Away from the Light
In Away from the Light, Roberto Rubalcava’s haunting images inhabit a void
somewhere between light and darkness, possessing a stillness that is both poetic and
unsettling. In this ongoing series, he is exploring and celebrating the innate
enigma of his subjects, whether they be inanimate or living, landscapes or
Almost always bereft of any context, the viewer is forced to reconsider the
subjects, which are no longer subject to the mise-en-scéne of the world around them.
But unlike the sterile artefacts in a museum, or the controlled conditions of a studio,
these subjects have not been inserted into an unnatural and alien setting, they remain
very much in situ, whether or not we know or understand or can even glean
that situ, which is at times little more than a sea of darkness, the absence
of light. What we are left with the essence of these subjects, at times melancholy,
at times haughty, and always imbued with a life that seems otherwordly.
Time and timing here is central to these images; the notion that the very same
object or landscape takes on a different set of characteristics depending on the time of
day. Quite often in these works it seems the moment that Roberto seeks is that moment
of the night in which the light is coldest and darkness the furthest from light
that it can be, the furthest from the din of human activity and indeed any interference.
The life of things when they are unseen. The sea, which is captured in all its
immense and powerful enigma is, after all, the same sea that in the daytime is
so inviting and so seductive, but here it is another side of the sea, another
narrative, poetic and dangerous and in existence long before human caught
sight of it and long after we will continue doing so.
Each of these images suggests a journey and a narrative of their own, like a
wildlife photographer in patient pursuit of an enigmatic and nocturnal creature,
he must first acclimatize to the habitat. And everything receives the same treatment,
as though there is nothing to distinguish between living non living matter,
as though it and we were all one and the same.
Roberto Rubalcava’s work suggests a practice that is organic and instinctive. In
this instance, it is the artist who has sought these subjects on their own terms, in order
to capture them at rest. It is as if the artist were being manipulated by the subject
and its surroundings and not the other way around, finding the most simple
equation between subject and the photographer, to find in them a stillness that
is a fundamental aspect of this work. Indeed, this series in many respects is
as much as study in stillness as anything else.
Text by Maurice Caldera
Away from the Light is a work in progress