José Manuel Ballester was born in Madrid in 1960 and graduated in 1984 from the School of Fine Arts of the Universidad Complutense in the same city. Though he chose to focus on painting early in his career, he soon began combining painting with photography, a field in which he would excel and gradually become known, meriting the Spanish National Photography Prize in 2010. Architecture is also a prominent presence in his career and in his images, as two simultaneous exhibitions reflect: ‘Mapamundi,’ in Galería Rafael Ortiz of Seville, and ‘Umbrales de silencio’ (Thresholds of Silence), at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Esteban Vicente in Segovia. In the first Ballester takes stock of his own archive, stressing the importance of traveling and the impact it has on our lives, a matter he ponders on in the exhibition’s presentation text (“What would have happened if I hadn’t developed a need to know other places, their cultures and customs?”). The second exhibition includes fifty-two works carried out expressly for the occasion, where the artist photographs scenes of Segovia in search of the architectural, pictorial and natural richness concealed in the city’s private, cloistered or inaccessible places.