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Concept, photography and text:
Rob van Hoesel
Jos Morree (Fine Books)
Print and binding:
Wilco Art Books (NL)
A Certain Logic of Expectations proposes a counter-narrative of the British city of Oxford that resists the visual imperatives of its ancient university. For the past five years, Mexican photographer Arturo Soto (MX) explored the longstanding division between town and gown through a careful selection of spaces and objects. His visual narrative is loosely structured around the following thematic strands: notions of home and homelessness, the looming presence of Brexit, the conflicted local economy, and the diversity of the city’s neighbourhoods. In short texts Soto describes his experience of the city and his fascination with its history and myths. The work challenges an easy judgment on Oxford and its established narratives of tradition, influence, and power. In his photography as well as his written observations, Soto proves that his pen is as sharp as his eye.
Arturo Soto is a Mexican photographer and writer interested in exploring the relationship between landscape and state of mind through sequences of images that capture the social values located in the urban environment but that also reflect his thoughts and desires. His artistic practice owes a great deal to the work of the French writer Georges Perec, whose fragmentary and often absurd projects offer a methodology for the study of the infraordinary, the term he coined to describe the nothingness that comprises the bulk of our lives. Perec highlighted the complexity of micro-events and banal spaces, exposing the partiality and selectivity of our attention and making us question why we grant significance to certain things while overlooking others. Perec’s writings provide a fitting analogy for documentary images, which give a realistic impression of the world while also connoting an authorial vision. Soto holds a PhD in Fine Art from the University of Oxford, an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and an MA in Art History from University College London.
“Whatever its art or literary label, Soto’s book is a real delight to explore. The reader will feel transported to the city of Oxford by a very knowledgeable guide, who will make sure no stone is left unturned, no story untold and no institution wounded by the expectations it can no longer hold.” (Paula Gortázar)