To take photographs with your eyes closed is an experience that is lived by looking outward. It is to bring to light images that exist inside us. Some of them fall from our injuries and find their path by seeping into the camera’s eye, provoking a sudden shock with what we encounter there: the reality of the world. In this case, the photographic act is given in that threshold or contact zone between life and thought.
“March Eleventh” takes up the mood of a scene marked by the tragic terrorist attacks in Madrid on March 11, 2004. On the exact date at the same time, Eduardo Nave endeavors to follow the train lines affected by the explosions. This is an event that attempts to be told similarly by traversing time and space in order to work through the photographer’s own process of mourning.
Produced over the course of four years (2010-2013), Nave makes stops along this route at the train stations Atocha, Santa Eugenia and El Pozo, and on Téllez Street. He returns to these places in order to view them again and make them speak, but above all, to make us have another look. Wherever traces seem on the cusp of disappearing, Nave attempts to feel—as though “turned into tree bark, immediate skin”—what others experienced there.
The French historian and writer George Didi-Huberman asks if it is even necessary to pierce that historical skin in order to arrive at absent beings, to sense the pain of others who can no longer be touched. Very much in line with this thought Nave attempts to dissolve that temporal boundary through his photography, questioning ways of representing horror; he makes us contemplate a place charged with calm and silence. However, he invests a calm value attributed to a beautiful landscape when he relates it to a fatal event. His work returns us to a mute, wounded image. It invites us to look as an archaeologist would. And it is in this manner that people and things begin to look at us from their own times, now past. They are there. And they appear in every detail, in the bench on the station platform, the escalator, the streetlamps, the train tracks, the sidewalks, and the station clock. They speak to us exactly as long as they survive and endure.
Mireia A. Puigventós