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Interview: Zazi White
Photos: Davit Ruiz

Los mejores souvernirs, the new exhibition by photographer Davit Ruiz, opens tomorrow at Espacio Ananas, and it comes with a homonymous photobook.

In our collective worldview, Parisian cafes are home to the bohemians, but in this exhibition they are the glass that mirrors identical streets walked by routine-burdened people. The images in Paris-Souvernir go beyond the intentional irony Davit Ruiz puts in his photos to express the sadness and solitude in the big cities of decadent Europe. It is an intimate set of postcards of apathetic and romantic memories brought back from Paris in a souvenir-filled suitcase.

We have interviewed Davit about the exhibition, tourism and fanzines.

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How did this exhibition come about?
Last February I spent a week in Paris to work on two projects. When I returned, I realized I had material that expressed my feelings –the wandering about on the streets, those moments we never talk about when we’re on a tourist trip; they are moments of introspection.

What is the perfect souvenir for you?
It must have the perfect meaning for the right person.

What do you think about tourism? How do you visit other cities?
Visiting other cities and bringing whatever you want, food, art, books… is wonderful. I don’t follow the advice of travel guides about what to see because you take more advantage of the trip. I love travelling. It’s very easy for me to fall asleep in planes. Coming back full of energy knowing there are many things to start is a great.

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You have a rather ironic eye. What did you like the most about Paris?
Paris is the best city in Europe for skateboarding. Food is great and there are many kinds of hummus in the stores. People are completely different from what I am –they are not transparent, they are cold and aloof. They say “bonne journée” but in fact what they are saying is “leave alone”.

You usually make digital photos. Why did you use an analogic camera here?
The project was the result of my wandering about the city. I had a lot of time to think, to discover, to walk, to feel… I think a small analogic camera is better for this.

You are also self-publishing a homonymous photobook. Tell us about it.
Yes, I only printed 20, I wanted it to be a “limited souvenir”. For the exhibition I decided to play with space instead of just covering the walls. I have adapted the photos to a book form, with the language of a book. I love these limitations because then you can take more advantage of things. The final result is exactly what I was expecting.

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You previously released a fanzine featuring your photos. What do you think about fanzines and photobooks as a means of exhibiting your work? Do you think new generations are more interested in them or do you think they go straight to the digital arena?
I had released several projects. 28004 was a series of postcards I published along with Teenage Editions. We were very happy with the outcome. Late this month me and two other friends will release a self-published book about Los Nastys in France. Digital is always better because it reaches more people, but photobooks and self-publishing, anything on paper, is also an exercise in communication, a way of showing who you are and also a way to put yourself to the test. I consider myself ‘new generation’ so I don’t really know what to say. 18-year-olds are starting to appreciate the value of paper. Older generations (I’m 30) already see paper as a wonderful means of communication to round off projects that need a longer digestion time, away from the barrage of news we get from social media.

Where can we find your book?
It will be available at Espacio Ananas until soldout 🙂

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DAVIT RUIZ
He instinctively focuses on social relations and leisure time behavior among the urban youth. His amazement at everyday life and his efforts to escape routine are recurrent themes in his work. He has collaborated with Vice,Papel and Tentaciones. He has worked as an advertising photographer as well as in several documentaries.

ESPACIO ANANAS
Art space and concept store in Conde Duque run by Ana and Adriana. They both opened it after graduating in Fine Arts to offer a different space where art is made by young people for young people and where new art formats and new artists are always wanted.

“Los mejores souvenirs” opens tomorrow November 4 at 19:30 at Espacio Ananas and runs until November 19.

Follow Davit Ruiz’s work on his web and instagram.

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