Can you tell us something about your background as a photographer?
Joan: “I started with photography in 2007. In the beginning, I was oriented to reportages, social stories, etc. I was very interested in stories happening out there, in the real world, and photography was just a tool to approach them, to get closer to social issues that were catching my attention. So I had a documentary style in my images. I also was strongly influenced by what the media expects from you to tell a story. With time, I created my own style, separating me from this editorial storytelling. I appreciate photography more as a language and tool to allow self-expression. The medium itself, how I express my ideas with images, has become the goal. Not only a way to approach the stories in the external world. More than the stories, I really appreciate authors who can indulge me in a particular atmosphere with their ideas and visual language.”
Why did you decide to apply for this Artist in Residency?
“I have lived in the Netherlands in the past. I know the country and its landscape. I feel the weight of artists from the past is especially significant here. To follow a path is to recognize the steps of those who walked it before, and I think there are very significant, heavy steps, regarding the representation of landscape here. It is a challenge but also an opportunity to enjoy and create my own dialogue with this land. I also want to start developing a more professional network outside of my country, and Amsterdam is a city with a strong art community, so this opportunity is exciting for me.”
What is your project about?
“I think Amsterdam, and the whole Netherlands, is a land that invites us to think about the relation between the man and the sea. I see this relation on two levels. One is very symbolic: the struggle between man and nature. Humans have tried to control the sea, even reclaiming significant parts of land from it. I think this is so strong that I almost see it as a myth. The second level is linked with nowadays issues related to climatic change. Is the Netherlands ready to deal with a potential rise of the sea level? What would be the future of these lands if the risk of flood increases?”
What do you want to achieve with this project?
“It’s very difficult to say that at this very early stage of the project. In recent years, I worked in different territories, always combining a lot of inner projection that comes from me with research and listening to a natural environment and its people. I’m not looking for a realistic representation of these lands, rather I’m enjoying growing my own interaction and perception of them. I need to be attracted and inspired by the natural environment, history, geology, and anthropology.”
How do you hope to develop yourself?
“The first achievement with this project will be on a personal level. This is new territory for me, and is a very different kind of environment to the ones I’m used to. So, to be able to work here, first I need to learn how to relate to this landscape. Listen to it, learn, find my way how to relate to it, and how I like to represent it. This is a process of learning (and eventually growing) that I enjoy so much. For example, in the past, photographing the sea (without diving) was so difficult for me, I didn’t understand how I could do it. How can we turn a flat infinite surface into several images that are appealing to us? But last year I had an artistic residence in Cadaqués where I spent months relating to the territory, untill I established my own visual way to approach the Mediterranean. I enjoy this process of learning and adaptation very much.”
The outcome of this Artist in Residency will be exhibited in Volkshotel. Keep an eye on our socials to get updates regarding this project.