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Juan Valbuena. Where Maps are Folded

Sandra Maunac

Dirección General de Promoción Cultural. Consejería de Cultura y Turismo de la Comunidad de Madrid.
Comunidad de Madrid - Sala Canal de Isabel II — Calle Santa Engracia, 125, 28003, Madrid  

  • Mar-sáb / Tue-Sat:
    11.00 - 20.30 h
    Dom y fest / Sun and Hol: 11.00 h - 14.00 h

Entrada libre / Free admission
METRO: Ríos Rosas | Alonso Cano. BICIMAD: Station 129

Juan Valbuena is an essential element in understanding the photography of his generation. A theoretical physicist by training, early on he decided to embark on the journey of photography. A member of the Nophoto collective and founder of the Phree publishing house, Valbuena commands the figure of the photographer as witness, star, catalyst, editor and storyteller, and he expresses it via the boldest, most non-commercial documentary photography.


His pictures have to do with travel, territory and memory and how they all relate to human beings. His photographic oeuvre is fed by other disciplines like publishing, video and literature, which he uses to make his projects reach the widest audience possible. He seeks open stories in which the spectator can participate in the scene. It is extraordinarily important to him to create works which have no expiration date, which endure over time. He seeks to talk about what no one talks about, to see what no one sees and to feel what no one feels; he wants what he has to say to arrive directly, without confusion.


Where Maps are Folded is a survey of five of his projects that reveals how he has evolved, from his Noray series (1999-2012) to Dalind (2013-2019), his latest work which has not yet been released. What underlies all his projects is the intention to reveal stories that are invisible, concealed or difficult to photograph, yet always with the aim of sharing them more than just seeing them. Valbuena’s pictures are images that one must go back to time and again, and they end up becoming a story. The relationship he weaves among them is what makes them meaningful. He creates his photography to be experienced, without ever ceasing to question himself. This honest way of working yields more questions than answers, a hallmark of Juan Valbuena.


In addition to his personal output, Valbuena has also undertaken projects for public and private entities like AECID, Amnesty International, Casa Árabe, Fundación La Caixa, Instituto Cervantes, La Casa Encendida and Fundación Telefónica, among others.
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