The best of PHotoEspaña in ten shots

The best of PHotoEspaña in ten shots
The best of PHotoEspaña in ten shots

In this 26th edition, PHotoEspaña gets rid of the main theme and the figure of the guest curator to address two central issues on the artistic agenda: the environmental crisis and the necessary vindication of women artists. Don’t forget the celebration of Picasso Year and continues delving into the classic authors. We select the ten best exhibitions that can be seen in Madrid

Louis Stettner

Mapfre Foundation. From June 1 to August 27

Louis Stettner (Brooklyn, 1922- Saint-Ouen, 2016) said that his photographs were not mere documents. He invited the viewer to observe, to go beyond what they apparently showed. He picked up his first camera at the age of thirteen and it was a visit to the Metropolitan and the snapshots of Stieglitz and Strand, which captivated him without return.

With more than 190 images, the Mapfre Foundation dedicates its first retrospective in Spain to this street photographer that he used a Rolleicord to go unnoticed. That is why the subway was one of his favorite places, where the passengers, seated, barely perceived his presence and, of course, the streets of his native New York. He was in World War II and spent long periods in Paris, very close to Brassaï. He also traveled to Ibiza, where he portrayed the fishermen Pepe and Tony, always attentive to the workers.

Louis Stettner: ‘Brooklyn Promenade, Brooklyn, New York’. 1954. ©Louis Stettner Estate

Bernard Plosu. Madrid

The Eagle Room. From June 1 to September 17

PHotoEspaña Award in 2013, the career of Bernard Plossu (Vietnam, 1945) has been sustained by his continuous travels. Since his first visit to Spain in the seventies, his escapades have been continuous. Here he became a circle together with names like Carlos Pérez Siquier and Juan Manuel Bonet and in 1979 the magazine new lens He dedicated a monograph to it.

This sample curated by Rafael Doctor Roncero brings together more than 150 shots of Madrid, his favorite European city. They are all found images, and not posed, made in a careful black and white. The Atocha station at night, some girls playing in the square, a girl on the subway… a nice exercise for the viewer to recognize landscapes that are commonplace. In September, another exhibition opens at the Picasso Museum in that stops, this time, at the symbolic places of Catalonia by the artist from Malaga.

Bernard Plossu: ‘Madrid’, 2021 © Bernard Plossu

Picasso in photo

Fernán Gómez Cultural Center of the Villa. Until July 30

Could not miss in the year of the Picasso Celebration 1973-2023 a tribute to the man from Malaga seen through the lens of photographers such as Lucien Clergue either David Douglas Duncan, in this selection made by Emmanuel Guigon from the archive kept by the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. The exhibition gives an account of his work process and his life, joining, like any other musician, a concert in Arles, filmed in the Notre-Dame-de-Vie hall during the filming of Picasso, war, love and peacechatting with a taxi driver in Nice or holding a sun that he had bought at a fair.

Added to these professional photographs are others taken from family albums. All of them perfectly capture that drive of genius to build and spread his image. He even made a nice friendship with some of his photographers. He was, for example, the godfather of Clergue’s second daughter.

Lucien Clergue: ‘Pablo Picasso, Paco Muñoz and the antique dealer Affentranger in his Arles business’, March 30, 1959 © Atelier Lucien Clergue © Succession Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2023

Edward Burtynsky. African Studies

CenterCenter. From June 9 to October 1

The footprint of industrialized society on the planet, marked by an extractivist policy and agriculture that is not very respectful of the environment, is strongly rooted in the artistic agenda of recent years. The Canadian Edward Burtynsky (1955) documents in African Studies. Landscapes how these actions shape nature in sub-Saharan African countries.

From the diamond mines in to the salt flats of Senegal –a subject he is passionate about– or the roads that in Ethiopia move resources from one point to another, he takes aerial images in vibrant colors that intentionally confuse the eye with abstract brush paintings. Its objective is that: to destabilize our gaze and to ask ourselves if what we see is real. Unfortunately it is. Here there is no montage but a reflection of the impact of the hand of man on the landscape.

Edward Burtynsky: ‘Gold Tailings #1, Doornkop Gold Mine, Johannesburg, South Africa’, 2018 © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gal., Toronto / Flowers Gal., London

Madrid: creative chronicle of the 80s

Channel Foundation. Until the 20th of August

The city of Madrid is also the protagonist of this choral exhibition that brings together great names from the Movida such as El Hortelano, Ceesepe, Costus, Alberto Corazón, José María Sicilia, Miguel Trillo, Alberto García-Alix, Ouka Leele and Cristina García Rodero for remember the creative explosion of the eighties in many more fields than the artistic one.

Do not miss Pedro Almodóvar in 1988 together with some very young Loles León, María Barranco and Rossy de Palma, photographed by Jordi Socías; El Hortelano portrayed by Ouka Leele with acid colors and an extravagant whiting headdress that bites its tail, or Antonio and Nacho G. Vega (Nacha Pop) seen by Alejandro Cabrera in 1985. More than 300 works in total that have their continuation at the Serrería Belga, with an exhibition dedicated to the photojournalist Mariví Ibarrola, who documented the music scene of that period in detail.

Luis de las Alas: ‘Rockers. Madrid, 1985’ © Luis de las Alas

Jose Manuel Ballester. From Arboris Perennis

Royal Botanical Garden. From June 1 to August 27

“Life is what happens while a tree grows”, writes Carlos del Amor in the catalog of this exhibition by José Manuel Ballester (Madrid, 1960), National Photography Award in 2010, dedicated to these plants that are increasingly in danger in our cities. The project, which will be presented at the Botanical Garden in an obvious nod to the venue, underlines the need to recover our link with nature. Ballester makes use of his two usual strategies: landscape photography and painting photography.

in the series hidden spaces He removes with Photoshop the elements that do not interest him from the scenes of Giotto, Botticelli or Goya, creating these tense absences, which add new meanings to the images. Details of branches and trunks in natural and urban environments complete this ensemble curated by Lola Durán.

José Manuel Ballester: ‘Climbing Mount Tai’, 2011 © JOSÉ MANUEL BALLESTER

Bleda and Rosa

ICO Museum. From May 31 to September 10

The second national highlight of this PHotoEspaña is another National Award, in this case from 2008. María Bleda (Castellón, 1969) and José María Rosa (Albacete, 1970), Bleda and Rosa, have spent three decades on the other side of the camera reflecting about how the landscape is configuredthe multiple layers of reading that emerge from its representation, time, history and memory.

The retrospective dedicated to them by the ICO Museum, which could already be seen at the KBr Center in Barcelona, takes the form of a large video installation in which there is no lack of his first works from the early nineties, Football fields and battlefields. Its approach to the architectural field is also important, especially to spaces marked by history (archaeological sites, old villas) in which they question, in the words of the curator, Marta Dahó, how memory is articulated around the ruin and the past is musealized.

Bleda and Rosa: ‘Stays. Summer Palace. Beijing’, 2005 © Bleda y Rosa, VEGAP, Madrid, 2023

Fine Miralles. The tree woman, the water woman

Circle of Fine Arts. From May 30 to September 3

It is always a pleasure to rediscover the already iconic photographs of the actions of Fina Miralles (Sabadell, 1950) from the 1970s, the same decade in which she participated in the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Already at that time, the land, nature and life, so in vogue today, were the essential elements of his work. She buried herself and covered with leaves in Translations. woman-tree and locked himself in a cage like one more animal in zoo images to denounce the cruelty of these spaces.

Currently marked by certain physical limitations, these did not prevent her from recording, barely ten years ago, the video The trail of the mermaid. These and other works will now be shown at the Círculo de Bellas Artes. They come from the MACBA Collection, the museum that dedicated its great retrospective to him in 2020. The two exhibitions, the one from then and the one from now, are curated by Teresa Grandas.

Fine Miralles: ‘Relationships. Relationship of the body with natural elements. The body covered with straw’ (detail), 1975 © Fina Miralles. MACBA Collection

Alice Austen

Museum of Romanticism. From June 1 to September 3

Alice Austen (1866-1952) was a pioneer of American photography at the end of the 19th century who knew how to document the transformations of New York City, with special attention to immigrant groups, the working classes and, above all, relations between women. Inseparable from his camera since his uncle introduced him to the world of photography when he was barely 11 years old, he portrayed the explicitly homosexual intimacy of his closest entourage at The Darned Club, on select Staten Island in full victorian society.

The Museum of Romanticism shows a selection of the more than 7,000 works that he made, where they appear characterized as men, smoking, riding a bicycle and with an affectionate attitude. A subject that Marie Høeg and Bolette Berg also delved into, with an exhibition at the Círculo de Bellas Artes, in the same years as Austen in Norway

Alice Austen: ‘The Darned Club, October 29’, 1891 © E. ALICE AUSTEN. COLLECTION OF HISTORIC RICHMOND TOWN

Miralda. Cowboy’s Dream

Circle of Fine Arts. From May 30 to September 17

It is the moment of Antoni Miralda (Terrassa, 1942), with several exhibitions that coincide in time and that reveal the different facets of this multidisciplinary artist, something kitschwho has been distinguished by his interest in the popular, in food as a sociological and cultural phenomenon.

To the exhibition that the Moisés Pérez de Albéniz gallery dedicated to him last PHE, with unpublished black and white photographs from the 70s and 80s, is added this new selection from the Círculo de Bellas Artes of snapshots from its archive taken between 1961 and 1991 in Europe and the United States. They are everyday moments that reflect very well where the artist puts his eye: traditional and festive scenes in which a sense of humor is never lacking. Bombas Gens Center d’Art is now exhibiting its gondola shoe in Valencia and in June La Virreina de Barcelona will show his collaborations with ELLE magazine between 1964 and 1971.

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