It takes a clever mind and great skills to deceive people’s eye. Chema Madoz uses photography to create optical illusions. Whatever that is shown, is unlike the reality of objects. At times, one thinks, “that’s not possible!” Madoz’s photographic subjects are perfectly balanced and interestingly composed to make a visual illusion. He takes at the minimum two objects unrelated to each other yet when they are kept together in Madoz’s way, they entirely and surprisingly blend as one. Often the objects are placed in visually unpredicted settings but they coincide creating new meaning altogether.
A photographer from Spain, born in 1958, Chema Madoz is recognized for his monochrome surrealist images. From 1980 to 1983, Madoz attended Universidad Complutense de Madrid to study the history of art. During this time, he discovered the wonders of photography through his classes at the Image Teaching Center. From Madrid’s Fine Arts Academy, he studied from the photography workshops as well.
Madoz uses the Hasselbald, a medium format camera made in Sweden. Chema Madoz: Objetos (1990 to 1999) was most likely entirely made using this version of the camera. In addition to this, he previously used Mamiya‘s camera.
Madoz’s first solo exposition took place in 1983 at Madrid’s Royal Photographic Society. Then onwards he has received some important awards, such as Kodak Spain Prize, 1991; Higasikawa Overseas Photographer, 2000; PhotoEspaña Award, 2000; and National Photography Award, 2000 as well. His work has been internationally exhibited\ in galleries and museums, like Museo de Bellas Artes de Buenos Aires; Japan’s Museo Marugame; Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia; Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts and many more. In addition to this, in 2011 the Prince and Princess of Spain along with Cecilla Morel exhibited the work by Madoz in Chile’s Museo de Arte Contemporáneo.
His work expresses endless imagination a human being can have and it is mastered with a minimalist approach. There is humor and pun in his work using dissimilar objects integrating seamlessly. A photographer’s imagination is his greatest tool with which he can dream without limitations, raise questions against the character of objects. Madoz’s idea evolves into a philosophy of interpreting and redefining concepts in the most laconic way to produce high quality work. Madoz’s work signifies metaphors, symbols and dual meanings.
Chema Madoz has been taking pictures of objects beyond 20 years of his professional life. In this time he has developed a sharp skill to use common objects and craft them into a visual poem. He makes his objects or creates compositions only for the purpose of photography; he does not display them directly in an exhibition. The essence of his work lies not in what people see but what people don’t see – his work requires the viewer’s participation in order to be complete. His work compels people to see and think and this is how Madoz’s photography becomes extraordinary – it forces people to engage intellectually. Madoz’s photographs created tensions between what people see and what their brain deciphers. His photographs are untitled which in itself is a paradox.
Some of his most known photographs include a shoe with its lace made of hair; a matchstick on textured wood; a cloud appearing to be trapped in a cage; a spoon’s shadow being a fork; a toffee with an eye; and many more photographs that are untitled and sound unusually interesting to explain.