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Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. México.
Adrián Caldera. The Confluence of Extremes.
By Zulma Y. Méndez.
To photograph is to create and recreate the World as the artist has imagine and/or desired it to be. In essence that is the task in which border artist Adrián Caldera is immersed. A task, which would remain ordinary if the search in which Caldera is involved, remained within the limits of aesthetic confines.
However, in Caldera’s interpretation/representation of reality is very much reflected the artist’s preoccupation for political, social economic and cultural marginality of the subjects and spaces, which are central to his present production. Marginality, which he, recognizes as his own. Owner of an unusual ability to handle and manipulate alternative elements and means to produce his photography. Caldera comments in every piece about liminality of the social context from which his production emerges.
Inhabitant of a place of contrasts, Juárez, a Mexican town along the United States-Mexico border. Caldera portrays with the use of a pinhole camera (CalderCam) his fascination for ambiguity and tension. In this sense, the urban space he represents is inserted in a past that doesn’t fade and furthermore does not resist embracing the present, imperfect past.
Thus, in his work on Juárez urban landscape Caldera imagines a city oscillating between the old and modern, the provincial and the cosmopolitan. Decadence and culmination. However, those extremes are only artifices that make for confluence, a central concern in the artist’s work. In addition, as those poles represented in Caldera’s photography meet, they construct and reconstruct the identity of the space and subjects, which populate Juárez.
Undoubtedly, in Adrián Caldera’s production there is an evident spirit of quest, which is unusual in the local photographic scene. His caldergramas, as he has named them, incorporate the same techniques used to produce photograms but with Caldera’s added innovations, which give different effects to his work. While the themes he represents are consistent with his previous photography, it is in the latter that Caldera’s production appears more intimate and presents a move from his socio-documental discourse to a plastic experimentation that at this point in his production seems to privilege form.
* Zulma Y. Mendez is a sociologist from Juárez, Mex. /El Paso, USA region whose work focuses on the cultural representation and the politics of cul