Interview: Javier Serrano Alix
Luca Curci talks to Javier Serrano during during the 11th Edition of CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2022, at Palazzo Bembo.
After leaving my Industrial Engineering studies, I started working in the family business dedicated to mechanized supplies for the automotive industry. It was at this time, in the early 80’s, when I discovered photography through my father, a great amateur, who gave me my first camera, a brand new Canon T90. With it and a Canon 28mm lens, when I can, I walk the streets of Madrid photographing its architecture and urban scenes. I study photography at the CEV (Centro de Estudios del Video y Fotografía), the main photography school of the time, although I consider myself self-taught.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Javier Serrano Alix – My father was very fond of photography, on weekends he would take his Pentax Spotmatic and go to Madrid to take pictures. I had left my studies in Industrial Engineering to work in his business of machining parts for the automotive industry. Seeing the good pictures my father took, my interest in photography grew, I studied photography at the CEV (Centro de Estudios del Video y Fotografía), the main photography school of the time, although I consider myself self-taught. He gave me a brand new Canon T90 with a 28mm FD lens and triggered my hobby, launching me into the street to take street photographs, both of architecture and street life. In 1992, I put together a selection of photographs of architecture and street scenes, showing the new Madrid that was emerging, Building the Future and Urban Life, based on portraying the intense life in the most central and popular streets. This work is widely published in the most important photography magazine in Spain: FOTO Profesional. Excerpts from the text written by editor Manuel López: “They are brave images, different, that presents us with a rabidly original and modern image of the Madrid of here and now.” “No international star of photography has to date been able to take such fresh, orderly and profound photographs of Madrid on commission.” “None of the brilliant international stars of photography had penetrated so deeply into the being of popular/cosmopolitan Madrid. These shocking reds, blues, yellows and purples will undoubtedly make these images iconic.” This was the starting point for my great hobby to become a profession.
LC – What are you currently working on?
JSA – Currently I mainly do assignments in architecture, interior design, office buildings, office design, shopping malls, hotels, institutions, hospitals and industry. I am fortunate that my clients give me a lot of freedom in the work I do, this allows me to express with my images what I see.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
JSA – Apart from the above-mentioned subjects, I also make personal work, mainly on urban architecture and street scenes, although I also photograph any object that catches my attention.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
JSA – In terms of framing and vision of the scenes, I think that little may have changed after the transition from analogue to digital photography. When I used to take photographs with slide film, I generally used to expose for highlights and colour saturation, generating denser shadows. With digital cameras I try to shoot for details, both in highlights and shadows, generating less contrasted originals that I can edit on the computer. I also like very much the one catalogued as minimalist photography.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
JSA – What I most like to photograph are buildings, whether they are for leisure or work, including people (not extras) carrying out their work, having fun, passing by or vehicles if it is outdoors.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
JSA – Anywhere, going out with a camera. The streets of a city, a shopping mall, an industrial estate.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
JSA – Generally it’s an instinctive process, unprepared, I think my best photographs are the most spontaneous ones, you integrate yourself in a location and start seeing and taking pictures, it’s a unique moment that I love.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
JSA – I think yes, it is a good platform to make your work known, outside your country as well as in your country.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
JSA – Yes, I think it has been a good experience and I hope that more experiences will follow.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
JSA – I find it very interesting, a platform dedicated to the dissemination of artistic activities such as photography, painting, sculpture, architecture, and visual art … in which artists can make known their works in different countries, it’s fantastic! I hope to continue collaborating with ITSLIQUID for many years to come.