The exhibit showcased current trends in photography from the Iberian peninsula, as well as a “review of an important and significant part of the history of Spanish photography in the last sixty years”, as stated in the Center’s release.
The display included some of the photographers that captured black and white images of a retrograde, almost hopeless post civil war Spain: Cualladó, Masats, Pérez Siquier and Joan Colom. They portrayed a humble Spain, poor if you like, but undoubtedly backward, in marked contrast with the photographs taken by tourists that showed the image of a “different Spain”, always about to develop and flourish.
1. The Street, 1958-61.
2. The Street, 1958-61.
The next generation of Spanish photographers was represented by Cristina García Rodero, Tony Catany, Humberto Rivas and Pablo Pérez-Mínguez.
The Center placed special emphasis on the participation of Cristina García Rodero in the exhibit. Garcia Rodero, whose work has been exhibited in distant, exotic lands like Haiti and Ethiopia, garnered international attention when, more than 15 years ago, she created a series she called The Hidden Spain. The archives were later purchased by the J. Paul Getty Center for ethnographic studies.
Tony Catany, “a refined artist with a passion for the ancient world”, photographs nudes and still lifes inspired on classic Mediterranean sculpture. Classicism also comes to mind in the work of Humberto Rivas from Argentina, based in Spain since the 1960s, and considered “a magician of portraits and loneliness, where the passage of time is marked as a clear sign of identity”, as stated in the exhibition essay.
1. ALBERTO GARCÍA ALIX. The Badly Injured, 1989.
2. CARLOS PÉREZ SIQUIER. The Color of the South, 1973.
Pablo Pérez-Mínguez is better known for his collaborations with the magazine Nueva Lente. He’s dubbed the “great agitator”, and his connection to pop culture and the “movida madrileña” has greatly informed his work.
Without a doubt, the exhibit presented a comprehensive selection of what could be called the “history of photography” in Spain. The catalog also includes artworks by conceptual artists of the caliber of Joan Fontcuberta, Chema Madoz, Manuel Vilariño, and Bleda y Rosa, authors who begin to rely on digital media, and play with “deception” to create an image. Particularly interesting is the relationship between Madoz and Vilariño: “Madoz creates a visual narrative through metaphors composed of impossible objects, with force and a characteristic consideration which he, somehow, shares with Galician artist Manuel Vilariño, whose poetic, spiritual, telluric and symbolic art (close to nature and the classics), expresses itself predominantly through color and texture “. ■