"El canto del búho", by Leo Kulisevsky
How can we use images to talk about the Spanish Civil War? This was my starting point for what became a publication titled El canto del búho (The owl’s call), in which I tried to draw the reader into an experience inspired in part by George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia – in which the author describes his time in Barcelona during the 1937 revolution and the months he spent on the Aragonese front of the Civil War – and in part by the photographs of Jaume Serra, which show some of the places that appear in the book as well as other locations associated with the guerrilla resistance known as maquis.
Looking through the publication, the reader enters a story that emerges from scenes denoting the pain of life as absence, grief, the smell of death, the sounds of the remains that are forgotten, the air and light that filter between them like remnants of memory.
The text and images unite past and present, wrapped in an aura of decaying melancholy, enhanced by the black and white of the photographs. Together with the book is the box that holds it, lined with a topographic map of the Aragonese Pyrenees, where the largest number of Maquis entered from France.
I also believed it necessary to recover an idea that is seldom considered by our generation, much like the Spanish Civil War itself. For this reason I made a series of posters intended to cause the viewer to reflect on the forgetting of that war and the need, still with us, to pass through a period of mourning that was denied us. In our hurry to turn the page of history, we have become ignorant, with all the danger that implies. The danger of history repeating itself.