The path that led Xavier Ribas (Barcelona, 1960) to photography was not by way of Fine Arts but through an interest in anthropology and urban design. After graduating in Anthropology from the University of Barcelona (1990) and a stint working as a draughtsman, Ribas decided to go to England, where he studied documentary photography at the Newport School of Art and Design. The synthesis of these three disciplines could be said to contain the essence of his work.
Ribas explores new ways of representing cities and their transformations, but he does so by placing the spotlight on activities that take place in the peripheral areas, the apparently unproductive and desolate outskirts of big cities. His photographs suggest that the undefined nature of these residual areas is a catalyst for community and that they offer zones of freedom.
The series 'Domingos' (1994-1997) portrays family leisure activities in the peripheral zones of post-Olympics Barcelona, while 'Habitus' (2007) – commissioned by MACBA for the Metropolitan Images of the New Barcelona project – documents urban and social transformations in six residential estates on the outskirts of Barcelona as a result of urban interventions in the lead-up to the 2004 Forum of Cultures.
In both cases, the artist offers an alternative, critical version of the official image of the Barcelona brand. Some influences that can give us an insight into Ribas’s work include Lewis Baltz, Michel de Certeau, Marc Auge, Ignasi de Solà-Morales and Pierre Bordieu, but also Pier Paolo Pasolini, Nanni Moretti's 'Caro diario', Manolo Laguillo, Humberto Rivas and Jean-Marc Bustamante.
Xavier Ribas lives and works in Brighton and Barcelona. His work has been included in prestigious photographic competitions and shown at numerous venues such as PHotoEspaña Madrid (1998 and 2006), The Photographer's Gallery in London (1999 and 2004), the Biennale d'art contemporain de Lyon (2001), Festival de Photographie de la Ville de Sedan (2004), George Eastman House in Rochester, New York (2009), Neue Pinakothek in Munich (2009), Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo in Madrid (2010), Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (2001) and MACBA (2008 and 2013).
MACBA is currently preparing a monographic exhibition of his work to be held in 2014.
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FONS AUDIO #20. Sandra Balsells
FONS AUDIO #19. Eulàlia Grau
FONS AUDIO #18. Erick Beltrán
FONS AUDIO #17. Judith Barry
FONS AUDIO #16. Perejaume
FONS AUDIO #15. Ignasi Aballí