César Saldívar

Espejismo (Mirage)

Embroidered Analogue photographs and Mexican Meta-images

Exhibition / 17th of March - 9th of April 2016



MONDO GALERIA presents “ESPEJISMO”(Mirage), the new work of Mexican artist César Saldívar. The artist has reviewed all the work that he completed in Mexico since 2000, celebrating the new millennium. Saldívar appropriates his black and white gelatine prints by embroidering over them with coloured silk thread. Inspired by the tradition of Mexico and contemporary artists like Julie Cockburn or Maurizio Anzeri, Saldívar’s work surprises us by the way the artist looks at himself and how his work is re-invented in this creative process. What is interesting, and unprecedented in this case, is that he works on photographs that he takes himself, contrary to the appropriation of an old or found photograph that is the norm of this technique. In this way, his work transcends the purely aesthetic to grow into a much more complex exercise of inner gaze and meta-image. In each photograph we can traverse each stitch of coloured thread that highlights details of a tradition that have already become distant.



My nostalgia for not being there, or rather the idealization of distance, has led me to “ESPEJISMO.”

It is a ‘hypersensitive’ project where for the first time I have worked on top of my photographs – analogue, vintage, created in 35mm – with coloured stitching, using embroidery to highlight and re-focus certain aesthetic details in each image.

With delicacy and care they appear before my own photographs, like a magical realism and a surrealism of the land where I was born:  Mexico.

Situations and characters are – for multiple reasons – visible and invisible at the same time.

There are situations that are typical of a daily universal reality, which can only be seen by an alien eye that is ready to recognise beauty in the crudeness of reality.

Cèsar Saldìvar
Madrid / December 2015


El difícil regreso a casa (The Difficult Return Home) by Miguel Ángel Berumen.
César Saldívar deposits power in each of the woven, sparkling and multi-coloured threads that hurt his photographs. Without them the photographer could not go anywhere, he could not realise himself. As if he were a painter, the author traces new images in the same medium of his old photographs. It is as if they were the product of double exposure negatives, exposed each time the shutter has been making its way through Sadívar’s memory.

Harassed by his memory like a shadow on a stormy night, César Saldívar has tried for years to escape images of the past without any luck. Exhausted by the thick of the rainy and endless night, he always knew that it would not be easy to retrace his steps and return home. An expert in catching time, ironically he always had the time in his hands.

Stirred by continuous lightning, the endless night of Saldívar, after many years, life finally became luminous, barking in its flight to the shadow that had stalked him. Thus, in the height of the storm, just a few months ago, flashes of light that fell from the sky came to Caesar: as if master keys to open the doors needed to bring him to this point. 

What a miracle, streams of colour rained from the sky, silver and gold, copper and bronze, material which he wove into the contours of forgotten figures that resembled paper pieces of Chinese paper, like those that cross the streets of the Mexican towns in the Party Days.

Sharing his re-birth has been a painful decision and he Saldívar has chosen to use a method that is both beautiful and brutal to imitate the painful tracks that have plagues his battle against memory. He decided to communicate this on the smooth surfaces of his treasured photographs, inflicting thousands of sharp stab wounds with the tiny sword that carries the threads through the paper. Although painful, they are perfect luminous choreographies that we discover when we approach the black and white territory. 

These juxtaposed photographs allow César Saldívar to return home in the colourful rain of metallic steamers.

The reverse of his photographs, encrypted maps of the spectators are for him the key of his return. Meanwhile, for the viewer, they seem distant, and unbelieving we follow his lead to gradually decipher the hidden codes of an operation that has been kept secret for many years.
Miguel Ángel Berumen is Director of the Cultural Space “Aqui está Zapata,” Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Chavela Vargas / 2012 - 2016

Gelatina de plata vintage bordada a mano
Hand embroidery on vintage gelatin silver print
Passepartout: 32 x 32 cm
Única / Unique

Espejismo (Mirage) by Horacio Basílicus

“We are at the end of our work; all the necessary instruction has been given to you and now you must stop, look back, and reconsider your steps."

― Carlos Castaneda

A mirage, or another look at the potential in it or its author. He looks for an inner transformation, the seed of juxtaposition and the fruit of a re-interpretation.
In superfluous times over-flown by high standards of fallacy, talking about contents is a light of inspiration in the vast path of photographic language.
From the dawn of time the magic urged in the technique. From chemistry to mechanics, and from the latter to the binary. Certain silver salts’ exploding on a controlled surface creates this inexact and complex science, full of beats and formulas, in which the development of a culture is condensed.
The Mexican tradition, among orange blossoms and magic mazes, translates into their customs and cultural cacophony that reverberates from the confines of the cognitive universe.
Its scope is so global that is obliterates everything that it touches with its geodesic study by fortifying the photographic tradition of this land. For any artist, the work documents significant change as narrated by history, but without the need to list its milestones here. Facing “Mexico” without going into detail is unusual. It is even more so, to find poetic slips in the implementation of a medium without falling into flashes of harmless creativity. By shedding prejudice and its tradition, the artist discovers alien terrain and yet discovered in his own subconscious. Emotion emanates from the encounter, with a result comparable to the crossing of what is familiar and corporeal with the volatile and unpredictable mind. It presents itself as a spiritual entity.
Terms such as transcendental may be extraneous to photography, although, in itself, this is no more than a continuation of oral tradition, storytelling. There are no more or less valid narratives, but there are modes and sensibilities; more or less, related.
The artistic object works like this, triggering ideas that transform the receiver and inviting him to ‘enter’ a hidden code that is established between his cognitive memory and that of the author without the need for them to have ever encountered one another.
But once it is the author who faces his work as a spectator, the creative wheel accelerates like an electron that collides with another within the same atom’s nucleus.
The author ridding himself of his ‘creator’ badge allows him to re-discover his work and to re-link it to a new sense that carries some if its intrinsic initial intention, but re-creates and re-focuses with a new out-look: an awakening given by experience, distance and time.
To make a seemingly simple exercise as complex as this is what masters the work. A process of transformation that will in some cases takes a moment, or maybe just an instant, but for others the chrysalis takes several lives to resurge from its ashes.
To destroy and to reinvent ones self is a practice that preachers, gurus and shamans from all corners of the planet encourage. This is what César Saldívar present to us in his images. They are more than photographs. We are presented with teachings about what is, what appears and what exists.


Sin Título / 2000 - 2016

Gelatina de plata vintage bordada a mano
Hand embroidery on vintage gelatin silver print
Passepartout: 32 x 32 cm
Única / Unique









Saldívar was born in Monterrey, and identifies with Spanish nationality. He currently resides between Mexico and Spain.

Portraits in black and white; He is known for his work with natural light and analog photography. He makes no concessions in this technique, and is perhaps the only one in his circle who has not turned to digital photography.

His name is associated with Spanish cinematography, as from the beginning of his career he has been coined in Madrid as ‘the photographer of the Spanish cinema.’ With honesty in his photographs, his work ranges from the glamor of movie stars, to social commitment and to developing more risky subjects.

One of his most successful works is the exhibition “Mitos y Divas de Almodovar” and one of his most reflective works is the “Losing the North” exhibition dedicated to the women of Juárez.

Throughout his career he has publish 8 photography books in Spain, France and Germany. The most outstanding film actors of our time have posed for his camera.

He opened the Official Cultural Program of Bicentennial of Mexico in Spain with the exhibition “Reciclar la Memoria” (Recycle the Memory) a portrayal of deep Mexico, which is currently based in Europe.

His work is internationally recognized and various important figures have written about his work: Carlos Fuentes, Alejandro Jodorosky, Carlos Monsivais and Pedro Almódovar, to name a few.

His portraits of Chavela Vargas were the last created of the singer, and offer the last light of Vargas as the incomparable talent of the music world she was.

Recently the UNAM has produced a documentary in which traces his trajectory, and they are also working on publishing and exhibition projects along the same theme.

César Saldívar’s work is one of the most prestigious collections of photography in Europe.




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