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.




Stadsfotograaf - Fomu - 2012

Stedelijke impressies


Die andere flaneur, Alex Salinas (1971), heeft in zijn wandelingen in de stad vooral oog voor de urbane details. Zijn stijl is direct en no-nonsense. Hij vertelt geen verhalen maar licht fragmenten uit hun context. Op resoluut subjectieve wijze associeert Salinas kleurenbeelden in een hybride sequens. Verschillende formaten en genres mengt hij vrijuit door elkaar in één foto-installatie aan de muur die meer heeft van een fotografisch dagbooek van een stedeling dan van een representatief beeld van de stad. Zijn steelse blik voor wat met veel zin voor abstractie van vorm en kleur spontaan oplicht vanuit de ooghoek  in het voorbijgaan, herinnert aan William Eggleston, voor wie het meest banale ding de meest wonderlijke foto kan opleveren. Het hangt er maar van af wie kijkt, en hoe die kijkt natuurlijk: vanuit ongewone standpunten, met aandacht voor het artificiële en voor de mainier waarop de camera de realiteit kan transformeren of de schaal van de dingen kan vervormen. Twee meisjes met één hoofd, een hoop zand op de werf aan de oever wordt een berglandschap, een kitscherig lampje aan de zoldering suggereert een broeierige popsfeer. Alleen de luchtfoto biedt panoramisch overzicht...

Dat ook een ruwe kadrering de fragiliteit van de dingen kan doen oplichten, zie je in de lyrische snapshot van een gevallen blad in roze en groen op de tarmac. Salinas citeert niet alleen beelden in het het beeld, zoals een televisiescherm, maar ook wervende teksten zoals "It's up to you" in een billboard voor priesterroepingen, en graffiti "if you toucha car i breaka your facez" [sic]. Deze behoorlijk arbitraire, maar persoonlijke en suggestieve collage Stills & Signs laat zich nog het meest genieten als een visueel gedicht.





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-