Vision orients oneself in space, ignoring certain relevant details that make it possible to distinguish one zone from another. When walking down the street, a necessary coordination between the eyes that observe and the feet that move happens almost naturally. With the camera against the face, the photographer looks through the viewfinder, facing perspective from a single point.
At MAMBA, Bruno Dubner has installed a line of photographs that starts on a wall and continues on the adjacent one, turning around half the room. They are located at eye-level and grouped under the title, Ajeno (Alien), a neutral and distant term that isn’t either uncanny or familiar or defined as private or public. Anyway, it becomes clear that the alien doesn’t belong. That’s why, although we may look at it hard, it will remain unavailable for anyone to act upon it.
The images register textures, planes of color and materials that can be seen as the viewer looks downwards, in the direction required for the attentive walker — the person who wants to know where and what the feet are stepping on. But Dubner’s vision bends away from the footstep, turning towards the line where the floor tiles reach the outer walls of the buildings that raise perpendicularly. That encounter “locked-up in fragments,” as Fabio Kacero points out in the exhibition text, isn’t casual or coincidental and still it doesn’t make any comprehensible sense. Nevertheless, the fragmentary information is enough to understand what the images depict. But Dubner’s distant look doesn’t provide any answer. Rather it keeps repeating the question that reaches the eyes with its endless variations.
In the photos, forms, colors, grids, and structures change. Details recall different time periods, different histories. Displayed in a horizontal row, the photos exist in the same room at the same historical moment. We can ask how long that lasts, what relation exists among the surfaces depicted. The time of the photos is ephemeral as is the utilitarian look that scans the angles and soon returns to eye-level while the feet move forward on the sidewalk.
Abstract as a group of isolated details gathered in a new context, and at the same time as concrete as certain moments of walking down a street, the scenes from Ajeno contain nothing theatrical in them. Dubner’s gesture appropriates what doesn’t belong when it photographs those lines on the ground and displaces them to eye-level. In his installation, the photos revolve around one of the angles between two walls of the room, reproducing, vertically, the angles in the pictures, that low, alien line on the side. The logic that gathered these surfaces remains a secret in plain view.