Exhibition in the House of the Reader. Madrid. Kapuściński, and the dazzling of a west
Kapuściński, and the dazzling of a west
“Out the twilight was falling down, but nobody lit the light”
The west of an empire is the name of the exhibition of photos of the Polish writer Ryszard Kapuściński. A dazzled west. An empire that came so highly, that later fell down only. But it fell down before our eyes, let's have the age that we have: we saw it falling down. For that we have lived either through any world war, nor May, 68, nor the arrival of the man to the moon, nor the Transition, nor most of the milestones of the XXth century, the fall of the Wall and, in this symbolic parallelism, the fall of the foundations of the Soviet Union, they constitute few tests with which we try to stick to the idea of that our eyes were also witnesses of a heroic century. Full of heroes and villains.
And between these heroes there are those men who painted the portrait of its moments. And that managed with its valor to be present, and to do presents to us, passive automatons that we pass for shores of the same river. Ryszard Kapuściński. One of them. One of these heroes of the XXth century.
Out the twilight was falling down, but nobody lit the light. Mario Muchnik wrote that painting the portrait of Canetti. But well Kapuściński might have written it here also: in the middle of the Red Square of Moscow in 1989. It is dazzling to have found a west slipping of the last bundles of a moribund light, which was fighting to reflect the debris of a grand twinkle.
Still this last summer it was me who listened herself, from full Red Square, how a Muscovite countryman was praising the freedom of the communism: that one that, according to him, allows to go to see a Lenin's mummy free. I supposed at once that the same freedom was not allowing to go to visit so many other mummies of so many other persons in any cemetery, not of Russia, but of the world. That made me feel that, living between debris, a false nobility sensation is had. That's why a simple paving well asphalting can look like a test of tidiness and wealth. Whenever you do not look further, beyond your walls of the Kremlin. Not to see beyond the paving and the proper debris, walls were constructed. Walls in which paradise hides.
Paradise populated by the people that, even despite the poverty, brave struggle for the freedom. And not a contemporary freedom, but a full freedom, which emerges of a brutal and silenced oppression, which is born of the absence of bread and of wine, and which has so much force that snatches from the spectator its own identity. Black and white. To manage to freeze this tremendous force across two decades of time is a work of one of the best writers who have existed. And if this writer, in addition to a pen, has a photos camera, its aptitude to make an empire hesitate is unimaginable.
Kapuściński was a witness of a northern winter that lasted years: "I covered more than 60.000 kilometers crossing the USSR, from Brest (Belorussia) to Magadán (Russia). I visited all the republics of the USSR. I lived through very raw winters and warm summers, through conditions in which the mere survival was representing a problem». But what more ennoblece the exhibition is that all this lives through it painting the portrait precisely of those heroes who, like him, had no name. Its humble witnesses. The people who never had a statue, although perhaps it was deserved more than any other. A mother claiming the corpse of its son. A father fighting for the bread of its family. The eyes of a child of Azerbaijan, foreign to the comprehension of the facts. The anonymous persons, the poor faces, direct witnesses, real fighters of the freedom. And Kapuściński between them, with its camera. To doubt the truth, of that talks each other.
The exhibition of photos appears in the House of the Reader, in the cultural center of the Slaughterhouse of Madrid. Until June 2. Very advisable. The photo sometimes avoids an unnecessary negligence. And he makes to doubt a false truth, which they have told us, if we can live through it.
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