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Photography and art. Variations in Spain 1900-1980

Photography and art. Variations in Spain 1900-1980


6 February 2004 - 16 May 2004
Ground floor
Tuesdays to Sundays (including public holidays), from 11.00 am to 9.00 pm.
MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea / CAAM, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno / Photoespaña
Horacio Fernández

Works on exhibition

The exhibition is made up of a selection of approximately 320 photographs, which are accompanied by supporting documentary material: books, catalogues, reviews and press articles.

Tour Venues

  • MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo (February 6 - May 16 2004)
  • PHOTOESPAÑA, Centro Cultural de la Villa de Madrid (June 2 - July 18 2004)
  • CAAM, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno de Las Palmas (September 28 - December 5 2004)




Only two weeks after the opening of O Feito Fotográfico, the MARCO of Vigo is presenting another photography exhibition entitled PHOTOGRAPHY AND ART. Variations in Spain 1900-1980, with which it completes its programme for this term on the subject of 20th century photography in its cultural and artistic dimension.

For the occasion, we have traced a historical and visual journey through the photography in Spain between the years 1900 and 1980. The subtitle, "Variations in Spain", points to the thematic axis of the exhibition, for it is not about Spanish photographers, but about photographs taken in Spain (or about Spain) at different times in its history, by both Spanish and foreign photographers, and here is where one of its foremost points of interest lies.

The chronological limits are the early 20th century and the years of the transition to democracy. It was decided that the exhibition should end here not only because of the period's symbolic significance, but also because this was when photography ceased to offer an independent account and became a part of a wider narrative: the history of visual culture.

Many of the works on display have never been seen before, and many are vintage. They come from both private collections, often those of the photographers themselves or of their families, and public collections: the General Administrative Archive (Alcalá de Henares), the Biblioteca Nacional (Madrid), the Bill Brandt Archive (London), the Center for Creative Photography (Tucson), the Photographic Funds of the University of Navarre (Pamplona), Georges Eastman House (Rochester), Instituto de Crédito Oficial (Madrid), Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (Valencia), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Museo de Pontevedra, Residencia de Estudiantes (Madrid).

Thirty-eight photographers and over 300 prints speak to us of the relationships between photography and art and offer a plurality of viewpoints from, and about, Spain. They show the intersections between the different pictorial/photographic genres, such as the portrait and landscape, and between plastic and technological supports, inviting us to witness the history of photographic art in the last century.

It was decided that the number of photographers should be limited in order to show representative selections of their works and avoid dispersion. Most of the photographers are represented by a good selection of images, mainly photographs, although some publications are included (reviews, photo-books, posters) where the images were first seen. The themes treated are urban life, landscape, popular types, urban and marginal types, scenes of tourism, ethnographic documentaries, montages of political propaganda, press pictures, portraits and the documentation of actions and artistic processes.

The hanging of the works is structured into five chronological and thematic sections, which go from the pre-modern photographic languages and the images of human themes and landscape at the turn of the century (Álvarez de Toledo, Campañá, Langdon, Mas, Coburn, Ortiz Echagüe), including the ‘modern photography' of the 1930s (Benítez, Bill Brandt, Cartier-Bresson, Casas, de Kaskel, Krull, Munkacsi, Paniagua, and the Galician José Suárez), to the importance of photography as a documental testimony and vehicle for propaganda during the Spanish Civil War (Heartfield, Angel, Misiones Pedagógicas, Reuter, Renau, Val del Omar), and the group of photographers of the postwar period (Cualladó, Frank, Juanes, Maspons, Pérez Siquier, Smith, Virxilio Vieitez, Vielba), where special attention is paid to the group TMM -Terré, Miserachs, Masats- three of our country's most outstanding documentalist photographers, who held collective exhibitions in Barcelona in 1957 and 1959. The exhibition closes with works by plastic artists who used photography as a vehicle for expression in the mid seventies (Fontcuberta, García Rodero, Gordillo, Hidalso, Llena, Millares, Pazos and Valcárcel Medina).

In another gallery we have included, due to its great documentary and symbolic value, a reproduction of the photomontage made by Josep Renau and colleagues for the Spanish Pavilion of the International Exhibition in Paris in 1937, in which two female figures symbolise the winds of change and new hope that were taking place at that time.

From the museum's perspective, the importance of this show lies not only in the wonderful quality of the exhibits and the variety of the accompanying documents, but in the efforts on the part of the various organisms involved: the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno de Las Palmas and the MARCO of Vigo in co-production, and La Fábrica / PhotoEspaña, whose collaboration was indispensable. Not for nothing is the curator, Horacio Fernández, the artistic director of PhotoEspaña 2004, the most important photography festival in Spain.



    Adalberto Benítez
    Adolf Mas
    Antoni Campañá
    Antoni Llena
    Bill Brandt
    Carlos Pazos
    Carlos Pérez Siquier
    Cecilio Paniagua
    Cristina García Rodero
    Fina Miralles
    Gabriel Casas
    Gerardo Vielba
    Germaine Krull
    Gonzalo Juanes
    Henri Cartier-Bresson
    Isidoro Valcárcel Medina
    Jalón Ángel
    Joan Fontcuberta
    John Heartfield
    José María Álvarez de Toledo
    José Ortiz Echagüe
    José Suárez
    Josep Renau
    Juan Hidalgo
    Luis Gordillo
    Martin Munkacsi
    Misiones Pedagógicas
    Oriol Maspons
    Ramón Masats
    Ricard Terré
    Robert Frank
    Sibylle de Kaskel
    Virxilio Vieitez
    W. Eugene Smith
    Walter Reuter
    Xavier Miserachs


Horacio Fernández

Horacio Fernández, currently the artistic director of PhotoEspaña, is an art historian and teacher of the History of Photography at the University of Castilla-La Mancha. He has organised exhibitions on the history of photography, notably Mexicana. La fotografía moderna en México 1923-1940 (IVAM, Valencia, 1998) and Fotografía pública (MNCARS Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao, 1999), whose catalogue is his main publication. He has collaborated as a critic of contemporary art in newspapers such as El Mundo, and the reviews Buades, El Europeo and Kalias. He is the author of a number of essays on art and photography.