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Thinking from images


This month's topic: Images of the pandemicResident Editor: Joaquín Jesús Sánchez

Thinking from images

Speed is not without its charms, but it’ll put you in a fluster if caught unawares. I remember how, as a little boy, one used to be told that books for grown-ups have no pictures in them. Nothing but text, as dry as it sounds. However, with the passing of years, it turns out there are more and more pictures everywhere. Important, definitive, history-making, all of them. One feels like in one of those souks straight out of Tintin where before you even had a chance to check out anything, someone else will be trying to divert your attention into something else.

During February, we’ve wanted to think from images, to look at them for longer than we usually do. And then comment on them, gloss over them, because a long spiel is worth a thousand photographs. To that end, I thought about calling in a few artists, alongside the expected and ubiquitous art theorists (we make quite a crowd, and we reproduce by spores). In particular, I was interested in the opinion of painters, who have spent all their lives working with pictures, outmoded as that is (people who adjust and compose; a strange lot, no doubt). We could have dealt with other subjects, but those impressions (the printing press, the Pope on live stream, the uprisings, and the prêt-à-porter hospital) helped us identify four key points to guide our discussion. Powerful pictures which, in the lightness of our times, leave us with the same haste with which they came.

In the frenzied flow of absolutely relevant events which take place one after the other, some of those motifs – which we began to consider months ago – are now back to the headlines (one of them will be relevant every time a police officer cracks a protester’s skull, so I’m afraid it will pay off itself). Some others resurfaced from newspaper archives, like the Ghost of Christmas Past. With the Ifema hospital, we’re bringing February – the so-called “art month” – to a close. Isn’t that some coincidence?

This month's topic

Joaquín Jesús Sánchez (Seville, 1990) is an art critic, writer and freelance curator. A graduate in Philosophy and holder of an MA in the History of Contemporary Art and Visual Culture, he contributes to prestigious publications, both in Spain and abroad, and in other lesser known sources. Besides researching compelling and complex subjects, he devotes much of his time to trying to memorise Borges’s oeuvre and is fascinated by gastronomic literature.

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"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)