Metrovia by Krass Clement is a book about Buenos Aires, but not in the usual sense of a book about the whole city with its architecture and famous squares. Rather, it is a description of the feeling aroused by a place, which is reflected in the book in an alternation between the immediately registered and the subjective interpretation. Understood in this way, what is seen is reversed and edited in the course of the book, so that it gradually dissolves the concrete to take on a more abstract form that encapsulates the atmosphere. Of course, we get a sense of the physical character of the city, but mostly the atmosphere is maintained through a repeated return to the city’s subway, Metrovia, with all that it offers of human diversity. There is a wide alternation of recurring themes, including the Museum of Natural History, which on a concrete level is an expression of objective scientificity, but which in the book gradually takes on an unreal and fluid meaning.
The city has an immediate recognisability through its strong European flavor, which calls for a recognition that nevertheless remains a strangeness. It is precisely in the imperceptible conflict between what seems familiar on the one hand and a distant and foreign continent on the other that the book unfolds.
We can immediately find ourselves, but in a society subjected to insidious but violent pressures that permeate the atmosphere like an undertone. After all, we remain strangers to the anonymous crowd.
On the subway, in tango restaurants, at a closed carousel – places that evoke an old Europe, the experience of something static, of something that is no more, yet a modern metropolis with a myriad of displacements, arises.
About the Author
Born in Copenhagen in 1946, Krass Clement is an autodidact photographer.
Graduated as a film director from the Danish Film School in 1973, though continued with photography when it became evident that his future was not to be in film.
A photographer since his early youth, Krass published his first book, Skygger af Øjeblikke (Shadows of Moments) in 1978. His photographic work emerges from two traditions: The Scandinavian melancholy on the one hand and the ‘flaneur’ tradition from the Parisian school on the other.
Starting out in black and white, Krass has persisted in developing and modernizing his artistic expression so that his production today also includes work in color.
His work originates from a fertile and imaginative thought process, a stream of consciousness that is clearly evident in his later books.
In his photography, Krass is more concerned with capturing a state of mind than with situations. They are fewer documentary depictions than subjective moods somewhere between spectator and reality. Insisting on artistic integrity, Krass Clement has created a strong personal body of work with the photobook as his favorite medium.