Graffiti is an urban movement that emerged in the 1970s in New York, in the United States. IN those years young people went into the street to write their names on the city, in ways that improved at every step, with the goal of demonstrating their existence in a world that denied their presence through economic and social mechanisms. In this way graffiti could be understood as an exercise in the exaltation of the ego, similar to what we constantly see in our day with social media and the canons of modern advertising.
Xoubanova’s aim with this project is to describe graffiti as a metaphor for the competition of the self, whether on an individual or collective level, or in reference to enterprises or anonymous individuals. It seeks to manage the city’s visual and sonorous perturbations, as unleashed by the continuous struggle for self-affirmation of others.
In 1930, photographer Brassaï developed a project with this very title, ‘Graffiti’. Brassaï delved into the unconscious part of a specific historical period, drawing it out and making it visible by means of what he saw in its streets and on its walls. Xoubanova works in a similar manner, only to later add on the superficial, aesthetic part that overrides everything that truly belongs to the essence of being human.
Antonio Xoubanova studied photography in art school No. 10 in Madrid. When he finished, in 2003 he set up the collective Blank Paper together with other photographers with whom he shared interests and concerns. From 2012 to 2016 he was the tutor of the Masters in Photography and project development at Blank Paper Escuela, besides giving workshops at other educational institutions such as IED, CFC, Observatori and Efti, while doing pedagogical projects like CASA.
He received various scholarships for his projects, including a FotoPres’07 grant from the ‘La Caixa’ Foundation, a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Culture to advance his work in the College of Spain, Paris, and a prize at the Documentary Photography contest at ARCO’05. He was nominated for the National Media Museum First Book Award and the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award.
From 2005 on he began to regularly publish in media like The International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, DAZED, PDN, American Suburbx, BJP, IMA, El Semanal, Yo Dona, El País and El Mundo, where he worked from 2006 to 2013.
In 2013, he published his book “Casa de Campo” with the English publishing house MACK, while in 2015 he published “Un universo pequeño” [A Small Universe] with Catalan publisher Ca l’Isidret and the Japanese publisher RONDADE. He has shown in various national and international centres, like IMA Concept Store, Tokyo, Japan; the Brachfeld Gallery and Le Bal in Paris; CentroCentro, Madrid; Fotocolectania in Barcelona; and Bilbao’s Centro de Fotografía Contemporánea. He has participated in prestigious festivals like the Rencontres d’Arles or the Reaperture Festival, in Ferrara. In 2018, he began to design book projects such as “Los vivos” [You the Living], by David Hornillos, and A Swimming Pool, by Michele Tagliaferri, besides participating in the production of the video “El ojo del pintor” [The Painter’s Eye], produced together with Oscar Monzón for the exhibition of the work of Ricardo Cases “Estudio elemental del Levante” [Basic Study of the Levant], in the Canal de Isabel II exhibition space, Madrid.