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Exhibitions and Projects
19 January–11 March 2012

The Glance on the Other

Connections – Confrontations

Spanish National Photography Award (1994–2008)

The Glance on the Other is a group exhibition which presents a large part of the authors from the extensive list of recipients of the Spanish National Photography Award, set up by the Ministry of Culture of Spain in 1994. The exhibition is a veritable palette of a diverse range of approaches revealed to us in series, which disclose surprising connections between the otherwise so different artists. The intention of the exhibition is the elucidation of the richness, expressiveness, potency, imagination, brilliance and undeniable high quality of the photographers working in Spain. At the same time this exhibition – in its entirety and by viewing random photos – affords us a review of an important and characteristic period of the history of Spanish photography, spanning over the last sixty years. When viewing the exhibition as a whole, we can observe the development of individual artists, which is consistent with the transformation of Spanish society of the fifties to the present day; in a documentary sense, this can be observed in every photography exhibition.

Within the given time frame, different generations of photographers have made an impact on individual periods. After the Civil War, the pioneers of photography, like Cualladó, Masats, Pérez Siquier and Joan Colom, caught the humble Spain, burdened with its underdevelopment and lack of financial resources, and veiled in a kind of blackness, in family snapshots and photo reports on the degraded areas of Barcelona and Almeria, depicting a country between the extremes of poverty and the renewed air of development. Artists using the black and white technique adapted themselves easily and successfully to the livelier and more intense colours that suited the “different Spain”. This was followed by a new wave of various artists like Cristina García Rodero, Tony Catany, Humberto Rivas and Pablo Pérez-Mínguez. Oculta España by an artist from La Mancha, Cristina García Rodero, is a series of photographs, which was formed over fifteen years. It attracted international attention since a part of the collection was purchased by the Paul Getty Center for Ethnographic Studies. Collected in this exhibition are also the works of the mentioned photographers shot in Haiti and Ethiopia. Toni Catany is a distinguished artist, inspired by the ancient world and old photographic techniques. Through his work we approach the Mediterranean: we could place a particular emphasis on still-lifes and nudes, for which he draws inspiration from classical sculpture. Classicism and tranquillity is masterfully displayed by Argentinean photographer who has lived in Spain since the seventies, Humberto Rivas, a wizard of portraits and solitude, in whose work the passage of time can be perceived as a clear sign of identity. Pablo Pérez-Mínguez, the great cultural agitator since the times of the Nueva Lente magazine, represents a link with those artists of the Madrid movement that swerve more towards pop art, the so-called “movida”, such as Alberto García-Alix and Ouka Leele, whose work is characterized by the specific poetry imbued in it.

Not omitted from this great fresco of Spanish photography are conceptual artists, such as Joan Fontcuberta, Chema Madoz, Manuel Vilariño, Bleda and Rosa. The first, an important theoretician, could be ranged into “metaphotography”, in which digitization allows the deceptiveness of image and communication. Chema Madoz is a visual storyteller. He likes to use metaphors composed of impossible objects. A specific strength and personal reflection are the factors which – in a sense – dictate his style, which is shared by Galician Manuel Vilariño, a poetic, spiritual and symbolic artist. They feel close to nature and classical art, colour and texture playing a dominant role in their works. At the end, let us mention also Bleda y Rosa, a young photography duo living in London, where they create series in which the passage of time, history, the space and mark left by man’s trail are all very important.

Carmen de la Guerra Martín
Javier Díez Ballesteros

The exhibition was supported by
Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
Embassy of Spain in Ljubljana
National Gallery of Slovenia

Authorship of the exhibition and texts
Carmen de la Guerra Martín
Javier Díez Ballesteros

Dušan Benko, National Gallery of Slovenia
Mateja Breščak, National Gallery of Slovenia
Laia Ros, Embassy of Spain in Ljubljana

19 January–11 March 2012
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana