Sergio Belinchón (Valencia, 1971) is the first photographer to have participated in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía’s exhibition project at the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos. Belinchón is one of the most important young photographers on the Spanish art scene. After training at the School of Fine Arts in Valencia and studying on a scholarship at the School of Spain of in Paris, the artist has worked for the architect Santiago Calatrava and later received another scholarship from the Academy of Spain in Rome. Belinchón’s work has developed in successive series such as Metropolis around Paris or the series Roma. In Ciudades Efímeras, he approaches the chaotic development of the Spanish Levante coast, while in Desierto de Atacama constructions and other elements are the waste of a rural landscape uninhabited from a long time ago.
For this exhibition, the artist has developed his work while living directly with the monks at the Abbey in Silos. During his two weeks at the monastery, Belinchón faces silence and solitude, and alternates silent days in the monks company with days visiting the surroundings. This fortnight results in more than 3,000 photographs of the monastery, its inhabitants and the environment.
The exhibition is composed of seven video portraits, or photographs of monks in flat screen television, and two photographs on paper. The result becomes especially interesting when facing the space of the hall of the monastery. The projections, presented vertically on flat screens, appear to be photographs displayed in light boxes. Only the spectator who looks carefully will notice the portrait blink or that the habit flutters slightly in the wind.
The artist does not present the work as a series of videos, but as a series of photographs that have time as an added element. Belinchón portrays a group that leads a very specific life dedicated to silence, prayer and work and where the concept of time is the complete opposite of how it is perceived in today's society. In the Monastery of Silos time passes without a sequence of noisy images or changes, nothing changes or only very slightly, so Belinchón chose to convey through his photographs the work, prayer and silence of the monks.