Vanessa Winship

Identity and vulnerability

Temporary

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Bárbara de Braganza Exhibition Hall. Bárbara de Braganza, 13. 28004 Madrid

This exhibition provided us with a tour of the different series that comprise the body of work of Vanessa Winship, one of the most well-known photographers on the international stage. From her first series dedicated to the Balkans to her work undertaken in Almeria in 2014, produced by Fundación MAPFRE and presented for the first time for this exhibition.

Since the 90s, Vanessa Winship (Barton-upon-Humber, United Kingdom, 1960) worked in lands which, in the collective imagination are associated with instability and the darkness of a recent past, as well as with the volatility of borders and identities. Her photography, the vast majority taken in black and white, demonstrate a deliberate moving away from the notion of photography as reporting, since this formal choice means, in the artist's own words “a marvelous instrument of abstraction that enables us to move between time and memory”.

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Art
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Exhibitions

The exhibition

The exhibition was organized as a chronological journey through each one of the series that comprises her work through a selection of 188 photographs.

The series Imagined States and Desires. A Balkan Journey, photographs taken on a trip through Albania, Serbia, Kosova and Athens between 1999 and 2003, marked a crucial step in the training of her photographic gaze and in her decision to escape from current affairs reporting or mere documentary photography.

In 2002 Vanessa Winship moved to the Black Sea region and traveled through Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria during the following eight years. Her work in this area gave rise to one of her most well-known series, Black Sea: Between Chronicle and Fiction.

The series Sweet Nothings: Schoolgirls of Eastern Anatolia (2007) is a grouping of portraits of schoolchildren from the rural area of Eastern Anatolia, an area that borders Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran.

Georgia, another region bathed by the Black Sea, is the setting for the series Georgia. Seeds Carried by the Wind which Vanessa Winship worked on between 2008 and 2010. The series fundamentally focuses on reflection through portraiture by carrying out a specific study of the faces that the photographer encountered.

In 2011 Vanessa Winship won the prestigious Henri Cartier Bresson photography prize. The project she received this award for gave rise to the series She Dances on Jackson. United States (2011-2012) which marked Winship's definitive interest in landscape photography, a genre which would slowly gain ground for her.

Before setting off on her trip to the United States, Winship worked in her native land, on the Humber estuary (2010), from which this series takes its name. In this series we are once again witness to the prominent place that landscapes will take in her work.

This process comes together masterfully in her most recent work, Almería. Where Gold Was Found (2014), which reaffirms her work as a landscape photographer; despite a complete absence of the human figure and the silence of this series, in each of her images we can almost hear the voices of those that once set foot in these places, steeped in this unseen presence.

Artwork credit:
Untitled, from the Black Sea series
Between Chronicle and Fiction, 2002-2010
© Vanessa Winship