Estudio Elemental del Levante • Ricardo Cases
ARLES SHORTLIST OF THE BOOK AWARDS 2021
64 pages / 6.25 x 9.25 in. / Hardcover, 50 color images, Edition of 1000 copies / 200 c, The Ice Plant, Co-published with Dalphine and Torch Press
Further delving into the photographic language that originated with Paloma al aire (2011), in Estudio elemental del Levante (carried out between 2010 and 2020) Ricardo Cases articulates the meanings rendered by his immediate environment, the Levante region (Spain), where he finds expressions of all phenomena, of all relations.
Beyond the classic icons of tourism — beach and paella — Cases observes a series of hallmarks with deeper and more subtle meanings. That is where other symbols of Levante like the music bands, the palm groves and the construction industry make their appearance. As does the story of the red palm weevil (rhynchophorus ferrugineus): a parasite from Southeast Asia that attacks palm trees, causing them to wither and die.
The palm tree, the charanga and the red palm weevil form a triangle that represents the spiritual map of modern Spain’s systemic crash, of a violent and screeching collision. The combination of it all generates a dissonant symphony. Like a desperate alarm signal, the grating shriek of metal can be heard in the images themselves.
In this book, which is based on the principle of collage, images appear to have been affected by the blight and are partially faded. Superposition creates a raving musical score whose structure is chaos. In short, Estudio elemental del Levante is a requiem for a way of life that enjoyed its period of mad splendour.