Max Estrella is pleased to present Aitor Ortiz’s (Bilbao, 1971) most recent work. With the title “Link Project”, this is the sixth exhibition by the Basque photographer in the gallery. Literally appropriating the floor of the now-gone ship chain factory VICINAY, it comes across as a natural consequence in a trajectory defined by an intimate relationship with architecture. Space that served as object, it becomes medium now, and therefore a trace of the place’s memory. “Link Project is the image as footprint, the footprint as image”, Ortiz affirms.
The show presents steel square fragments selected by the artist from the original floor of the plant. Deformations and wrinkles are visible in all of them. These were caused by the impact of thousands of tons of chains during more than sixty years. They are witnesses of the legacy of decades of production to local urban landscape.
In a formal aspect, this process speaks about photography. It connects steel with silver bromide, years of industrial activity with seconds of shutter speed, and tons of chains with the impact of millions of photons. This body of work has a sculptural appearance and yet reveals a photographic nature; it turns steel into photosensitive film. As if it were a long-exposure shot, steel captures six decades of links molding their surfaces and surrounding urban landscape.
Capture what has ceased to be and turn it into memory is a concern that was also shared by Eugene Atget. After twenty years cataloguing the streets of old Paris he said the following, “I can confirm that I possess the entirety of old Paris”. Link Project is the photograph of the time that’s passed, it’s the confirmation of a reality turned into memory.