By Fosi Vegue
An inner courtyard faces a row of rooms where prostitutes take their clients. The photographer witnesses what should remain unseen. Issues such as prostitution only become problematic when the system, or a society at the service of that system, deem them to be so. Nor would they exist in the absence of a legal framework that lays down the limits of what can and cannot be seen in public. In this context, sex becomes a control mechanism.
While most cameras today strive to erase any trace of digital noise, here it is exploited to the maximum effect. The exaggerated sensitivity used to cut out the subject also blurs and alters the message. This overpowering noise is our own subconscious, the mental sphere where sex operates as a catalyst for our instinct, our desire and our contradictions.
Joan Fontcuberta on XY XX
In 1942, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window glorified our fascination with peeping through the neighbours' windows. Over half a century later, our beloved junk TV has accustomed us to the basic idea behind the reality show: to make a spectacle of ALL the details of our lives and those of others, pushing us to take part in a visual orgy in which absolutely EVERYTHING is on show.
Fosi Vegue observes the events unfolding through the windows of a common courtyard: rooms used by prostitutes and their clients, summer nights, blinds up to let in the breeze... XY XX is a startling update of Merry Alpern's Dirty Windows, highlighting the exent to which post-photography blends snooping, spying and surveillance. In a challenge to desacralised ethics and prudish legislation, the picture is stolen, privacy is invaded. Throwing off the bonds that govern the legitimacy of the visible, in a kind of exacerbated voyeurism, Vegue embarks on a stark exploration of "sex as the catalyst of our instincts, our desires and our contradictions... Sex as a control system". Passion and pleasure trigger a fusion of flesh, heat and emotions, that in XY XX is also linked to a certain code - the code of digital photography, ever-present in the attendant "noise". Pixellation and blurring hint at the inaccuracy of the webcam and the innocence of the amateur, factors which when taken as rhetorical are read as the naked truth, in real time.