The Director of Culture and Scientific Divulgation Department of the "la Caixa" Foundation, Ignasi Miró, and the curator Florian Ebner presented this Tuesday at CaixaForum Madrid the exhibition "Camera and City. Urban life in photography and film". This is the first exhibition to come as a result of the agreement signed in July 2019 between the "la Caixa" Foundation and the Pompidou Centre to collaborate in the organisation of joint exhibitions until 2024.
As part of its cultural programme, the "la Caixa" Foundation pays particular attention to the most contemporary artistic expressions, those of the 20th and 21st centuries. Through its exhibitions on film and photography, the entity aims to show the influence of images on contemporary sensitivity and to highlight the role of the great visual creators of the 20th century in how we see the world. To this end, it has organised exhibitions dedicated to the great names of photography, such as Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Eugène Atget, Robert Doisneau, William Klein, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier- Bresson, Willy Ronis, Philippe Halsman and Robert Capa.
Now, the "la Caixa" Foundation is taking another step forward with this new project, together with the Pompidou Centre, a reference point in modern and contemporary art and holder of one of the most important photography collections in Europe. The exhibition "Camera and City" explores the intense relationship that photographers and filmmakers have maintained with the modern city throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
The streets, the architecture and the inhabitants of the cities have been seen through the lens of the camera from the very moment when photography was invented. In fact, photography and cinema evolve in parallel to the modern city and end up acting as direct testimonies of its transformation and of the most transcendental moments of its social, political, economic, urban and architectural history. Photographers and filmmakers have created a whole visual imaginary, both fixed and moving, of the modern city, where more than half of the world's population now lives.
The exhibition is curated by Florian Ebner, head of the Pompidou Centre's Photography Department, with the collaboration of Marta Dahó, doctor in Art History, researcher and teacher, who has advised on the selection of the pieces from the Spanish collections.
With 259 works by 81 artists, the exhibition offers a historical and thematic overview on the history of urban photography through photographs, films, videos and printed material covering almost a century, from the 1910s to the beginning of 2010, as well as a new area that includes current works related to the current health crisis. However, this tour does not aim to be simply a history of urban photography, but also a visual essay on the subject, which intersects with the profound social and urban transformations of cities.
The city is seen as a stage, playful or political, with its inhabitants as actors, in a long history of expansion and decline in which there have been moments of euphoria, loneliness, melancholy and revolt. The plays contain a theatrical dimension: performance, in an artistic sense, and participation, in a political sense.
Some of the crucial names in the international photographic discipline, such as László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Strand, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï, Robert Frank, Robert Doisneau, Diane Arbus, Margaret Michaelis, André Kertész, Alexandre Rocthenko and Lee Friedlander, are participating in the exhibition. Spanish photography dialogues on equal terms with the international works of authors such as Francesc Català-Roca, Leopoldo Pomés, Pilar Aymerich, Anna Malagrida, Agustí Centelles, Carlos Pérez de Rozas, Manel Armengol, Josep Brangulí, Joan Colom, Jorge Ribalta, Xavier Ribas and Francesc Torres.