1010x400px GEN ENG 



00- Rie en las montanas. Vision. 2017 de la serie Subida al cielo


Ascent into heaven

17/03/2023 - 02/07/2023

Curator: Sonia Berger



Lúa Ribeira. Ascent into Heaven is a project made up of five series developed by the photographer Lúa Ribeira between the years 2016 and 2020: Subida al cielo [Ascent into Heaven], Aristócratas [Aristocrats], Las visiones [The Visions], La Jungla and Los afortunados [The Fortunate Ones].

Spread over two floors, 74 works are on display alongside supporting materials used by the artist in her quest for images, forming the most complete, extensive exhibition of her work to date.

These five series have been grouped together by virtue of a similar way of working that the photographer has developed throughout this time. They stem from an interest in the margins, exclusion and questioning dominant culture, as well as the desire to transcend these limits and work outside the structural divisions established among different communities and individuals forming part of contemporary societies. Lúa Ribeira has created together with them images that break away from the usual perspective, positioning herself in a place far removed from that of a mere observer and taking an active position through the encounter.

Lúa Ribeira. Ascent into Heaven covers a variety of territories: from the cold parks of the United Kingdom to the borderlands between Morocco and Europe, Mexico and the United States, passing through the fertile land of Galicia to an arid town in Andalusia. Despite this territorial range, the five series are grouped by virtue of shared methodology and political motivation.

Subida al cielo [Ascent into Heaven]

This is the first series that opens the exhibition and gives it its name. Ribeira began it in 2017 and developed it mainly in the United Kingdom. It stemmed from the intention of using photography to create more mythological or timeless images with regard to pain, as an experience that unites us.

The images on display are the result of the coexistence of two types of portraits: one pertaining to a more mundane reality in which one suffers, thinks, looks and dreams, and another related to the object of those thoughts or dreams, the imagination, mythology and its creatures, the dimension that soothes, calms and frightens.

Aristócratas [Aristocrats]

This series was created in collaboration with a religious institution that cares for a group of women with intellectual disabilities in Galicia, Ribeira’s homeland. She managed to get closer to the group and create a meeting space by living together and sharing daily life with them over a period of two summers.

It was from this transformative experience that the possibility of producing the photographic work arose: “I started to reflect on the idea of ‘ability’ as a social construct in relation to normality, what is the function of that exclusion – in groups such as this one – for the rest of society.”

Las visions [The Visions]

Las visiones, performed during the Easter festivities, deals with the ancestral and cultural religiosity of Spain.

Ribeira directly tackles this religious tradition that takes place in Puente Genil (Córdoba). The celebration allows her to play with that reality and its more spiritual part, thereby adding meaning to a more mundane question.                                                            

According to the artist: “The photography here was more of an event; something happening within a space of social celebration. However, I realised through the editing process I have almost completely eliminated from the work any allusion to the procession and the event as such.”

La Jungla

This series tackles the subject of migration in a very complex and violent territory as the border that separates Mexico and the USA.

La Jungla started as a collective project with a group of Magnum photographers and shares the same concerns and approach as the other series that make up Subida al cielo: the idea of working within a limited space and establishing a link with the people who live there.

Using a language far removed from that of journalism, the artist approaches this project in a more consciously ambiguous manner: “I hold on very tightly to the ambiguity of visual language in order to not establish affirmations; I move on that thin line of not fully acting upon what is right or wrong, but more into the act of questioning it. I enter places where I adopt a vulnerable position too and let myself be carried away by others, to create other ways to exist or to relate. That is why I am so interested in visual language, because there is no assertiveness in it.”

Los afortunados [The Fortunate Ones]

Los afortunados, her most recent work, is set in Melilla, with a group of young people immersed in their journey of trying to reach Europe from Morocco.

As in the series La Jungla, Lúa realised one can work in an initially unknown place and that spaces of connection and exchange emerge through coexistence, thereby opening the door to issues that are relevant, but that she had never thought of working on.

Her aim with this work is to reflect metaphorically or allegorically on the situations of risk, adrenaline, survival, constant strategy and brotherhood these young people are experiencing, and to counteract the media perspective that has been built up for years.

Sketches, paintings, images

Finally, her work process is shown on four tables through sketches made in notebooks, notes, quotations, paintings and so on, materials produced for preliminary studies and that feed her way of working.


Photography: Lúa Ribeira. Riendo en las montañas [ Laughs in the moutains]. Visión (2017) 




lualua Lúa Ribeira (As Pontes, 1986)



Lúa Ribeira (As Pontes, Galicia, 1986) is a photographer and has been an associate member of Magnum Photos (Bristol, UK) since 2018. She graduated in Graphic Design from the Bau Escola de Disseny, Barcelona, and later in Documentary Photography from the University of South Wales, Newport (UK). She has also run workshops as a guest lecturer at various universities.

She received a Firecracker Grant for Women in Photography and Jerwood/Photoworks award in 2018 and was nominated for the Foam Paul Huf award and Prix Pictet in 2019.

Her work has been published in book form by Fishbar (London, 2017) and has appeared in the book Firecrackers: Female Photographer Now, published by Thames and Hudson, as well as in the “Women Looking at Women” issue of Raw View magazine.

Her work has been exhibited internationally in both solo and group shows, such as ICP (New York), Impressions Gallery (Bradford), Ffotogallery (Cardiff), Belfast Exposed and Beijing International.





Commented tours:



5.30 pm in basque  / 6.30 pm in Spanish 

Prior booking is required by calling 943251937 at the Galery or writing to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. s




Conversation betwen the artist Lúa Ribeira and the curator and editor Sonia Berger -COMPLETED-

20 april | 6.30 pm

Sala Ruiz Balerdi (4th floor, Tabakalera)

Spanish. Free. Prior booking on the websiteeb

Live streaming on Youtube




Descarge here the exhibiton guide:

lua ingles






Ascent into heaven


Basque - Spanish

Price:  52€ (TAX included)