“mites i màscares” by román yñán

the time of the myth is a tangential and polyphonic time. it is tangential because it appears in the margins of the present, with which it cohabits, but always as a puncture in the distance, as a distant possibility that touches the reality in a single point, this fragile point where the real and the unreal caress and come into conflict, and where it is easier to lose than to find oneself. this coexistence has nothing to do with the sinuosities of the imagination; as we have learned from the modal logicians, from arthur n. prior to kit fine, it is not that reality and myth are separate regions, but that they are both rooted in the deep waters of common sense. on the other hand, the myth is polyphonic because it comes from a plurality of voices, because it is constructed through the anecdote and the different versions of the same story within a community.


in both albert serra’s and yñán’s works (sant adrià de besòs, 1976), the community works as a source and substrate for a mythical imaginary that constantly produces, reproduces and self-manages its stories and images. a good example is the yñán’s self & sound series, which is part of a much larger cycle of photographs dedicated exclusively to her family life (an open and ongoing photographic diary, very similar, in fact, to the cycle of mites i màscares). in this series, yñán, in an act of conversion of the family roles that is, at the same time, a visual subversion, gives the camera to his son tomàs to depict the family on a daily basis. self & son is a project that cannot be understood without its setback, this is happening “a note block” according to the author, “where the line separating the father from the photographer/artist fades and photography becomes a game”.

likewise, role sharing is a common practice during andergraun films’ shoots, where an art assistant can unexpectedly become an actor, or the executive producer (montse triola) while acting, generates new situations in the film through comments between scenes, while eating or wearing her wig.

for serra, the scenario is a cosa mentale and an environment, a collective comparison and a series of emotional coordinates that at one point can be used to locate the action, but which mustn’t constrain it. the photos of roman yñán capture very well these atmospheres, which change with each project – the atmospheres change, but the legends of the community remain: lluís carbó can as well interpret the role of don quixote than that of a wise man, and lluís serrat embodies in each film a new character: sancho (honor de cavalleria), the servant pompeu (història de la meva mort), rainer werner fassbinder (els tres porquets), armin (liberté), etc.


mites i màscares is also a journey through these atmospheres, from the open skies and the solar joy of honor de cavalleria to the compromises of the nocturnal desire of liberté. roman yñán contrasts the frames of branches, leaves and trunks of the eucalyptus forest where the last film was shot with the portraits of the actors and actresses – an opposition that places on the same ontological level the vegetative life of trees and the erotic, mechanical impulses of the libertines. the nature, human and not human, is neither cruel nor savage; it simply is, it grows, it spreads or it expires like a dry bush. both in yñán and serra’s work, very often, the natural elements operate as a corollary of the characters, enlarging or nuancing the psychological qualities.


román yñán, a regular collaborator of albert serra’s films, has documented much of the filmmaker’s world and his photographic work serves as a link between the radical cinema of the filmmaker and the most free and direct photography. the series mites i màscares unfolds a chronological arch that starts in 2004 with the shooting of honor de cavalleria in the surroundings of sant climent sescebes and in other places of the alt empordà (unveiled two years later at the quinzaine des réalisateurs of cannes) and closed with liberté’s shooting in southern portugal in september 2018 (recently released in the section un certain regard  in cannes, where it won the jury’s special prize).

the exhibition is divided into four photographic groups, each corresponding to a different film: honor of cavalleria (2006), el cant dels ocells (2008), història de la meva mort (2013) and liberté (2019). the color, the textures and the photographic treatment of each group try to immerse us in the particular sensation of present of the shoots: the luminous asceticism of el cant dels ocells, the chaotic exuberance of història de la meva mort… with this photographic cycle, yñán approaches us to an experience that albert serra has always defended as incommunicable. and román yñán was there.


gabriel ventura


6th to 31st july 2019