without its river.
Nowadays, a zoo, football pitches, an opera theater, and the biggest aquarium of Europe, join together without complexes over the former course crossing the city to end in La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, an architectural complex with futuristic aesthetics and pharaonic dimensions that completes the extraordinary metamorphosis of the landscape.
Because of its features, the Turia river becomes a space of reflection and summarizes, like no other, the idiosyncrasy of the nation, reflecting success, failures, dreams, complexities, miseries and richness. Here, the political power has determined the contemporary concept of progress and the river is presented not only as a metaphor but also as evidence of constant change; a strange condition that invites the people to assume a blurred past, a disconcerting present and an uncertain future.
About the author
Juan Margolles’s work explores cities as a reflection space that refers to the contemporary citizen and their relationship with the environment. His photographic projects analyze the presence of natural elements and the structured landscape around them. Working in series, Margolles explores how contemporary development determines the manner of inhabiting our surroundings, modifies social patterns and determines our relationship with nature.
His work has been exhibited at Museum of Illustration and Modernity MuVIM-Valencia (cat.), Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina (cat.) Novi Sad, Serbia (cat.), Museum of Fine Arts Faustino Jorge Bonadeo, Argentina (cat.), La Casa Encendida Madrid (cat.), Space of Creation (ECCO) Cádiz, Luis Adelantado Gallery Valencia, Haskoy Yun Iplik Fabrikasi Istanbul (cat.), Matèria Gallery Roma and Spazio Nea Naples.
His photographic projects have been awarded with the grant VEGAP 16 and Generación 2011-Caja Madrid. Full Contact Prize 16 and Art Photo Bcn 14. Margolles has been nominated for the best Photographic Book of the Year Phoroespaña 15, Plat(t)form 13-Winterthur Fotomuseum and selected for Call Young Artist 14 Luis Adelantado Gallery, for the Sovereign European Art Prize 2011 and the International Art Prize Obra Abierta 2011-Caja Extremadura and the National Youth Art Biennial Rep. Argentina.
He has participated in the International Art Festival Scan 16, Encontros da Imagem 15, Art Photo Bcn 14, Biennial Fotonoviembre 13 and Descubrimientos Photoespaña 12.