Kerry James Marshall exhibition in Reina Sofía Museum and Tàpies Foundation.

What defines a race? What defines black race? What themes shapes African American culture? The exhibition "Kerry James: painting and other things" addresses these issues through art and from a variety of perspectives that focus on socio-political, anthropological and cultural issues related to black identity, the blackness.
Kerry James Marshall (Birmingham, Alabama, 1955) portrays the African American culture and also forces us to review Western aesthetics through painting, photography, video and installation in the first solo retrospective in Europe. It comes to Spain thanks to the Antoni Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona and Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. 
 
The artist, with his art works, remarks "the absence of the black subject in the Western iconographic canon, and reflects on the invisibility of marginalized groups in artistic representations".
 
And to fill this gap in the collective imagination, Kerry James Marshall uses painting as a reflection to reinforce an idea: "One can not be born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1955 and raised in South Los Angeles, near the headquarters of the Black Panthers Party, and not assume some kind of social responsibility".
 
Because the artist lived firsthand - participant spectator - social and civil unrest of the turbulent 60's and 70's of the last century, black identity is the spine of his work, such as gender, such as race and as citizen. Marshall himself explained to the Reina Sofia Museum that "The world I see is filtered through a lens of black culture".
 
The presence-absence of black culture in society is reflected in his black silhouettes on dark background, very characteristics of his works, and in contrast to the naive and colorful explosion of his large-scale works with fabrics and prints of African tradition and pop scenes with a fully folk narrative.
 
The exhibition co-organized by the Reina Sofía Museum (Madrid) and Antoni Tàpies Foundation (Barcelona), also has two different lines, while in Barcelona we find the latest works of the creator either paintings or photography, video and installation; in Madrid it is the bulk of his earlier pictorial production before the year 2000. 
 
Kerry James Marshall constructs the black identity, the blackness, across the mirror of the dominant reality and he ask us which side we found ourselves. 
 
"Kerry James Marshall. Painting and other things". From June 11 to October 26, 2014. Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona and Centro de Arte Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid.
 

 

The CEART opens this Thursday, November 14th in the room A an exhibition dedicated to this master of photography, which will be open to the public until February 9th. The show includes one of the artist's latest projects, focused on the hard work carried out by the miners of Serra Pelada, an open gold mine in the heart of Brazil where employees daily risked their lives.

Immigration, poverty, marginal life, slave labour, man's relationship with the land, the use of natural resources... are issues that have always fascinated Salgado. From the beginning of his career as a photographer, his work has opted to give visibility to the most disadvantaged groups and to create with his images a vivid and impressive visual story without fakes. With a raw black and white, this author's work transits between photo-reportage and naturalistic photography.

And the idea that permeates all his work is human dignity. Salgado portrays employees, miners and gatherers from a purely humanistic approach that wants to value their integrity, their strength and their resilience.

“If you photograph a human, so that he is not represented in a noble way, there is no reason to take the picture. That is my way of seeing things.”

Salgado entered this discipline long after completing his studies in economics between Brazil and the United States, and a doctorate in statistics in France. But in 1973 his life took a turn, and he decided to start his career as a photographer. He achieved to work at the Gamma Agency and Magnum Photos for more than 15 years until in 1994 he founded his own agency “Amazonas Imagen”.

With the “Gold” project, the photographer portrays a harsh reality that takes place in the Serra Pelada mine, a name given to a totally devastated and anarchically excavated mining enclave, the world's largest open-pit gold mine, through which more than 50,000 people have passed. In the heat of the legends about the mysterious “El Dorado”, the enthusiasm for this precious metal led to the development of strenuous exploitation practices for the workers and to originate tales of grief and glory, of human victory and defeat between the soil, the tunnels and the cargo baskets.

The CEART exhibition brings together Salgado's full portfolio in his characteristical black and white and large-format photographs that leave no one indifferent.