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14 August 2008

Leila Mendez, Slight wounds

Some people can see through things. They spot them, go through them, unveil them and show them back to us under a different light. Some of these people are photographers. And one of them is Leila, a conspiratorial eyelash behind the shutter, a thin eyelid, a red-haired head that sees things and goes through the looking glass. Leila creates images that go beyond their horizon, images that conjure up landscapes and visions, images that reveal what you cannot hear, what is smoothing and reassuring. Leila has always seen things whether in the open in Madrid or in a beggar’s fingernails in Paris. Leila is an alluring, close, romantic and telekinetic person. She is Argentinian, Brazilian, Spanish, Catalan and her photos are as pervasive as her trail.

Leila’s pictures are never alien. On the contrary, they are balmy as the residence permit, a place to rest our look in exile. The ‘Leila experience’ consists of travelling to remote places where beauty pervades everything, where profiles and looks dissolve and fuse like mercury tears in dark, green, volcanic, cold, futuristic and delicate backgrounds.

It is so in this collection of nine portraits. Leila has shot nine friends from the side, from the front, from the back, almost without looking at them. They are still, merged into nature in a sort of imaginary way. These pictures are a series of gestures frozen in protective environments, places where one likes to be alone, where the light falls smoothly in beams and spills over delicate corners. This compilation of images is like a close-up of Leila’s smile, another hint that her friends, landscapes and look are an unbeatable emotional residence.

Héctor Castells

Prints produced by Dupon Digital Lab.

Artist presented by Luis Venegas. 

Exhibition venue: Grande Halle, Parc des Ateliers, Rencontres d’Arles 2008.