Miguel Fernández-Cid 2004

Roland Fischer
In recent years, Roland Fischer (Munich, 1958) has maintained close ties with the city of Compostela. At the end of Sestember 2003 he presented the exhibition entitled Camino at the CGAC, which was the fruit of his journey from Pamplona and Jaca to Compostela, during which he visited the most important churches along the Way of St. James. This was in answer to an invitation to resume the initiative started in 1996, with his famous series called Cathedrals, where he took different shots of the interiors and exteriors of the churches and later blended the shapes into a single image. At first Fischer was fascinated with the large Gothic cathedrals, which provided him with diaphanous spaces and the structural support of a linear architectural backbone. When he set out on his own particular pilgrimage, he had just returned from photographing highly pictorial images of the temple of Cao Dai in Vietnam and the Collective Portraits in China. The outcome of his project was a collection of works with a wide spectrum of solutions – ranging from echoes
of Gothic geometry (Burgos, León) to the more expressive tone in the image of Santiago, including decidedly illustrative photographs (infused with the excitement of the Baroque in Jaca II and Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and a quality reminiscent of Bonnard in Lugo II), exploding with a metallic colour (the Gaudi series), traits typical of dense watercolours (Logroño, Pamplona), and surprising works in which a sculpture becomes the main subject (Lugo I).
Camino is completed with a collective portrait taken of 1,050 pilgrims in the middle of the Praza do Obradoiro. The imprint left on Fischer’s retina, however, was the memory of an ensemble of remarkable modern buildings wrapped up in a dialogue with the overwhelming presence of Baroque architecture. Fischer has now taken two buildings, designed by Álvaro Siza, as subjects – the CGAC building and the University School of Media Studies – and offers two very different views – the clean interplay of shapes of the exterior versus the more crowded appearance of the central image. His photographs carry on with the open lines through the more dynamic expression in Camino, as
can be seen in his photographs of the Centro Sociocultural of A Trisca (designed by John Hejduk, in collaboration with Antonio Sanmartín G. de Azcón and Elena Cánovas Méndez) or the Multiusos Fontes do Sar (by Josep María de Arenaza and Joaquín Pujol). Fischer is clearly seduced by the plastic image – the pictorial aspect -, as if he had removed fine layers of colour from the architecture and placed them on planes in which the material – in liquid form – spreads and blends together. Yet, he is fully aware that his action may be interpreted in the opposite way, and his photographs construed as a kind of sketch of utopian architecture.

Miguel Fernández-Cid

published in: Roland Fischer „Compostela“, CGAC Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea 2004

Miguel Fernández-Cid is a Spanish writer, critic and curator