Todos los Volvo que cruzaron delante de mí en Hällefors (Suecia) el 19 de mayo de 2006 de 16.49 a 17.01

Juan del Junco

16 December 2006

14 photographs. 30 x 45 cm each. Courtesy: Galería Magda Bellotti, Madrid

The transformation and conditioning of the urban landscape is a constant in many reflections on the consequences of car culture. This work addresses not just the fact that the appearance and rhythm of the city are largely conditioned by traffic and cars, but also the specific way in which the car is an integral part of each society. The territorialisation of a particular brand (Volvo = Sweden) is an unquestionably factor of classification and definition, whether of the landscape or the automobile market. Juan del Junco’s account of the initial seed and posterior development for his work is particularly telling in this regard:

“When I first arrived in the Swedish town of Hällefors, to take up a scholarship there, I found it impossible to work. The exotic charm of rural Sweden stopped me from doing anything else but wander around. Little by little, I started to realise that the landscape and the people of the town were very familiar to me, as if I had already seen them thousands of times before. Replete with clichés: the pick-up truck, the library with friendly old ladies, the stuffed beaver in the pharmacy, the supermarkets with teenage tellers, the hooligans with their souped-up hot-rods, immigrants, workers in the steel factory with their rust-stained overalls … and then Volvos everywhere, my favourite brand of car. Thousands all around me, V70, V60, C70…Volvos, Volvos, Volvos and the odd Saab.

The town’s main street has a library, pharmacy, police station, the primary school, two supermarkets and a fast food restaurant. I remembered how, back home, when you walk through a village in the province of Cadiz, you see old people, pensioners sitting on benches in the main street watching the cars go by. I set my camera on a tripod. I framed the only point in the town with any life and I started to classify. A return to analysis, to enumerating reality. And Volvos all around … Will I start to count them?”