It takes a while for our eyes to adjust to light
13 February 2022 -  19 February 2022

The world is read in different ways. There is no longer an agreement about reality, about the perception of our surroundings. All these realities clash, cohabit and exist in the same space. This motivates my work.

My upbringing in a country with so many cultural and political connotations strengthened my awareness of the world and its mixed realities. Growing up in Colombia and being half Polish, I consider myself a migrant, from migrant parents. Colombia itself is a country of movement and multiple migrations. The notable differences in culture from Latin America to Europe, made me realize the possibilities of diversity. Instead of being disjunctive, there is  nourishment between one another. It is a dance between ambiguities, contradictions and reciprocities. Movements and frictions, giving way to light. Diversity creates possibilities. It is both conflictive and harmonic. Diversity is the emergence of novelty, it is hybrid. Fissures allow creation, and creation comes from hybrid juxtapositions resulting from friction.  As a result, the thematic of migration became one of the pillars of my work.

Walking, wandering, contemplating and inhabiting urban spaces means thinking about the idea of freedom. It seems magical, dreamy, threatening and coercive at the same time. Fear and amazement. You have to be awake to what surrounds you. You must have a radar always on, alert to possible challenges. The project reveals the ambiguities of these spaces and their changing disguises.

What if the spaces we inhabit, our bedrooms, houses, buildings, streets, neighbourhoods and peripheries, are the pieces of an intriguing puzzle we did not choose to solve? Spaces are constructed in a political way. They do not escape their own time. Some spaces bring lightness and joy. Others are designed to be coercive. To establish rules and limit people's activities or possibilities. Spaces that are made to segregate or marginalize. To protect or control. Spaces become images of a hidden power. Cities have this dualism. A dreamy, ideal space. A space where design becomes coercive. We drift and wander, with our eyes closed, as if enveloped by darkness. However, attracted by the light like an insect to a light bulb. In a dreamlike state, we slowly lose our ability to observe whether we are being imprisoned by a coercive model or released by a dream world that is being unfolded to us. ‘A world in which we are both creators and creatures, both makers and prisoners: a world which our actions construct and a world that powerfully constrain us.’ (Philip Abrams, ‘Historical Sociology’)

A contradictory duality. By using our power over space and reacting to the coercion, or simply contemplating the space, we turn the duality into something hybrid. Encompassing all kinds of things and places that are transformed by a moment of careful observation.

To transit space is simultaneously to be subjected to the puzzle and to claim our capacity to redefine it. We can choose to inhabit the labyrinth, which can be at the same time the way to escape from it.

Santiago Ortiz Przychodzka (b. 1991, Bogotá, Colombia) is a Polish Colombian photographer who lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium.

His work revolves around the balance between space, the way it affects us, and the social dynamics generated by the ambiguities of these relationships.

In an effort to overcome his anxieties, he wanders the streets and spaces of different cities looking for the cracks and fissures through which the strange, that which is beyond our standard perception, seeps into our reality. Conversing with that which does not belong to us, and that which inhabits the outside world, he attempts to lift the veil to reveal what is hidden, what produces our fears or generates peace of mind. By recognising the effect of the other on us, we can realise that we are facing the new and that the concepts that define our reality are becoming increasingly obsolete. We perceive the magical as the opposite of the real, but magic can be placed on the same level as the real.

He graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp with a master’s degree in photography (2020).

In 2021, he participated in a residency program at the BilbaoArte Foundation in Bilbao, Spain.



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