27 April 2017

A Horse Called Existence

27 April 2017 - Written by IC Visual Lab

Brenda Moreno’s first photobook, B to B is a reflection upon memory, the passage of time, and the experiences that shape our identity. 

© Brenda Moreno, from the book, B to B

Human relationships or interactions with horses have varied throughout history depending on human needs, but it is horses' ability to carry a human individual that has had perhaps the greatest impact on our relationship with them. Our language is loaded with sayings that reflect our deep connection to this animal, probably because they have functioned as a catalyst shaping the course of our history in the same way that fire, the wheel, or religion have. The horse has occupied a powerful place in the emotional, spiritual, and daily lives of human beings.

Although the industrialised world has largely dispensed with horses for daily work and transport, our history and culture are more bound to the horse than to any other animal. From the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great and the terracotta figurines of Xi'an in eastern China, to the pastoral scenes of Constable and Gainsborough, the horse has been an inspiration for great art. Horses have also been a reference for some photographers such as Cristobal Hara in The Trojan Horse published by Ediciones Anomalas or Charlotte Dumas in The Widest Prairies published by Oodee.

© Brenda Moreno, from the book, B to B

One of the latest artists who investigated the complexities of the human condition through the eyes of a horse is Brenda Moreno, a Mexican visual artist who moved to Madrid to study an International Master's Degree in Documentary Photography at EFTI. She is the author of B to B, a book recently co-published by Witi Kiwi and Cuadernos de la Kursala.

The cover is designed to show an ID photograph misplaced in its frame. At the same time, the frame is also misplaced in another frame. This, alongside the use of solid red as the main design colour, suggests the book is an emotional attempt to represent one’s identity. Once open, the end papers reveal a constellation of ID Photographs where we can see Brenda at different stages in her life. There is a sense of time that we need to be aware of. B to B encapsulates a collection of images that portray Brenda’s beloved people and the environment where her family life takes place.

© Brenda Moreno, from the book, B to B

There are horses throughout the book that we can look at but also horses that are staring at us, creating the necessary tension to question their role in the narrative. The book is carefully edited and sequenced. As John Jeremiah Sullivan said: “A person today who knows horses, really knows them, understands more about what it meant in the past to be human than the most knowledgeable historian.” In this case, Brenda constructs her own Trojan horse to assault the deepest meaning of her existence, the place where life and death are interrogated, where the thoughts stitched for years suddenly tear apart, where the freedom to re-arrange images in collages is the only escape to the cruelty of memory.

B to B is a book full of images that trigger emotions in the reader, like the horse harnessed to a hansom cab that Nietzsche once threw his arms around in Turin.


B to B by Brenda Moreno

ISBN 9788894188226 // Witty Kiwi & Cuaderno de la Kursala nº 58, 2017 // Design by Paolo Berra // Pre-press by La Troupe // Text by Carmen Dalmau // Softcover 88 pages17 x 21.5 cm // Edition of 900 copies.



Alejandro Acin is the director of IC-Visual Lab, an organisation based in Bristol (UK) that aims to promote and produce contemporary photography through a series of events and commissioned projects. IC-Visual Lab organises Photobook Bristol, an international festival for photobooks. He also works as a designer and editor at ICVL Studio.

Written by

IC Visual Lab

Reading time

4 minutes

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