José Manuel ForsObjetos, 2007
Gelatin silver print, 110 x 180 cm.
A Story in Every Corner
Every object carries a story of life with it; transcendence not only lies in the human tale, artifacts go through an evolutionary process too, they also wear out, they are revitalized, they are perfected, they die… José Manuel Fors is a compulsive collector, a chronicler of objects, a tireless investigator. The most graceful space for him would be a curiosity office or an antique shop where every device, with its stains and sufferings, contains a tale, a mark of time.
Long years of work, starting in a date near the decade of the eighties of the last century, have served him to compile every story he has found at every turn and to give it a new meaning, or even better, to reconstruct its existence. And to make possible for these stories to chase immortality, he has chosen to take pictures of every object or to groups of them and make up a visual memory, so he highlights their individualities and at the same time they reaffirm their membership to a community of things. Thus, horseshoes, conches, dolls, pieces of cutlery, keys and doorknockers merge in an image, an archive saved for the future that keeps stories and lives that were imperceptible until then.
With no intentions of naming his artworks, and in order to avoid the break of the symbols involved in every one of them, Fors prefers to title his artworks according to their traditional conceptualization. Objetos (Objects), which was made in 2007, is perhaps one of his most eloquent creations in this respect. Nothing invades the metaphor suggested, none of the artifacts is more important than the others, all of them coexist in the same space, and they all have leading roles in the tale.
Accumulation becomes essential means for the artist, who considers it an allegory of the passing of time, of the buried memory. In addition to that, the technique he uses – gelatin silver–, in its different variants, gives the surface sepia and grayish tones, very in the mood of the spirit of the artwork. Due to his impeccable procedure and to the innovation in the strategies of his discourse, José Manuel Fors has being set up as one of the paradigmatic artists of Cuban contemporary art, who deserved the Visual Arts National Award in this year 2016.
Despite his successful foray in installation, his photographs have reached an unbeatable artistic quality, which has caused that he is considered forever an artist of the lens. In his objects, whether they are documented or in their original state, in the textures he recreates and in the sometimes imperceptible matter, there lies the richness of his oeuvre, a project beyond taxonomies or categorizations.