Reciclantes / Recyclants Agbogbloshie, Accra (Ghana) 2014-2016
Project info

A recycled gaze

A di cult place becomes a photographic studio. We are in an exterior: Antonio Pérez’s photographic studio in Agbogbloshie. Pérez approaches chaos in a subtle way, a zone of lights and shadows. He introduces his small “trap” and tries to order that chaos. e new stage facilitates the elision of borders between models and photographer, between landscape and studio, a place that temporarily acquires a new use: gazing, posing. e most contaminated place of the African continent, a dumpsite of the West located far from its frontiers is, for others, a workplace.
e photographer tries to isolate the gaze of the model in his portable studio and manages to confront the place (a landscape) to the photographic factor (a studio). A devastating place that o ers an enormous distance between spectators and models. A recurrent game for the photographer, who connects several worlds and establishes a close relation between what happens in the di erent photographs, between that which is in and out of eld. By o ering a wider point of view, he includes what we were perhaps not supposed to see, o ering multiple attention focus, making our reading all the more complicated.
His background gradually loses its form and ends up betraying itself. His piece of cloth becomes a rag that blends with the nature of the place. A background that little by little becomes integrated and is absorbed by another background, the landscape.
His photography extracts a pause, a peaceful moment that multiplies the point of view, confronting two realities: that of the place itself and that which is framed by the background the photographer introduces. An apocalyptic chaos nds an oasis on a clear piece of cloth, opening with it a brief space-time which is di erent day by day.
e gaze of the spectator o ers di erent speeds within the same image, the internal rhythms of the image are a consequence of the chromatic change that the photographer introduces. e transition from the dark tones of the place to the white background o ers the eyes of the spectator a place to rest.
A landscape lled with debris receives a new use. e act of recycling, which is so highly regarded in the West, shows its poorer side here. Antonio Pérez’s photography holds a structure from which the rst world runs away. e idea of giving a new use to something which others consider obsolete does not appear in these images. Ev- erything suggests a sick place, which the photographer pauses for a few moments throwing a recycled gaze over it, although it may better resemble a dream, a theatrical drama or a moment of rest. is is an act of recycling that contaminates and that is di cult to digest.
Antonio Pérez, once more, plays with the physical limits of his own gaze, placing several frontiers within the same image: inside and outside, rush and pause, noise and silence, white and black. A confronted and comparative image; a photography that ends where the next one starts. His broken gaze seeks a certain unity and, o en times, the di culty for nding integration yields a kind of harmony between one shot and another. e photographer has managed to build, just for a few days, a small refuge amidst an apocalyptic world.

Miguel Romero