Illa, The Burial of Memory

In a book served by a bold design, Salva Lopez describes in metaphors the vain burial of memory as wounds heal but remain.

SalvaLopez_DSC06896.jpg#asset:833© Salva Lopez, from the series Illa

Salva Lopez’s book offers a series of surprises as its content eludes a superficial look thanks to a well-thought design. This starts with the cover – a uniformly black page with abstract and organic patterns overprinted in the same color. Once the viewer flips through the pages, half of them are folded, thus keeping from sight color photographs of a woman that can only be guessed as light pierces the thin fibers of paper.

To cut the pages or keep them sealed is up to the reader. “To open them is not the idea, though everyone does what they want in the end. I am very interested in the effect of appearance and disappearance”, Lopez explains. And this, because the pages conceal his memories – that of his girlfriend with whom he visited islands all around the world before she left him. “That was when I decided to travel to Lanzarote. I wanted to go to an island, but one that was different than the ones we had visited together – one that was dryer, ‘lifeless’”, he remembers.

SalvaLopez_DSC07336.jpg#asset:835© Salva Lopez, from the series Illa

Within the barren landscapes of the island, he buried his pain and memories, time easing his wound. A sense of paradox floats throughout the pages, with an atmosphere as peaceful and sacred as the black and white photos of volcanoes surrounding the blinded pages. The black, dead-like, slopes of these giants that are among the most fertile grounds translate the circular aspect of life and emotions. “The last photo of a volcano, with white spots and a broken glass, represents that. The white dots are lichen, which is the first form of life that appears after a volcanic destruction. I like the idea that destruction is sometimes necessary for life to start again”, he explains.

The blinded pages follow the discontinuous waves of memories, sometimes blank, sometimes crowded, and ultimately open. “The hidden pages start with a wound, and the woman is slowly becoming more distant throughout the pages. At some point there is a spread with many pictures, which represents the saturation of memories that I experienced at that time."

SalvaLopez_DSC07136.jpg#asset:834© Salva Lopez, from the series Illa

Feelings might just be like the sea, constantly washing the bits that it had previously carried back from another place and time. The last memory photograph is left open, revealing a scar, a healed wound, as well as a slightly corrupted tattoo borrowed from The Little Prince that seems to have been erased by time and action too. “The waves at the end of the book are a kind of metaphor for the fact that we're only passing, and that things come and go and we thus have no idea what will happen in the future”, he concludes. 

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