And the Earth will be Paradise


Wood, Photo series.

Y la tierra será el paraíso (And the Earth will be Paradise), title of this solo show, is a verse of the most popular L’Internationale Spanish version, the working class anthem, adopted by most of socialist, communist and anarchist political groups worldwide. The phrasing perfectly sums up the utopian character of modernity, an era in which the society believed that all good things were at hand.

And the Earth will be Paradise (2018) the most recent project of Domènec, consisting of a photographic series and wooden models that, stacked on top of each other, make up a sort of tower with sculptural appearance. These models represent the gigantic social housing projects of La Mina, a neighbourhood located in the limits of Barcelona, constructed at the end of the sixties to relocate the population coming from different shanty towns. Two archival photographs are shown next to the sculpture; one, from 1970, shows the dictator Franco and the mayor of Barcelona posing next to the model of La Mina neighbourhood project. Another one, shows a couple of gypsy women, relocated in this same neighbourhood, holding the model of their shack at Camp de la Bota, built by themselves with cardboard. Once again, we see the image of power presenting itself as the leader of the population through large construction campaigns, in front of the image of the most disadvantaged classes of society, which take over the urban space making use of all the resources they find at their reach.

The project is completed with a photographic series showing polygons of large social housing buildings. Domènec, who has taken these snapshots in cities far from each other such as Barcelona, Warsaw, Bratislava, Marseille, Nantes, Empuriabrava and Mexico City, shows the images without indicating their origins. In this way, he highlights the way in the existence and aesthetics of these buildings, located all in big cities’ peripheries, as a sign of harmful globalization and state control that relegates the marginalized of capitalism to the margins of the city, limiting their social mobility.

Once again, Domènec`s work seems to reveal the hidden face of Modern architecture, whose results were contrary to the objectives that were promulgated. If modernity, with its characteristic tendency to formulate promises of progress, of a better tomorrow for all, projecting through architecture a universal model of welfare for the working class, these images show the clash of those ideals with reality: neighbourhoods where the poorest social classes are forced to live in precarious conditions, segregated from social, cultural and economic centres. Working class, immigrants coming largely from the former colonies, and gypsy groups, are no longer treated as individuals from the moment they joined a kind of hive-building, becoming a mass, in otherness, feared and ignored by the rest of population with better working and economic conditions. (Rosa A. Cruz, fragment)

Collaborator: Angel Escalera

Photos: Roberto Ruiz, courtesy of ADN Gallery, Barcelona