Ribeira addresses issues that have a historical relationship with documentary photography and representation, often in the context of institutionally constructed or maintained groups, or spontaneous anti-structures that emerge on the margins of society.
“Subida al Cielo’ encompasses several stories: Los afortunados takes place in Melilla and accompanies a group of young people on their way to Europe from Morocco; Aristócratas is made in Galicia, Ribeira’s homeland, in collaboration with a religious institution that takes care of a community of cognitively impaired women; Las visiones, made during a Semana Santa celebration, deals directly with the ancestral and cultural religiosity of Spain.
All the series are grouped and presented together, without separation into chapters: they are all united by Ribeira’s attempt to set aside learned constructions and use photography to create spaces of encounter that can transcend geographical and temporal separations.
The projects are also linked by their formal approach. Very consciously, within his image production, Ribeira uses dramatisation as a strategy to transgress the prevailing political dimensions, letting gestures and the human figure take centre stage. This intention results in images that go beyond the pure documentary approach and enter a space in which the influence of mythological, archetypal and religious imagery is echoed, especially in the representation of human struggle.
In the course of the book, changes in space and time take on dreamlike traits; as our perception of a place stabilises, the narrative quickly slips into a new chapter, bringing out new details. Subida al Cielo’ means ‘ascent to heaven’, an effort to sever our ties with the earth, to shake off the weight of our body and its gravity, to step outside ourselves and open the door to the inevitability of the unexpected.