Gerardo Vizmanos: Searching for Utopia
‘Searching for Utopia’ by Gerardo Vizmanos (b. 1975, Spain) arises from an understanding that utopia itself might not exist yet we can still imagine that another reality from the currently perceived one might be possible. This curiosity resulted in images that hint at the dreams, desires, and imagined realities that, to his understanding, form the foundation of any utopian subject. In that pursuit, Vizmanos in essence holds a mirror up to himself – with his photographs forming reflections of a subjective visual narrative that is inextricably tied to the author’s own distant, hazy visions of utopia.
His photographs portray movements and contortions of the body that feel universal in their familiarity, albeit finding their source in the author’s own preferences and inclinations. The title takes its inspiration from ‘Searching for Tadzio’, a documentary detailing film director Visconti’s journey casting the role of Tadzio in an adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novel ‘Death in Venice’. Tadzio is a character with a happened-upon angelic youth and the source of the protagonist’s obsessions, as observed from afar.
Indeed, there is something of that obsession to be seen in the contours of the many bodies Vizmanos photographs. This continued study (and reverence) of the male body is in line with the trajectory of his previous projects. Yet, under the spectre of the current global pandemic, the images take on a different aspect, as social paradigms shift away from physicality and toward new forms of intimacy within the digital world. Communicating ideas of intimacy — the good, old fashioned kind that takes place without screens — is crucial for Gizmanos, as well as a requisite in the creative process that precedes the photographic act.
It is in those moments of acquaintance between the photographer and his subject that the environment of intimacy is formed – within the hollow of a neck seen from a specific angle, or in the chance perfection found in the silhouette of two unrestrained, entwined bodies – counterbalancing the sterility as incorporated within the technical aspects of photography. Vizmanos’ photographs thus celebrate a sense of nearing utopia, a glimpse of it, within short-lived movements of intimacy.
Searching for Utopia has been compiled into a publication, and is available on Gerardo Vizmanos’ website.