Fervor da Metrópole by José Manuel Ballester

Fervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel Ballester
Fervor da Metrópole by José Manuel Ballester
Texts by Juan Manuel Bonet [Sao Paulo] Brazil
metalocus, JOSÉ JUAN BARBA
Fervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel Ballester
Fervor da Metropolis, a trip to the contemporary metropolis by José Manuel Ballester and Juan Manuel Bonet. We are facing a book with a double appeal which allows us to rediscover Sao Paulo with the images of José Manuel Ballesteros and the text of Juan Manuel Bonet, being much more than a mere exposition of both narrations.
Ballester and Bonet made a joint trip to this great metropolis of the south, in 2007, a trip in which they established a speech of complicity, intellectual exchange, generous debate of points of view and looks when choosing shots. The book reflects the journey of two flâneur adrift through the streets of Sao Paulo, in search of their particular Nadja.

The text of Bonet is preceded by a brief text by Simonetta Persichetti, who is quickly accompanied by essential guests in her vision of the city as Walter Benjamin. I would add as well his contemporary Erich Mendelshon, of whom I always remember his impressive dialectical images on his trips to the American city, although it is true that in this second the present is moved to the future in a city with few past references, especially because of the youth of the city. In the case of Sao Paulo a century of Modernity allows us to look back. In any case, and as Bonet advances at the beginning of his text, Ballester's work is what in the 1920s called a city photo or urban symphony.

As it happened to Mendelshon, this book is the result of several trips, Bonet and Ballester, in which there is a rapprochement and finally a crush on the city of the south, a silent love, in which the city is represented quiet.
"The fervor is in its buildings, in its passages, in its geometric forms: a visual narrative not of Sao Paulo, but of the city Ballester understands to be Sao Paulo," says Simonetta Persichetti.

The text of Bonet narrates the construction of the trip he had to see the exhibition of José Manuel Ballester, which ended up being considered not as a retrospective of the previous work but as a fresher and recent vision to include the vision of the Madrilenian over the city of Sao Paulo . It was reflected in an exhibition in 2010 in the Pinacoteca do Estado, curated by Bonet and titled "Fervor da metrópole" (Fervor of the metropolis).

A trip which lasted a few days, exhaustively prepared, and that made a special review of the city's architecture in the twentieth century. This preparation generated a knowledge whcih served as a basis for the process of image capture, the result of which allowed Ballester to make a novel, different graphic contribution of a city so profusely photographed. Inspiration always has the flat ass.

Bonet's text is a delicious description of concomitant causes, encounters, memories, reunions and walks, talks with friends ... As he says, a "rotten pot" which also includes poems and allows us to understand the visual construction the Ballester images show in the book.
The text is also the narrative about an architectural, imaginary vision about the history of the Brazilian city, which is also partly shown by Ballester. From the impressive view of the Copan building at dusk to the park Ibirapuera, Niemeyer is a repeated protagonist. Also works by Burle Marx, Mina Klabin, Gregorio Warchavchik, Flávio de Carvalho, David Libeskind, constantly Le Corbusier, Paulo Mendes da Rocha and of course much mentioned Lina Bobardi ... with houses like Vila Mariana, apartments of workers, Avenida Paulista, The legendary Livraria Cultura, obviously also the Masp, the portico of the Prada do Patriarca or its store Forma, Estaçao da Luz and more Lina Bo Bardi in the cultural and social center Sesc Pompeya, park, houses, buildings and avenues in a litany almost Infinite and impressive, if one thinks that it is the narrative of the drifts of a week in the case of Bonet or of two in the case of the "photographer and painter" José Manuel Ballester.
After reading Bonet Ballester's images, and I can say without knowing the city directly that despite the drunkenness which during all these years has come to my eyes of images of that city, coming up to dream  I  have really visited, seeing the images of Ballester the city seems different, masterfully beautiful and new. An absolutely recommendable book.
Fervor da Metrópole.
José Manuel Ballester. Juan Manuel Bonet.
Dan Galeria
Por José Manuel Ballester
Por Juan Manuel Bonet
Number of pages
Portuguese, Spanish, English
Fervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel BallesterFervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel BallesterFervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel BallesterFervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel BallesterFervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel BallesterFervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel BallesterFervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel BallesterFervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel BallesterFervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel BallesterFervor da Metrópole. Photograph © José Manuel Ballester


José Manuel Ballester (Madrid, 1960) is a painter and a photographer. Degree in Fine Arts, 1984. Since then he has won various awards and scholarships. He has participated in a lot of exhibitions all over the world, including the international ARCO fair for the last ten years. His work forms part of the collection of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and it has been exhibited ...read more


José Juan Barba (1964) graduated from ETSA Madrid in 1991. Special Mention in the National Finishing University Education Awards 1991. PhD in Architecture ETSAM, 2004. He founded his professional practice in Madrid in 1992 (www.josejuanbarba.com), he is architecture critic and editor-in–chief of METALOCUS m...read more


Juan Manuel Bonet. (Paris, 1953) is a writer and a critic of art and literature and has been curator of exhibitions. Director of the Instituto Cervantes since January 27, 2017, he has directed the Instituto Cervantes in Paris between 2012 and 2017 and has previously been director of the IVAM (Valencian Institute of Modern Art) and the National Museum of Art Reina Sofía (Madrid). President of the Rafael Cansinos ...read more