..EEro Saarinen, MIT Chapel, Cambridge, 1955
..Hahnemühle print from original bw negative
Craftwork and mechanical reproduction for a museum
Iñaki Bergera is architect and photographer, and these activities can’t be separated within his daily tasks. Since it
deals with the kind of pictures in which technique is privileged over craftwork, photography has given some of its best
results in alliance with architecture. This is a “constructive” art, tactile, made, like photography, out of space and light;
that, nowadays, explores a kind of formal and structured beauty, susceptible to a look both humble and sophisticated,
as the one required by photography. It is therefore appropriate to express the minimalist approach of our times;
inquiring into the objects with care, emphasizing their intimate structure, bringing out their textures, or analyzing their
conceptual or functional links.
Regarding formality and conceptuality, the photography of Iñaki Bergera might be universal, and even neutral; but the
content of his pictures talks without doubt about North America and its most characteristic rituals of the new millennium.
I don’t speak at all about report, meaning an awareness exercise; but about a deep gaze that does not want to see facts
but glimmers, something that lets things be shown in their apparent triviality in order to let their intimate essence stand
out. It is a photography that transforms the most trivial things into unknown and unexpected ones.
Iñaki Bergera deals comfortably with the urban landscapes that became his usual environment during his stays in
America. This explains that he knows how to show those things that would be unnoticed by an occasional tourist, but it
also says almost nothing to the one who is used to living there and to whom all these surprising aspects for us, the
exhibition visitors, are just a part of his daily setting. From these two poles of sight, the tourist and the autochthonous,
what is photographed by Iñaki Bergera, may lack aesthetic value and therefore interest.
It is characteristic of the visitor to go into raptures over the big American city, but Iñaki also seeks the human footprints on
the landscape; a landscape that is not virgin anymore, that is codified by the industrial transformation, by the nonstop
growth of urban life. In these limited places between the countryside and the city there is still room for poetry; but when
photographing New York, the look of Iñaki turns epic, even heroic. His enthusiasm for modern architecture becomes here
more transparent, and form becomes the main issue in his photography. Content only appears every now and then, with
notes on some practical solutions to improvise new ways of life, or survival, with humorous remarks such as the stacked
parking lots and its reference to the children’s games. This is how New York is, he seems to tell us: it is a constant
As part of the humanized landscape, the camera also goes into the institutional view, into the museum, where space takes
us to the image that is being shown and vice versa. Without break, without knowing which of the two poles, photography
or architecture, is first. The main interest is usually in the bundle and not in its content, nor in the visitor, but Iñaki also
surprises us here with associative games of big visual sharpness. I personally prefer the unanimated pictures, those
that seek scale representations or constraint associations, like the blow up puppet on top of a building, or those that allow
us to see the beauty of a twisted tree in constrast with the severe lines of a rational façade, or the expressive strength of
graffiti on a flaked wall.
Susan Sontag said that photography, not being an art in itself, has the property of transforming into works of art the objects
taken as models. And not only because the humility required by its observation has taught us to discover the restrained
and incisive beauty of contemporary sculpture and architecture, but above all because it has displayed for us the formal
importance of objects lacking any aesthetic function. As Walter Benjamin pointed out, photography rearranges
the traditional creative practices according to the index photographic model, proposing a new interpretation of the aesthetic
image and being ahead of the famous Duchamp’s Ready Mades. What this philosopher wasn’t able to glimpse
was that photography, far from transforming traditional art from contemplation to pure political action, could hold the
traditional roll of painting and sculpture, and be introduced into galleries and museums, which are the “auratic” places par
excellence. The aura goes on and it is so because nowadays it is more convenient than ever. It helps us to run away from
the explicit information image bombing that we have to constantly face in this society of spectacle, beyond the walls of the
gallery or the museum. This is the reason why photography exhibitions such as this one are a balsam, a contemplative
interlude. Even though, as architecture, it is made out of craftwork and mechanical reproduction.
Jorge Latorre, Professor and Art Historian
[Text on ‘America, Paisaje Urbano', 2006]