Roger Grasas (Barcelona 1970) has a Degree in Photography [EFFPC] and Bachelor in Philosophy [UB]. Regular contributor to spanish (El País, La Vanguardia etc) and international publications (Wired, NatGeo). His body of work approaches the role and importance that technology reveals within the post-modern digital society and the state of confusion that human being suffers in the contemporary landscape. Sociopolitical issues such as globalization and philosophical concepts such as the ‘difference’, ‘hyperreality’ and ‘alienation’ generated by the post-capitalist societies are also common places of his series. His projects have been exhibited in Spain, France, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, USA, Mexico and UAE. His latest works ‘Atenea’ and ‘Min Turab’ have been published worldwide by RM publisher. Awarded in 2018 with Photoespaña Descubrimientos and Head-On Sidney festival Landscape award among other prizes.
In the last decades, the landscapes of the Arab Gulf region have undergone a mutation driven by increased income from the oil, globalization and mass tourism. These countries have seen a huge transformation, moving from the nomadic, traditional and austere lifestyle of the desert bedouins to a postmodern, urban and consumerist society.
‘Min Turab’, that takes its title from an arabic expression meaning “what comes down from the earth”, is a visual investigation about how the oil -a natural resource that takes millions of years to be formed under the earth- is capable of transform in an accelerated way the landscape that is on top of the terrestrial surface once it is extracted by man.
Founded on the idea of travel as an artistic method, these photographs hold up a mirror to the dyad of nature and technology in a place where the old and the new come together and the lines between them blur. This tension is evident both in the vast desert landscapes and in the images of cities, where the past and the future are compressed into the close quarters of the present. These representations of the landscapes of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Qatar throw into sharp relief the binary opposition of the natural and the constructed. This sense of dislocation feeds into this idea of travel as an artistic dérive, the author drifting with no particular destination in mind, in search of new situations and experiences.
In these dreamlike images, Grasas reflects on the concepts of the real and the unreal, with viewers left uncertain as to what is really going on. Almost completely lacking in human presence, these photographs show the mark left upon the landscape by consumer society at the same time as they seek out the beauty in strangeness. With a dry wit, the artist focuses his gaze on the idea of the simulacrum. The visual and conceptual glimpses of this world documents the colonization of contemporary landscapes by technology and the alienation of human beings in the digital societies of the Arabian Gulf countries. These images of silent architecture do not offer viewers any conclusions, but rather invite them to reflect and leave the way clear for a multiplicity of interpretations that connect with viewers’ own imaginary.
To view more of Roger Grasa’s work please visit his website.