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Cristina Lucas / © Cristina Lucas
Eduardo Nave / © Eduardo Nave; VEGAP
Eric Baudelaire / © Eric Baudelaire; ADAGP
Luc Delahaye / © Luc Delahaye; ADAGP
Mohamed Bourouissa / © Mohamed Bourouissa
Paolo Ventura / © Paolo Ventura
Shai Kremer / © Shai Kremer
Paola De Pietri / © Paola De Pietri
Photo: MARCO/Janite
Photo: MARCO/Janite
Photo: MARCO/Janite
Photo: MARCO/Janite



7 February 2014 - 25 May 2014
Exhibition galleries on the 1st floor
Tuesdays to Saturdays (including bank holidays) from 11am to 2.30pm and from 5pm to 9pm. Sundays, from 11am to 2.30pm
PHotoEspaña. With the collaboration of Hôtel des Arts, Toulon
Oliva María Rubio


Eric Baudelaire (Salt Lake City, USA, 1973; lives and works in Paris)

Mohamed Bourouissa (Blida, Algeria, 1978; lives and works in Paris)

Luc Delahaye (Tours, France, 1960; lives and works in Paris)

Shai Kremer (Kibboutz Gaash, Israel, 1974; lives and works in New York and Tel Aviv, Israel)

Cristina Lucas (Jaén, Spain, 1973; lives and works in Madrid and Amsterdam)

Eduardo Nave (Valencia, Spain, 1976; lives and works in Madrid)

Paola De Pietri (Reggio Emilia, Italy, 1960; lives and works in Reggio Emilia)

Paolo Ventura (Milan, Italy, 1968; lives and works in New York)


The exhibition ‘HISTORY, SEEN BY ARTISTS’, considers different views, different ways of approaching historical events through eight artists who work with photography, video and installation. Premiered at Hôtel des Arts, Toulon, France, by the end of 2013, the show arrives at MARCO Vigo to be exhibited until the end of May. Right after it will be shown at PHotoEspaña, Madrid, during June and July 2014.


  • Hôtel des Arts, Centre d’Art du Consell Général du Var, Toulon, France (Oct 2013-Jan 2014)
  • MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo (Feb-May 2014)
  • PHotoEspaña, Madrid (June-July 2014)


Members of the museum staff are available in the halls to provide visitors with information, in addition to the regular guided tours:

  • Every day at 6 pm
  • ‘A la carte’ tours for groups, by appointment at the tel. 986 113 900


Through eight artists who work with photography, video and installation, the exhibition titled HISTORY, SEEN BY ARTISTS considers different views, different ways of approaching historical events from the present and the past. All of them share the desire to reflect on said events but do so from different viewpoints that have more to do with that of artist than press or documentary photographer. Most of these artists work with constructed images, i.e. they appeal to that “making images”, as pointed out by Hans Belting in his An Anthropology of Images. Accordingly, they place the demonstrative or indicial character of the photographic medium in doubt.

We see that several of these authors are particularly sensitive to war conflicts that have marked the history of the 20th century, and other more recent conflicts. However, the approach to these conflicts is always made indirectly. Some even look at events that are happening today and do so without leaving their workshops. Their work is not and does not claim to be any kind of press or documentary documentation of events. Nevertheless, from that distant position, they offer other points of view, other ways of approaching and observing reality, looking at and representing the world at a time when old traditions and labels (report, documentary, photojournalism) are being constantly questioned, at a time when photography is no longer considered as the bearer of truth and, therefore, is susceptible to lies. At a time when the frontiers between reality and fiction are becoming more and more undefined.

Since the 1980s, many artists have used photography to subvert and reinvent war photography, entering into conflict with photojournalists and reporter-photographers, who see themselves as the real narrators of the conflicts since they hold the notion of authenticity as fundamental. But from the moment when the subjectiveness of documentary photography is confirmed, that snapped images are also arbitrary and subjective (since they depend on the author's position, on the decision about what to photograph or highlight and what not, as well as on his/her nationality or political ideology), that digital cameras, scanners and electronic retouch software at the beginning of the 1990s have undermined the ideological foundations of photography (truth and memory), the crisis of photography as a document of reality has continued to worsen. Working from a distance, these artists have touched a raw nerve of photography that saw itself as a faithful document of reality but which is susceptible to all forms of manipulation.

Other authors approach events we could refer to as the “small history”, that which, after questioning the great narratives, has also been considered as part of the many possible histories that make up reality. These authors approach events such as the riots that took place in France in 2005 following the death of two young African Moslems, which led hundreds of young people to fight against the police, the Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II as part of the meeting for the creation of new cardinals, the terrorist attacks by the Basque organisation ETA, the trial of Milošević and the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010. Finally, there are artists who approach the history of universal suffrage or resort to a historical event that has already been represented and reinterpret it, creating a new narrative based on it, putting their finger on the tricks that history often plays on us.

These works ask us about the different ways of representing reality and showing the marks, wounds and scars left behind by history in a subtle and distant way in a world of upheaval where certainty has disappeared and the frontier between reality and fiction is becoming less and less defined.

Oliva María Rubio
[Exhibition’s Curator]


The Dreadful Details, carried out by Eric Baudelaire in a film studio on the outskirts of Los Angeles, stages an act of war in Iraq. A kind of tableau vivant of horror that condenses the clichés of war images and the way they are represented in the mass media: soldiers shooting, dead bodies spread out on the ground, women crying, columns of smoke… Baudelaire plays in close contact with the documentary image, but resorts to artificial scenarios. He recreates a scenario in which everything is false, everything is constructed, as if it were a historical painting from the 19th century. He uses the scenes as a means of not only questioning the truthfulness of the images, but also exploring the production and reception of the images that are transmitted in the media after the war and disasters; a concept that is unavoidable in today's world, in which a whirlpool of images invades our lives on a daily basis.

In his first individual exhibition, held at a New York gallery, Baudelaire presented this work and a stack of posters that reproduced a quote from Leonardo da Vinci's instructions on the best way of painting a battle. This established a historical genealogy of his work and a connection point with historical paintings.



This series Péripherique (2005-2008) is the first in which Mohamed Bourouissa uses staging in his photographs. It is an evocation (a kind of photographic allegory as he defines it) of the riots that began in Clichy-sous-Bois, near Paris, on 27 October 2005 following the deaths of two young African Moslems. The riots spread immediately to other French and European cities, with hundreds of young people fighting the police. An event that revealed the discontent and tension between rich cities and marginal areas, together with their precarious coexistence.

However, beyond evocation, Bourouissa's photographs in this series show young people on the outskirts in their everyday life. Many of the photographs show violence which, albeit more evident in some and more latent in others, constitutes the base of his work. Groups of young people, mainly men, in interiors and exteriors, stand in a kind of waiting space in which anything could happen. Bourouissa also plays with the proximity of documentary photography and subverts it by composing his images, drawing the scenes beforehand as if he were a painter.



Luc Delahaye (who began as a reporter attached to Magnum Photos between 1984 and 2004) works on the news event. His large format pictures, documents of an immediate history, are characterized by detachment and directness, in a documentary style approach which is countered by dramatic intensity and a narrative structure. Contradictory forces operate in his pictures. The very presence to the real, which he's pursuing in the dialectic game of absence to the self, coexists with the coldness and distance of the gaze. His focus on the recording process paradoxically transcends the “photographic” aspect of the work. And the unromantic clarity of the documentary style contradicts and enhances the dramatic intensity coming from the subject and the spectacular form of the tableau. Despite its visual coherence, the image expresses a nub of formal tensions, aesthetic and political stakes. It urges a reflection about the relationship between art, history and information.

Four photographs are shown in the exhibition: Jenin Refugee Camp (2002), was made in the Israeli-occupied territories; The Milosevic Trial (2002) at the opening of the trial in The Hague of Slobodan Milosevic, former president of Yugoslavia; Ordinary Public Consistory (2003) during a ceremony, at Saint Peter basilica, in which Pope John-Paul II named new cardinals; Camp Texaco, Port-au-Prince (2010), after the earthquake which occurred in Haiti.



In his series Infected Ladscapes, Shai Kremer focuses on the marks left behind by the army on the Israeli landscape and Israeli society; he does not work directly with the conflict, but rather with its consequences. Through these images, Shai Kremer describes a landscape full of scars and the marks of a conflict that is never-ending. Defence walls and fences, soldiers' footprints, rubble in the middle of the road, visualisation platforms, training areas, explosions, burnt fields, bases and houses that have been abandoned and destroyed, bullet holes in walls, etc. A string of imprints that mark the landscape, transforming it and converting it into the battlefield it is today. To do this work, the artist moves away and refrains from taking photographs of the landscape when the actions are occurring, not even photographs of the army in said actions; instead, he approaches the work in a more subtle manner and time, inviting spectators to think, analyse and look at the landscape as a platform for discussion.

His images reflect the psychological trauma and ambivalence that results from living in a world of friction. The scars hidden in the landscape would correspond to the wounds that afflict the country's unconscious collective. His photographs show how each plot of land is “infected” by the marks and sediment of the current conflict.


In this video-installation La Liberté Raisonnée, Cristina Lucas uses the image painted by Eugène Delacroix in Liberty Leading the People (1830), the image par excellence of the revolution in art, and animates the instant the painting shows, creating a filmic sequence in which the characters in the composition come to life: the female allegory, often used to symbolise concepts of freedom, justice and victory, that which leads the heroic scene of people rising up in arms to fight for their freedom, becomes the object of desire of the male crowd in the artist's video and she is pursued, beaten and assaulted. With her reinterpretation of the painting by Delacroix and her distant, critical view, Cristina Lucas shows how the glorification of the woman, her symbolic and allegorical character, which has been used so many times throughout history, is nothing more than a way of keeping her petrified, immobile, out of the world and reality.

The main reason behind the conversion from subject to citizen in each country is obtaining the right to vote, which enables people to give their opinion on matters that concern the state-nation to which they belong. In her video-installation, Light Years (2009), Cristina Lucas proposes visualising universal suffrage. With this piece, Lucas develops the cartography of universal suffrage, a construction of the world map of the vote in chronological order, as the right is achieved in different countries. To do this, Lucas begins with the revolutions of the 18th century and takes the signing of “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens”, approved by the National Assembly of France on 26 August 1789 as a document, where almost half the population is excluded, even in the title itself.



With this project, A la hora, en el lugar (2008-2013), Eduardo Nave approaches the subject of memory of place by visiting places that suffered violent terrorist attacks by Euskadi ta Askatasuna (ETA), a Basque terrorist organisation that has committed more than 800 murders across Spain and France since the 1960s. Eduardo Nave took 75 photographs for the project at the same time and in the exact place where the attacks took place, years after their occurrence. They are a call for memory, for remembering. An attempt at rescuing the empty, silent scenarios that are laden with stillness and once witnessed tragedy from oblivion.

Eduardo Nave's photographs were taken without people; they are peaceful and even beautiful images that reveal their tragic side when we read the titles with exact information about the events that took place and the people who once lost their lives there. Eduardo Nave’s photographs fill the absences caused by injustice with a presence and bring us closer to the events of the recent past, seeking to maintain that which is missed, to rescue from oblivion the pain and tragedy experienced by these ordinary places that were made extraordinary by terrorism.



In her series To Face (2008-2011), Paola De Pietri evokes places that are laden with history: the Alps, the pre-Alps and the Karst. During the First World War these landscapes that belong to the Austrian-Italian border saw battles take place at unthinkable heights, where environmental difficulties and meteorological conditions made the fighting that took place there even worse. These places became the homes of thousands of soldiers.

Almost one century later, De Pietri returns to these places, which are today apparently peaceful landscapes that once witnessed violent fighting, in search of the fine threads of memory, the traces of the past in the present. For several years, he visited these places and explored the mountains in depth to photograph the remains, the still visible marks of the soldiers' lives and the battles that took place there: stone walls, caves, forts, peaks affected by the explosion of mines, craters caused by the explosions of thousands of missiles, huts in ruins, tombs and trenches, etc. Attenuated by the passing of time and the action of nature, sometimes hidden under the vegetation, these marks appear in De Pietri's photographs like a sign against oblivion. And they show how the landscape has been changed by man and shaped by the action of history. A work that takes us back to a crucial, painful moment in the history of the 20th century and brings the horrors of the past.



The photographs in the series War Souvenir (2005) by Paolo Ventura take us back to the Second World War; however, they do not recreate direct combat, but rather situations that correspond to the prelude, the day after and the ceasefire in times of war, since what the artist was interested in showing was situations of everyday life and their influence on people's lives: love, abandonment, death, etc. This is what happens in his photographs, like a film, dancing, farewells, arrests, interrogations, humiliations, deaths and suicides, etc.

Ventura works from memory, from stories about the war he heard at home, which he keeps in his memory and reconstructs in narrative images created with his own hands. He uses dolls and toys to build the characters and the scenarios on which the actions take place. The somewhat “aged” appearance of these photographs, as if they had been found in an archive abandoned in a cellar somewhere, seeks to introduce a new layer of reality on the already realistic, but false, photographs. The details of the compositions, the care with which the situations and expressions are constructed, the precision of the titles ask us about the realism in the photograph and speak to us of war as representation. An evocative view laden with melancholy that takes us back to a distant, now disappeared past and to a time of death and destruction.


Oliva María Rubio

PhD Art History-Department of Philosophy and Letters at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Oliva María Rubio has worked as General Coordinator, Vice-Director and General Curator at PHotoEspaña. She has written the book La mirada interior. El surrealismo y la pintura (Madrid, Tecnos, 1994), and also a number of articles in exhibition catalogues, magazines and newspapers. She is now Artistic Director of the Exhibitions Department at La Fabrica. She has curated, among others, the exhibitions ‘László Moholy-Nagy: el arte de la luz’; ‘Luis Gordillo. Retrovisor’; and ‘Margaret Bourke-White. Momentos de la historia’