Kela Coto
From February 17th to April 1st 2023

The constant and committed work that the photographer Kela Coto has been doing for years, is now presented in the space of Galería Llamazares in a dialogue between antagonistic landscapes, raising some questions underlying the photographs. On the one hand, and following the line of research in which Coto reflects on how the contemporary landscape is constructed, the photographs we see in the exhibition contrast two opposing spaces: the natural landscape and the industrial landscape. Both, with strong roots in the Asturian context, in the eternal dichotomy between the sublime of one and the idiosyncrasy of the other. Both important, both necessary, and both in constant vindication for their preservation. On the other hand, Coto’s photographs have always gone beyond the apparent, delving into readings far beyond what is represented. Reflections on the cultural aspect of the landscape, its construction and those non-visible elements that are also protagonists in each image are superimposed.

The apparent solitude of each landscape, in the contrast between industrial and natural that we see in the exhibition, places us, however, in a paradox: there is no deserted landscape, the mere fact of having been photographed places the human figure in the axis of what we see (or do not see). The human footprint is invisible, but it is evident that it was there, that it took the picture. As Professor Estrella de Diego points out, “every landscape is, inevitably, a cultural product”; we see the photograph, but our perception is sifted by what Kela Coto saw and portrayed.

Bachelard said that “a poetic image sets in motion all linguistic activity. The poetic image places us at the origin of the speaking being”; transferring this to Kela Coto’s photography we find ourselves before the portrait of an oxymoron, of a contradiction. On the one hand, some of the photographs that allude to the natural landscape suggest to us that what we contemplate is as much or more poetic than reality, more construction than object, more cultural than real. On the contrary, in the photographs where the industrial is the protagonist we no longer speak of landscape, but of territory, our field of interpretation has widened, including the social and political fact of the territory, the space of intervention and of the human footprint.

From that poetic image that Bachelard pointed out, in this exhibition that puts these images in dialogue, we find our own resonances, we can find our own particular experience in each photograph, we can feel that it questions us. This mystery is part of the poetics of a photographic work strongly traversed by reflection and that connects with our daily sensibility and with our memory. Finally, each photo is precisely that: memory (first of the artist herself, of what she decided to capture in the photo) but then ours as well, of those of us who look at it, contributing one more layer of reading, our memory, our gaze

Kela Coto takes these photographs as evocations, as moments frozen in time whose meaning is much deeper than a simple photograph; she selects space, chooses framing, opts for a point of view, a color, a size, and shows us the result. Moreover, in this passage from private work to public interpretation (from the time she photographs until we look at it) the significance changes. The film, the development and the final form work as our memory: as a mixture between what we lived, what we remember and our perception.

In this exhibition, Kela Coto presents us with a dialogue between industrial landscape and natural landscape, but also between reality and fiction, between imagination and certainty, between the limits of the world, through territory and landscape. The ultimate interpretation remains open, everything is possible. We only have to dare to look.

Curatorial text by Semíramis González

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