Domus Barcino

Photographs by Jordi Baron

22nd June, 2023 - 28th July, 2023

The photographer Jordi Baron, due to his family profession as an antiquarian, has a unique and privileged access to a very private sphere: access to the interior of many residences in Barcelona.

When the author arrives at these flats, their inhabitants have recently deceased, their family members have distributed part of the inheritance and it is at that point that they wish to sell whatever remains in the property. Other times, if there are family disagreements or it concerns wealthy families, the flats may remain closed during a long time, sometimes years, treasuring the enclosed memory; but they are not abandoned, only closed, latent, until the day arrives when the owners decide to sell it all.

The photographs on display here show the whole process of emptying out flats and houses, principally located in the Eixample neighbourhood and old town of Barcelona, where the heirs have been progressively selling everything: first the contents and then the container.

Each one of these flats, many of them of immense, have been later divided into three or four accommodations with the objective of using them, in most cases, as tourist lettings. It is the photo-finish of the memory of a Bourgeoisie which has lasted approximately one hundred and twenty years, and the birth of a new phenomenon suffered by many cities; gentrification. It is an unstoppable drama which exiles neighbours due to the increasing prices of housing.

The author, acting as a sort of Archaeologist of Interiors, for the past twenty years has been photographically documenting all of these flats in the city of Barcelona with the purpose of rescuing them instants before they disappear. These are ephemeral landscapes, often desolate ones, with personal mementos strewn on the floor, clothes, books, documents… and it in these instants of change, of movement, is when these photographs are taken. Fleetingly, while the operatives and movers break down beds, light fixtures, drag and pack furniture that surely nobody had moved from its place in over eighty years.

Jordi Baron is a photographer, antique dealer, and collector of old photographs. Each of these facets feeds the other two. His photographic work, developed since the late nineties, has been reflected in three major projects: “Ídolos” (2002-2004), “Barcelona anthropological file” (2006-2010), and “Monalisa” (2016-2018), in which he explores how the iconographic traditions and processes of nineteenth-century photography leave their mark on practice and current representations.

From its beginnings to the present, he has carried out the Domus Barcino project. A series of photographs about the process of emptying furniture and personal belongings from flats in Barcelona once their occupants have passed away.