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Exhibitions and Projects
12 October − 6 November 2016

Miguel de Cervantes

or the Wish to Live

The personage of Miguel de Cervantes often remained in the shadow of the glory of Don Quixote, the protagonist of his epic literary work. Cervantes, however, had a remarkable life story, which the organizers wished to tell in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of his death. Thus, photographer José Maniel Navia traced the writer’s footsteps and embarked on a journey that was as eventful as Cervantes’ and captured the travel in a subjective, evocative and radically modern way. Through these images, Cervantes’ time, both literary and real, is shown to mirror ours.

The result pays homage to a man and his life outside his literature. Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), Institut Cervantes, and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) organized the exhibition and co-published the book of the same title together with Ediciones Anómalas.

»In this work, undoubtedly one of my most personal, I wished to develop without restraints the intense and exciting relationship – to me a crucial one – between the image and the word, between photography and literature, always based on the importance that I as photographer ascribe to the idea of a trace (opposite to the idea of aura). To explore all of this, I allowed myself to base [my journey] on the life and work of one of the greatest writers, not only of Spain, but also of the world literature: Miguel de Cervantes. Surprises and uncertainty were constantly at the fore. Audacity is not insignificant. «

Photographer José Manuel Navia (Madrid, 1957) graduated in 1980. His work as a reporter led him to increasingly personal and sophisticated photography, which nevertheless remained documentary and in colour. Interested in the narrative power of photography and its connections to the literature and to the word, he completely focused on the preparation of the exhibition and book titled Miguel de Cervantes or a Wish to Livebetween 2014 and 2015. Nóstos, a book published together with Ediciones Anómalas (exhibition that was part of PhotoEspaña 2014), is a continuation of his more personal work that started with Pisadas sonámbulas: lusofonías (La Fábrica 2001 and 2008).

Besides the above prints, Navia’s work was also presented in other books and exhibitions, like: Cuenca en la mirada, 2014; Luz y Sombra, 2014; Un Madrid literario, 2009; Ciudades Patrimonio de la Humanidad, 2008; Antonio Machado, miradas, 2007; La creciente, 2006; Viaje a la Historia, 2005; Territorios del Quijote, 2004; Marruecos, fragmentos de lo cotidiano, 2003; Desde la catedral, 2003; Navia (PhotoBolsillo) 2001. The photographer also has cooperated in collective exhibitions and anthologies, including: Vu’15 ans; Viaje a Madrid;Saharauis, sólo el desierto; Diez Miradas; 100 fotógrafos españoles; Visiones de Marruecos; Agence VU’galerie; Photo by Photo and Diccionario de fotógrafos españoles.

Organization of the exhibition
Acción Cultural Española (AC/E)
Instituto Cervantes (IC)
Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID)

12 October − 6 November 2016
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana