David Maisel photographs the contemporary Spanish landscape located between the cities of Madrid and Toledo. The images show zones of agriculture, mining, and abandoned urban development that appear otherworldly and alien, as though an archaeologist had unearthed a hidden civilization from the past. Maisel was invited to Spain in 2013 as part of the photographic project ToledoContemporánea, in which twelve photographers were commissioned to create work about the Spanish city of Toledo as a celebration of the fourth centennial of the painter El Greco. The series is based on three different areas of the Spanish landscape: Borox –strange, ashen landscapes in a mining and agricultural region of La Mancha. The soil is laden with the mineral borax, which gives a surreal, ashen quality; the landscape shines, almost like a grey sea in a desert. Vicalvaro – developments on the periphery of Madrid, where construction was halted after the economic collapse of 2008. The abandoned zones appear like the surreal aftermath of a bombed out city or an alien landing field. Fuensalida – croplands in the La Mancha region, gridded, crosshatched, and abstracted.
David Maisel was born in New York City in 1961. He received his BA from Princeton University, and his MFA from California College of the Arts, in addition to study at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.