© Martín Weber

My brother dreams of studying music, Yavi, Argentina

Martín Weber
A Map of Latin American Dreams

In his first solo exhibition in London, young Argentine photographer Martín Weber presents the evolving series "A Map of Latin American Dreams". Now comprising over 100 photographs, the work began in 1991 and encompasses imagery made in a variety of Latin American countries: Argentina, Peru, Cuba, Nicaragua, and the border areas of San Diego and Tijuana.

Before he photographs them, Martín Weber asks the subjects of his photographs, the simple question, "If you could choose to have, do or be anything in the world, what would that be?" Their answers, chalked on a small slate, reveal personal dreams that range from the modest and the inspirational, to - when the gulf between their current circumstances and the likely realisation of the dream is too great - the heart-breaking.

The sheer beauty of Weber's black-and-white compositions belies the social and political relevance of his project. Latin America, he says, is a "land of contradictions and broken dreams", and certainly the continent's twentieth-century history has oscillated, often violently, between periods of political idealism and social despair, between economic buoyancy and economic disaster, and it has found itself vulnerable both to external interference and internal corruption. In a land where democracy and the right to free speech are not necessarily universal expectations, the theme of individual dreaming takes on a potent political charge. "It is by being able to imagine it first, and then express it, that we can exercise our right to self-determination, to bring out that power from the individuals to lead our nations, as a way to transcend our condition and overcome our history and actual situation… Our destiny may only be changed if we allow ourselves to imagine a different one from that which we are given."

Martín Weber was born in 1968 in Argentina; he lives and works in Buenos Aires and New York. He studied at the University of Buenos Aires and at the International Center of Photography in New York and has been the recipient of two Hasselblad Grants - in 1999 and 2001 - and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1998. Martín Weber has had solo exhibitions at The Project, New York and Side Gallery, Newcastle among others.

Kate Bush, Senior Programmer

September 25 - November 16, 2003
Hours: Mon-Sat 11.00 - 18.00, Sun 12.00 - 18.00

The Photographers' Gallery
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