Alex Salinas

You ain't seen nothing yet - Fomu - 2013

 

The bright orange container, lit by the flash of Alex Salinas (Belgium, 1971), was the perfect background for a band photo. The members of soulwax look as though the lens has caught them at an unguarded moment, although the purity of the composition suggest otherwise. Salinas frequently plays fast an loose with the rules of classic group portraiture. The band members of A Brand are made unrecognizable by an unexplained light source in front of their eyes. His richly contrasting and direct visual language is striking, and has been appreciated by artists as diverse as soulwax and Vive La fete, but also by fashion houses such as Veronique Branquinho and Delvaux. Salinas allows himself to be inspired by the moment  and the spontaneity of the person in front of his camera. His photography seems to come easy to him: the light and playful undertone shines through in both his personal work and his commissions, so that the difference between the two becomes blurred and harder to define.

City Photographer Antwerp 2010/2011 - Fomu - 2012

Urban Impressions

 

During his walks through town, the other flaneur, Alex Salinas, mainly has eye for urban details. His style is direct and no-nonsense. He doesn’t tell stories but highlights fragments out of their context. In a resolute subjective way Salinas associates color images in a hybrid sequence. Different formats and genres get mixed in one photo-installation on a wall, which reminds us more of a city dweller’s photographic diary than of a representative image of the city. His stealthy look, sensitive for abstractions in form and color that pop up in the corner of his eye, is reminiscent of William Eggleston, for whom the most banal object could deliver the most wonderful photograph. It all depends on who is looking, and how one’s looking: from unusual points of view, with attention for the artificial and for the way the camera can transform the reality or scale of objects. Two girls with one head, a pile of sand on a wharf at the riverside becomes a mountain landscape, a small kitschy lamp on the ceiling suggest a sultry pop atmosphere. Only the aerial photograph offers a panoramic overview… . In the lyrical snapshot of a fallen leaf in pink and green on the tarmac one sees that a raw framing can highlight the fragility of things. Salinas not only cites images in the image, like a television screen, but also swirling texts like “it’s up to you” on a billboard for the vocation of priesthood and graffiti “if you toucha car i breaka your face”. This fairly arbitrary but personal and suggestive collage 'Stills & Signs' lends itself mostly to be enjoyed as a visual poem. (translated from Dutch)

 

Inge Henneman,

Curator Fotomuseum

The Approach - book - 2008

 

With the exception of one image that shows a view through a car window of tropical vegetation, such as sunlit palm trees, all the images are from within. These inside pictures deal with the idea of the approach; they have clearly emerged out of different places, but at the same time seem placeless.

They present themselves as disengaged. One can only guess what time of day it is, let alone which location.With the exception of one colour print where an abandoned overexposed little paper flag depicting the black Flemish lion on a faint yellow ground merging with its background is shown. The imagery drills from pictures that have been lived, scratched or full of graffiti extrapolating the smell of urine showing traces of years of usage, abuse as if mutilated. We see corners, ceilings, light sockets, it seems that somebody has turned the light on and off and all of a sudden we feel we are somewhere else; as if the brief split second of darkness has transported us to another world.

The other imagery shows us the pristine nearly surgical clear interior of a plane. Where on a screen suspended and hovering over the seats an image propels itself through space, encapsulated within its white surrounding and intersected by curved sharply contrasted dark lines. As if the surrounding has discarded itself and has turned to a nearly abstract format from which it reformulates itself. People appear, but mostly from the back. We find ourselves amidst a crowd: it's noisy, there is loud music, frantic movement. We are trapped. One person turns his head around, gazes right into the lens; it's time to move. The other portraits of people are taken form existing photographs. Here the flashlight produced, by the renewal of taking a picture of a picture, washes the faces away creating blanks, holes in the pictures.

The work of Alex Salinas reverberates along the lines of contaminating the image and the depicted object; by fetishing them in a way that they camouflage the distance between what is portrayed and the viewer. The black and white photographs measure time and light through contrast and dispersion, giving the image the sort of texture or void and taking them to the icy edgy point where they could break. The color photographs show gesture and composure portraying endurance and presence on demand. Juxtaposing glamour with experience, vulnerability and even disease. Alex Salinas's approach is therefore multilayered; it doesn't just deliver a fractured image but one that works towards the viewer as a depiction of a fragment as a whole.

 

Luc Tuymans, december 2008