The very first time I looked at a wall with some concentration, my eyes were riveted on a very small portion of it. I was positioned about one foot away and that was all I could assimilate. Had I been placed ten feet away from the wall my perception of it would have been different, the difference between looking at it and looking into it. But I could not change my perspective -I was being punished, and had to stand one foot from the wall for an entire afternoon.
"Cara a la pared", face to the wall, was a common punishment for children. My crime had been to try and climb the wall and go back to a home that was no longer. I was seven years old and it was my first day in an orphanage in Franco´s Spain. The time spent looking at that one wall, at such a short distance became an outdoor solitary confinement, a degree of internal imprisonment. You could hear the other children playing behind you: free. You could close your eyes if you were not afraid of the dark, or keep them open and look into the wall. I recall seeing clouds, caverns, swords, diamonds, police, and my mother, her face so close to mine that I could feel her breath. All images, given the limited surface of scrutiny, metamorphosed one into another. By the time the punishment was lifted, it was a punishment no longer. We all have our own wailing wall.
I began the photographic series of walls in the nineteen seventies on the lower east side of Manhattan. The light, the scarred old grayness of this neighborhood, its peculiar sadness, seemed familiar to me.
The more recent photographs of the series "Walls" began in 2004, in Barcelona.
I was photographing not the walls but the paintings I saw on them.
This series consists of 50 images. The edition is of 12 for each image of about 18 by 24 inches. Digitally produced. Ink jet on watercolor paper.