True love at first sight. (We are not talking about conventional love between individuals.) We met each other as we were stealing the same book in the same bookshop. My book! His book! It was, indeed, the catalogue of the exhibition at the National Library; a show I had just seen myself only a few minutes before. Instantly, I realised who the person in front of me was, after recognising his portrait that took up the whole of the back cover. A rare conceptual paradox: he was holding a book with his own photograph holding that very same book; the book we were committing a sin with. One February twelfth two decades and a half ago. Exchanging glances and a certain surprise at the mutual discovery.

With the corpus delicti half way between hand and bag, without prior presentation, he said: look, as it happens, those guys at the Ministry are just a bunch of misers and at this moment in my life I’m not mentally prepared to have to pay for my own books. With the books they gave me I didn’t even have enough to begin with. That’s why I do this little number everyday and I am building myself a little stack for my own use. For the future, more than anything else. A life in art is tough. I suppose you know. You always have to be ready to produce your ID. You have to get your act together…

We finished what we were doing, and went for a coffee. I told him how excited I was to see the exhibition and the amazing thematic and conceptual similarities between our work. I’ve got photographs that are identical to yours! I had never experienced anything like that before: finding a completely unknown person you have so much affinity with. And that was true. I was able to see it for myself one month later, when I went to Mallorca as his guest.

That day was the start of a close friendship. With the passing of time, our artistic links were consolidated, and then common needs and a sense of excitement were added. Without losing our individuality.

Rummaging among the piles of thousands of photographs on his long tables, I realised that the guy devoted himself to strangling celebrities around the world. More specifically, he strangled major artists. That definitely sent me into orbit.

With great pleasure, I discover that he portrayed people holding them up by their necks or their chins, framing their faces to present them to the beholder in a blunt form, as if wanting to make it clear to a dormant world that photography, art, is not a job for paper-pushers or wimps.

When I discovered all this work scattered around his vast oeuvre, I asked him why he was doing it. At first, he didn’t know what to say. He is highly intuitive and driven by impulse, by hunches. Unburdened by any apparent intellectual sophistication, the truth of the matter is that he’s always right on the mark; he knows exactly what to say.

And although I knew well that his was a highly specific way of understanding the world and human relations, I wanted to ask him why he was doing it so straightforwardly. In our business, one doesn’t have to deal with niceties, he answered, otherwise, those who might follow you get confused. Sometimes, I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for. What I can swear to you is that I always know well what I do not want for myself in art.

Duplex is the convergence of two heads working with often caustic goals. It is the zigzag with no reverse drive of a disquieting code, that does not contemplate anything so vulgar as relaxation. Keeping one hundred eyes open all the time means going in the right direction.

Duplex is the representation of a characteristic state of agitation in relation with the most unusual individual or communal activities taking place in the world. An avant-garde hymn in acute opposition to gregariousness, to the repetition of dated formulas and trite messages.

We function in parallel to each other, always in confrontation, trying to find out what the fuck is going on inside the other’s mind, whether lines, outlines, margins, mere light or morphological collapses. Delving into the dark side of art and mankind, an armed conflict confronting the unhealthy comfort of the group. Starting from a continuous daydreaming full of riddles with no solutions.

To those who ask me, even in good faith, the reason why I do this or that, or why I do it in that particular way and not some other way they would find easier to accept, l invariably answer “so that you can keep on asking why.” The true key of creation lies in that void, in that echo, in that infinite wait. For the resolution of measurable things there already exist other more appropriate trades and materials.

Antoni Socías y Luís Pérez-Mínguez