© XAVIER RIBAS - Nitrate_From The High-Rises Like Rain (2013) 12 Pigment prints on Harman Baryta paper 110 x 133 cm. Ed of 3+1ap.

 


From The High-Rises Like Rain [nr 8]

 

 

Photographs of the streets around St. Mary Axe and Bishopsgate in the City of London. Text: Nitrate companies listed in the London Stock Exchange Year-Book of 1908. In Italics: text fragments from IRA manifestos, reports on IRA explosions by the Metropolitan Police and the Museum of London Archaeological Service (MOLAS).

 

 

From The High-Rises Like Rain looks at the geography of nitrate in the City of London. The starting point of these photographs are the nitrate companies listed in the London Stock Exchange Year-Book of 1908, the year after the killing of hundreds of striking nitrate workers in Iquique by the Chilean army. The Year-Book lists 45 nitrate companies, sharing 18 postal addresses located in 9 streets in the City of London and 3 streets in Liverpool. This alone gives an indication that Chilean nitrate was run and managed by a small number of people. But, above all, it is an indication of the different geographical dimensions of this industry on each side of the Atlantic.

On 10 April 1992, the Baltic Exchange, located in the City of London since the mid 18th century, was demolished by a fertiliser bomb planted by the IRA inside a white van. Three people were killed by the explosion. The following year, on 24 April 1993, the IRA planted another bomb inside a blue tipper truck parked opposite the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation in Bishopsgate. As a result of the blast, which killed one person, the medieval church of St. Ethelburga was completely destroyed, but was rebuilt ten years later to house the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. Inside the new church, the 19th century font rescued from the debris displays an engraved circular palindrome in ancient Greek that reads: ‘Cleanse my transgressions, not only my appearance’.

From the High Rises Like Rain, therefore, brings together two geographies superimposed onto each other. With the explosions on the streets of London's financial district, the transformative qualities of nitrate as mineral, commodity and capital come full circle.

 

 

 


From The High-Rises Like Rain [nr 1]

 


From The High-Rises Like Rain [nr 2]

 


From The High-Rises Like Rain [nr 9]

 


From The High-Rises Like Rain [nr 3]

 


From The High-Rises Like Rain [nr 5]

 


From The High-Rises Like Rain [nr 6]

 


From The High-Rises Like Rain [nr 10]

 


From The High-Rises Like Rain [nr 11]

 

 

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From The High-Rises Like Rain (2013). Installation MACBA [Photo: Marc Roig]

 


From The High-Rises Like Rain (2013). Installation MACBA [Photo: Marc Roig]

 


From The High-Rises Like Rain [detail]