Review by Gerhard Clausing •
In these tumultuous times there is much to ‘beware of’ – many anxieties that have followed us since childhood and from centuries past are now catching up with us again and are turning into new existential fears. The archetypal nightmares from long ago, archaic and simple as they may have been, are reinforced and reiterated in the hatred and violence we witness on a regular basis, in divisive and destructive approaches that are encouraged by some opportunistic politicians.
I vividly remember a Grimm Brothers fairy tale book from my childhood, in which there was an illustration of a giant red-bearded creature who towered menacingly over the little boy who was instructed to guard the well, so nothing would fall into it to pollute it. Alas, much has damaged our global ‘well’ in the meantime, and it is very difficult to even know where to begin to reverse all the disasters we are forced to witness, and future generations even more so.
Alex Llovet has a superb sense of all that has befallen us. His images take us on quite a trip through the eyes of children, traveling through our subconscious as it manifests itself in our collective reality. We see gross symbols of our primitive past that unexpectedly lurk in nature and elsewhere. Signs that are meant to give us pause, physical reminders such as bones, teeth, skeletons, masks and other eerie symbols are presented as in-your-face reminders of the brevity of life and the perceived necessities of the food chain. We certainly take notice.
This photobook, just as the circularly constructed cover, is full of surprises. Just as life is not linear, some pages and images are upside down to make us perk up; the design continually causes us to be on guard and to exercise caution and ponder what we are looking at. There are many images that show situations potentially fraught with danger, not the least of which are views of the older generation. At the same time, we all possibly also experience some comfort when we realize that we are in this together; we certainly share the emotions that the images arouse in us, as well as the marching on of time itself. And indeed, when you open the cover of the book, the unhinged globe certainly is a strong metaphor for the universality of our collective history and current situation.
This book deserves our full and considered attention. We need to ponder the implications of a world that is moving off-track. Through the eyes of children we are asked to consider implications of what might be of long-term importance for the survival of generations to come. Alex Llovet has created a strong project that uses art as a forceful vehicle to make us reflect on what is now and what might come next.
Photographer: Alex Llovet (born and resides in Barcelona, Spain)
Publisher: Ediciones Posibles, Barcelona, Spain; © 2018
Hardback, debossed cloth cover, sewn; open-spine (naked) binding; 100 pages, not paginated, with one large foldout; 16 x 24 cm; printed in Spain by Laboratorio para el Arte / Estudios Durero; intertitles in Spanish and English
Photobook Designer: Alex Llovet