Choques - PhMuseum

Choques

Diego Levy

2007 - 2009

Argentina

Levy’s Crashes

Patricia Gola

One possible way of evaluating the blows one suffers in one’s life might be to document each of the accidents that take place on a daily basis—some of them spectacular, some not, involving major or minor losses, injuries or mere scratches. On a day like any other, when one least expects it, the brakes fail, and the brand-new car, the taxicab, the truck, the bus or even the ambulance—meant to provide help in these cases—runs into some unavoidable hazard. Whether it is in a posh Buenos Aires neighborhood or at some random crossroads, on the main drag downtown or out in the middle of nowhere, in the black of night or in the bright glare of midday, an accident is waiting to happen.

After the physical impact, after the screams of pain and the bloody wounds or bruises, what we are dealing with here is also the simple observation of an event. If something grabs our attention while we flip through the pages of this book it is the utter lack of blood that we might expect to see at accidents. Employing a square format (as unchanging and systematic as the document he sets out to make), and although he shoots in color (a choice that undoubtedly clashes with the anonymous character of this type of record), Diego Levy performs an examination or “survey” of an event that upsets the daily sequence of our lives.

The author of Choques (Collisions) leaves us alone, completely alone, before the picture of an object that, de facto and by contagion, becomes twice as solitary and silent. Subsequent to the uncontrolled beating of the heart and the unstoppable gush of blood, there lies the lifeless, imperturbable heap of twisted metal. Levy shows us the world literally upside-down, reality subverted. A disorder imbues the precarious order of things.

Though his photographs are usually long shots, Diego Levy is also fond of fragments or details of the disaster: the creases resulting from the compression of the steel body of an upturned truck, a windshield smashed into a cobweb-like design. Or else, he represents the whole by its parts: a ripped-out seat left by the roadside, a rearview mirror abandoned in a vacant lot.

Levy allows his gaze to be seduced by lines and planes, sudden cuts and segmentations, low-angle shots of those enormous trucks that succumb to the gravity of their load, or simply to a momentary distraction. These huge incongruous piles of iron remain in place, whether standing, upturned or sideways, brightly colored or stained by rust, under skies either of a clear, impassive blue or crisscrossed by clouds like a hyperrealist painting. Fire also persists here, though controlled, still finding something to consume inside the rusted shell of a truck.

Choques (Crashes) is this book’s succinct title. Diego Levy’s other series of pictures is paradoxically and tellingly entitled Sangre (Blood). This seems worth contemplating. In Choques, Levy empties the image of its tragedy, eradicating the thick red liquid, though it might still be discerned through analogy. If we had to name this book’s two most pervasive colors, I believe they would be the clear, weightless blue of southern skies and the red, the intense red of blood. Tr. Richard Muszka

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