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.