The acquisition made by Fundación MAPFRE is focused on his work from the series Siéntete perdido la mayor parte del tiempo [Feel Lost Most of the Time] (2010-2011), Ruta 40: Argentina [Route 40: Argentina] (2006) y Guía de Museos [Museum Guide] (2010-2012).


  • Title: New York 2008
  • Date Created: 2008
  • Pigment inkjet print: 1/9 + 2PA Signed and numbered
  • Physical Dimensions: w60 x h40 cm (Without frame, without passepartout)
  • Photographer: Fernando Maquieira
  • More Info: Official website
  • Artist Biography: Fernando Maquieira (Madrid, 1966) “I seek out the unexpected”, says the photographer after a while in conversation, talking with both force and surprise, like someone who has just found a gift that they’ve always yearned for. Fernando Maquieira was taking photographs for a long time before deciding to become a photographer. It was ten years before he discovered that that art form that was made to measure, just for him. He took photographs to pay the bills while devoting his energy to music. Now, looking back, he realizes that consensus, working with others, and ongoing, continuous communion were necessary in that creative process. While teamwork is still attractive to him, the independence and autonomy of photography were the two aspects that pleased him the most when his objective changed: the feeling of being a driving force for himself and not for others. Power, even if it is offset with responsibility and loneliness. “Everything starts with Walker Evans.” He comes from an Anglo-Saxon tradition that is not his own and from which he has slowly been detaching himself. Influences come and go, although how he developed his way of looking was partly due to the Anglo-Saxons. Now Eastern European photographers have taken the lead, so pure compared to the former, thanks to their isolation. “I’m a huge fan of failure. It helps me improve,” he says emphatically. Maquieira came late to photography, after the days for ego, success and rushing around were over, as he says himself. “I came to understand that a career is a life. I was in no hurry to attain a particular position for myself and everything was flowing. In this it’s the journey itself that makes me happy”. The turning point came after a trip to Mexico, where he – as always – took some photos, but when he looked at them on his return, he saw an added dimension. He showed them to some key people and, based on that, an exhibition and a publication came out: Veintedías México [Mexico 20Days] (2003). This was the point at which he established that photography had come to be the center of everything for him, and was here to stay. For this photographer, the important thing is the relationship between the images and the discourse emerging from them as a whole. The idea of creating dynamics, a contrast to enable the telling of a story through that whole, is one of the key elements of his work. This is the reason why he produces his work in the form of series and why he thinks books are the perfect support, the object that allows the “magical” relationship – as he describes it – between images: “That is a psychological aspect of photography that interests me”, he says. He constantly runs two projects in parallel: the streets (the unfathomable project that nurtures him and remains constant and immense) and conceptual projects, which he gets stuck into in order to investigate and challenge himself. An intuitive photographer, he is able to tame his intuition with analytical projects that require control and which are related, so far, to what he calls invisible concepts. From here Ánima [Anima] was born (2005-2006) – the spirit of the deceased – a black and white study using a plate camera where his aim was to capture the soul of a series of stuffed animals. From this same place, his study about faith emerged, and his journey to Iran to capture the mise-en-scène – almost medieval – of that faith in Wearing Faith (2008-2009). The things that make certain people exclude themselves from what ‘the others’, ourselves, call normal, everyday life. Thus invisible concepts become political ones, implicating human beings, their actions and subsequent consequences, and that intangible force that governs all of that. His theory is a compelling one: having killed God, man must search for something to believe in, and that is where art appears, and museums become cathedrals and people stand in line on Sundays to enter them as if they were attending mass. The idea of museums as spiritual spaces is what he aims to explain in his work Guía de museos [Museum Guide], where he photographs empty museums. To do so, he relies on working at night, and on a Hasselblad he places at the height of a child’s eyeline, to create the feeling of seeing those art venues for the very first time. And the color: the color that already pervades everything and consigns black and white to oblivion. Fernando Maquieira won first prize in PHotoEspaña’s PHotoMaratón and third prize in Royal Spanish Photographic Society’s Madrid Imagen Digital EPSON contest, both in 2002. He received the FotoPres’07 grant from Fundación “la Caixa” (2007), as well as a grant from the Royal Spanish Academy in Rome (2008-2009). He was selected for PHotoEspaña’s Descubrimientos [Discoveries] in 2010, and he was artist in residence at Kaunas Photography Gallery, Lithuania, in 2012. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Royal Spanish Academy in Rome, the National Museum of Anthropology in Madrid, the Museum of the Alhambra and Generalife in Granada, the Photomuseum in Zarautz, the Royal Spanish Photographic Society in Madrid and La Maison de l´Amérique Latine in Brussels, among others. Every day, the photographer patrols the streets. He hangs his camera around his neck and walks around the city. “What I really want is to understand myself and understand the world. Patrolling the streets makes me fully aware of what I am and what I do. It connects me with the world.” When he gets home, he puts the images aside. He only looks back at them later, having established a distance from them. The project changes, grows and evolves. It is an endless project. And the mind is devoted to other things. Written ideas recorded in notebooks, which he will return to when a project has finished. “For example, innocence. The idea of how we can photograph it, if that is even possible. How innocence is lost, what it looks like,” he says emphatically. Another invisible concept that starts to mumble in his head and lead him away by the hand. Paula Susaeta
  • Type: Photography
  • Rights: © Fernando Maquieira 2008, ©COLECCIONES FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE / Fernando Maquieira

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