Alejandro Guijarro’s works are life-size photographs of blackboards in academic institutions all over the world that specialise in quantum mechanics: Oxford, Berkeley, Stanford, Cern. The blackboards, photographed with a large format camera in an emptied lecture hall, are presented face-on, frameless, their roiled surfaces reminiscent of mid-century abstract painting (Twombly, Pollock, even Rothko).
The dynamic abstract forms of scuffed chalk and dragged erasers might allude, as those painted precursors might, to the expressive power of the individual gesture, even a yearning towards the sublime: something inexpressible, beyond the limited range of language. No accident, therefore, that Guijarro chooses the study of quantum mechanics as his subject – the study of the physics of the microscopically small, whose very formulae are expressed in abstract terms.
That these are photographs, though, brings additional meanings into play. Each image records the physical traces of a mental movement, the speed, repetition and emphasis of individual strokes suggesting a particular train of thought or area of questioning. Yet each blackboard is a token of something lost; every photograph records something subsequently erased or smudged into nothing, acting like the mind itself when attempting to absorb the complex, the inexpressible.
Alejandro Guijarro graduated in 2010 with an MFA in Photography from Royal College of Art, London. His work is held in collections including Sammlung Goetz, The Davis Museum, The Frank Suss Collection. Recent exhibitions include Remnants at Galerie Huit in Hong Kong, LEAD at Tristan Hoare Gallery, London and this work was exhibited in Momentum at the Tristan Hoare Gallery and New Order: British Art Today by Saatchi Gallery in 2014.
Please note, on 5 December 2018 the image and title of this work were updated.