Freud's comparison of Rome, the Eternal City, with psychic life is the driving force behind Michael Willöfer's photographic exercise in Nuevo Mundo. Cities, like human psychic life, are living beings with a rich and prolonged past in which "nothing, what ever existed has disappeared and in which, in addition to the last evolutionary phase, all those phases that preceded still persist." This is what the photographer realized as explored with the camera the streets of the historic center of Mexico City. A city where centuries of history, hidden time and timeless simultaneity coexist, as in Rome and so many other cities. With this drive Willöfer created this photographic exercise, which is also a question of light and a question of seeing: a longer look, written light. Willöfer deepens his gaze, in which the stranger finally rediscovers himself in the face of an unknown city and culture. A look that wants to highlight the beauty in the banal event: a strange opening in a metal plate on the floor that invites you to imagine what is there in the dark; a plant in a twisted metal grid on the sidewalk, growing despite its cage; a building with its electrical arteries on the surface of the wall illuminating the outside in a different way - instead of illuminating the walls inside; a block of ice that begins to melt in the middle of the street, as if it came there with the intention of surrendering to its own death. Everyday scenes that gain a certain splendor through framing with the help of the camera. A splendor that is also a stroke of luck: places and objects full of light, silence and colors and a palpable tranquility in the middle of a city usually characterized by extreme noise, crowds and incessant haste of people. Photographs that remind us that even in the midst of chaos it is possible to encounter silence and a gaze that invites you to contemplate and see beyond the obvious.
Text by Giorgio Lavezzaro
Mexico City, Centro Histórico, 2010-2022