Portraits. Fundación MAPFRE photography collection

JUN.22.2017           SEP.03.2017

Fundación MAPFRE Recoletos Exhibition Hall

Harry Callahan
Chicago, 1950
From the Women lost in though series
Fundación MAPFRE Collections, FM000572
© The Estate of Harry Callahan, cortesía de Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

Home > Art and Culture > Exhibitions > Past exhibitions > Exhibitions in 2017 > Portraits. Fundación MAPFRE photography collection



JUN.22.2017         SEP.03.2017


Recoletos Exhibition Hall
Paseo Recoletos 23, 28004 Madrid

From 22 June until 3 September at the Fundación MAPFRE Recoletos exhibition hall, a selection awaits you of over 100 works by different artists, from our photography collection.

The focal point of this exhibition is the portrait of the 20th century, in which different artists from all around the world and historical moments approach the human figure in a variety of ways.

The exhibition, Portraits. Fundación MAPFRE photography collection, is produced by Fundación MAPFRE and curated by Carlos Gollonet.

Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Harry Callahan, Joan Colom, Dayanita Singh, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Alberto García-Alix, Cristina García Rodero, Emmet Gowin, John Gutmann, Jitka Hanzlová, Graciela Iturbide, Richard Learoyd, Helen Levitt, Anna Malagrida,  Fernando Maquieira, Lisette Model, Robert Frank, Fazal Sheikh, Paul Strand and Garry Winogrand are the photographers chosen to shape this portrait profile in photography of the 20th century.

The exhibition is arranged in three major parts: “Cities”, “Communities” and “Artists and models”. Through them, we shall travel in time and to the place, to recognize influences and to indicate significant parallelisms between artists from 1916 to 2013. We shall find authors who are a benchmark in the history of photography, and also those less familiar, but all sharing a particular view on the central theme of the exhibition.

It has been attempted to favor the collective vitality of the whole group, above individual achievements, however outstanding or influential some of them may be.  We intend to give a view that helps to understand the complexity and wealth of the portrait in contemporary photography, and hence perceive and appreciate the immense creative ability of the artists represented here.

The selection presented contemplates a wider view of the portrait. There are examples of the formal, prearranged studio portrait, which is the most widely recognized, such as portraits by Jitka Hanzlová. but other different modalities are also included: Fleeting street portraits,  in which the characters portrayed are unaware of the camera (Helen Levitt, Harry Callahan); the  urban portrait by Diane Arbus; portraits that give visibility to an entire community, like those by Paul Strand; committed portraits with a heavy social burden, such as those by Fazal Sheik,  intimate and family portraits by Emmet Gowin; ironic self-portraits by Friedlander or Graciela Iturbide, which reflect their obsessions.

Collection: A collection is the background of the gaze  that forms it, and also history, in this specific case of  photography of the 20th century. We get a glimpse of the evolution of creativity of the human being, and the extraordinary adventure that has involved  the way of portraying ourselves over time.

Cities: Portrayal of street life, reflecting one of the  most dynamic traditions of photography in the 20th century, scenes where the theater of life is truly developed. Some of the artists found in this section are Walker Evans, Lisette Model, John Gutmann, Helen Levitt, Joan Colom, Harry Callahan, Diane Arbus, Alberto García Alix, Garry Winogrand and Robert Adams.

Communities: Focus is made on artists, who like Paul Strand, portray communities, people,human groups. In some of them, we shall discover social implications  such as the work by Fazal Sheikh and Cristina García Rodero, and also artists when the portrait becomes  a personal search, like Dayanita Singh or Jitka Hanzlová.

Artists and models: At the end of the 20th century the artist studio and inside places took on renewed vitality . This is the key point of the last section of this exhibition, which includes a selection of self-portraits, present in photography from the start, and which have always given the artist the possibility of constructing their own image.


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