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Johan Hagemeyer. Tina Modotti as Maria de la Guarda in the film The Tiger's coat, Hollywood, 1920 © Johan Hagemeyer. Courtesy: Galerie Bilderwelt, Reinhard Schultz.
Johan Hagemeyer. Tina Modotti as Maria de la Guarda in the film The Tiger's coat, Hollywood, 1920 © Johan Hagemeyer. Courtesy: Galerie Bilderwelt, Reinhard Schultz.

PHotoEspaña celebrates its 25th anniversary

The renowned festival, which will take place in Spain between June 1 and August 28, will host 122 exhibitions and focus on documentary photography.

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If you're planning to travel to Spain in the coming months, make a note in your  calendar: the 25th edition of PHotoEspaña, the country's most prestigious photography festival, will be held from June 1 to Aug. 28 and will feature 120 exhibitions by 442 photographers and visual artists in different Spanish museums and cities.

For this 25th edition the festival will put the focus on documentary photography, which will give rise to a group exhibition spread between the Círculo de Bellas Artes and the one at Casa América in Madrid. 

Under the title 'Sculpting Reality', some 500 images of 29 authors will be shown, including great classics of this documentary genre, such as Walker Evans, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, Helen Levitt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Joel Meyerowitz, Susan Meiselas or Humberto Rivas.

The exhibition is a journey through documentary photography from the 1930s to the present day.

As one of the curators of the exhibition, Vicente Todolí, who was artistic director of the IVAM (Valencian Institute of Modern Art) between 1988 and 1996, and of the Tate Modern from 2003 to 2010, commented, the concept 'documentary style' was coined by the American photographer Walker Evans, and had a great influence since the early twentieth century. At first it was understood as a type of photography related to reportage and photojournalism, then it evolved in response to the need to experiment with photographic language, as Lee Friedlander or Garry Winogrand did, thus becoming part of artistic photography.

On the other hand, the Botanical Garden of Madrid will exhibit the new work of the renowned Spanish photographer Alberto García-Alix, winner of the 1999 National Photography Award. Under the title "Fantasías en el Prado" (Fantasies in the Prado), García-Alix has devoted himself to reinterpret through analog photography some of the masterpieces of the museum by superimposing images, according to Claude Bussac, director of PHotoEspaña.

More women

It is worth mentioning the effort made by PhotoEspaña to include more women photographers in the program.

On this occasion there will be three exhibitions in Madrid starring four women. The first is "The Amsterdam Boxes: Katia Horna and Margaret Michaels in the Civil War", dedicated to two anarchist photojournalists during the Spanish Civil War.

The second, at museo Cerralobo, is dedicated to Tina Modotti, an Italian photographer who spent most of her career in Mexico. A journey, through 120 images, through the biography and work of one of the great women of photography of the last century. With a very short career as a photographer, the Italian was able to create an aesthetic of great forcefulness, becoming also one of the main reporters of some of the most convulsive periods in the history of Mexico, the country where she lived and where she died at the age of 46.

tina modotti
Tina Modotti, Sombrero, martillo y hoz, 1927, Mexico © Tina Modotti. Courtesy: Galerie Bilderwelt, Reinhard Schultz.


Finally, the Círculo de Bellas Artes will showcase the work of Ana Palacios, a contemporary photographer who has dedicated herself to portraying the work of those who rescue and protect animals in order to keep them in sanctuaries.

At Casa de México, the exhibition 'Alas para volar' will present Frida Kalho's first solo show in Spain since 1985. The exhibition includes 31 original works by Kalho from two private collections: the Dolores Olmedo Patiño Museum collection and the Arvil Gallery.

For more information on PHotoEspaña's program and exhibitions, please visit the festival's website.

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