by Laia Abril
Was the Werewolf of Allariz a woman? In 1853, Manuel Blanco Romasanta was tried for the murder of 17 people: he confessed to nine of them but declared himself not guilty because he was suffering from a curse that turned him into a wolf. Although this defence was rejected at trial, his death sentence was commuted to allow doctors to investigate the case. Thus, Romasanta has become part of Spanish folklore as the Werewolf of Allariz or less commonly as the Tallow Man, so named for the rendering of his victims fat to make high quality soap. More than 150 years later, this case still haunts our collective memory and baffles criminologists, psychologists and historians. According to recent forensic theories, the killer, who was named Manuela at the time of his birth and raised as a girl until the age of 6, could have lived with a rare syndrome of intersexuality.
My methodology of work is based on research: accumulating huge amounts of data, stories, facts, analyses, then the conceptualization, connection and visualization of these. When making the book – together with Art Director Ramon Pez – the process was similar: in addition to researching the story, we added layer of visual and production research. For months and months we searched, collected, generated, organized, linked and got inspired by hundreds of visual inputs from the most remote sources - often they had nothing to do with photography or the story itself. We wanted to find the mood that would help us build the ideal object, one that would transmit the desired feeling, by keeping only a few keywords in our brains: Galicia, 19th century, killer, wolves, werewolf, landscapes, intersexuality, sex, femininity, masculinity, alchemy, magic, witchcraft, and superstition; The project moves slightly away from documentary photography, towards reconstruction, documentary fiction or art. It seems that our continuous and insatiable brain storming has led to the invention of a constructed world, a conceptual landscape, a narrative based on the semiotics of the feminine and masculine in the inhospitable sceneries of the Galician lands.
Lobismuller received the Images Vevey Book Award at the Grand Prix Images Vevey 2015/2016
and presented as international premiere at the Festival Images Vevey 2016
Published by RM + Images Vevey
Designed by Ramon Pez
Laia Abril (Barcelona, 1986) is a photographer and visual artist from Barcelona. After graduating in Journalism in Barcelona and studying photography in the Internacional Center of Photography in New York; she enrolled FABRICA’s artist residency where she worked at COLORS Magazine as a creative editor and staff photographer for 5 years.
Her projects have been shown internationally including the United States, Canada, UK, China, Poland, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, France, Italy or Spain. Her work is held in private and public collections as Musée de l’Elysée, Winterthur Museum in Switzerland or MNAC in Barcelona. In 2015 she was nominated for Foam’s Paul Huf Award and the Joop Swart Masterclass in 2014 and more recently she has been awardered with the award Revelación Madame Figaro - Rencontres Arles award for her exhibition A History of Misogyny, chapter one: On Abortion.
She self-published Thinspiration in 2012, Tediousphilia (Musée de l’Elysée, 2014) and The Epilogue (Dewi Lewis, 2014), which was highly acclaimed and shortlisted for the ParisPhoto-Aperture First Book Award, Kassel PhotoBook Festival and Photo España Best Book Award. Her new book-project Lobismuller (RM, 2016) was holder of the Images Book Award. After working for 5 years on her long-term project On Eating Disorders, Abril has started her new project A History of Misogyny, which first chapter On Abortion will be published by Dewi Lewis on 2017.
Friday, June 16th, at 6 p.m.
Piazza Orazio Giustiniani, 4, 00153 Roma
Saturday 17 and sunday 18 june 2017
from 10 to 22
From June 19th to July 1st
from 2 pm to 7.30 pm