BRASSAÏ AND THE LOVE FOR THE IMAGE

The Mapfre Foundation Bárbara de Braganza showroom opens on Thursday, May 31st, an exhibition dedicated to Brassaï, a Hungarian photographer who began his career in the interwar period and achieved wide recognition with his personal work.

This is the second retrospective dedicated to the artist in our country since that exhibition organised in the Antoni Tàpies Foundation in 1993. 25 years later, the Mapfre Foundation approaches the work of Brassaï thanks to the collaboration of numerous institutions that have made possible the montage.

He was born in Brasov (in 1899, when it still belonged to Hungary). The European journey of this artist was diverse, and he lived in several cities before moving to France. Also, his education began at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Budapest, but then he quitted his studies to fight in the First World War. At the end of the conflict, he began working as a journalist in Berlin and later in Paris, at which point he turned his career around. In the French capital, he experienced an immediate connection with the surrealist language, and this interest led him to collaborate with Dalí, Picasso, Giacometti and Matisse, among others. The result of the creative alliance with Dalí is the collection of images "Involuntary sculptures", with which he began his personal path within photography.

Brassaï collected many elements of his day-to-day life and that he integrated into his compositions, often as mosaics or as story-boards with which to deconstruct, reform and interpret reality, something very typical of the artistic current he belonged to. However, his work is difficult to classify. We find the images of the urban graffiti of the Paris of the slums, the exploration of the nightlife, with "unfiltered" portraits of the brothels and the district police stations...

"Whether they like it or not, the painters of modern life are the photographers," said Brassaï in 1949. His fascination with the French capital led him to explore all its corners, to go beyond the magnificent and monumental beauty of the city, to look for the pulse of its busy and vertiginous life at the peak of the artistic movements of the first third of the century. This exhibition covers the broad career of this artist and his versatility in its purest form.

If visual arts arouse emotions in the viewer, and also gastronomy, at its finest, can cause a similar effect, the relationship between both "disciplines" is more than demonstrated.

Cheese is a fundamental piece in gastronomy, its diversity allows it to be part of gastronomy different moments, from starters to desserts, and that is why Art Madrid includes it in this year’s edition of the Fair from an ambitious place. Cheese is given this way a closest view to the creation of a work of art, both from the point of view of the time spent in its execution process and the almost personalized study dedicated to each piece during its elaboration.

Like a plastic artist, the Cheese Master Affineur executes a series of actions making each piece an exclusive and individualized element. This is what Madrid cheese factory QAVA de Quesos and its Master Afinador José Luis Martín achieve.

QAVA & MARTÍN AFINADOR is a new store concept: a unique space designed to taste, learn, promote and buy cheese in Madrid, in the heart of Retiro district."

José Luis Martín is a key piece in the QAVA cheese factory. He has been working in the cheese world for more than 30 years, providing training throughout the world, visiting cheese shops, consulting and advising on the design and implementation of one of the most emblematic cheese shops in Spain. The fact of knowing the producers personally, and even advising them on the manufacture and design of their products, allows him to select specific batches, at different stages of maturation, to complete the cheese ripening and then convert each piece into a unique product, different and with its own distinct character, the signature of the Cheese Master.

In the profile of the Master Martín Afinador experience and pure knowledge merge. Martín Afinador is an advisor and consultant for artisanal cheese factories and product design, and for the best-specialised stores in the country, director of Gourmetquesos, director and coordinator of the Championship of the Best Cheeses in Spain during nine editions, technical director and jury in national and international cheese competitions and tastings, collaborator of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Academy of Spanish Gastronomy, director and coordinator of the cheese section of the Repsol Guide to the Best Foods in Spain and trainer for hospitality schools and food centres teaching, among other activities.

Cheese ripening is a complex process that requires time and dedication, in addition to a developed use of the senses. The Cheese Master Affineur, as a specialist in the field, works in all cheese stages (varied and complex), controls all stages of raw material transformation, supervises the evolution and development of cheeses according to the characteristics of each one of them, verifies the quality and the state when the cheeses arrive at their cellars, checks their care and conservation, and; finally, he controls its packaging and the type of wrapping suitable for its best preservation.

In Qava de Quesos they have two Cheese Refining Cellars. In these "tuning caves" or refrigerated chambers designed in constant conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation, "we take great care of the cheeses until they reach their optimum point of consumption". The work of refining involves placing the cheeses on wooden shelves, turning them over daily and/or washing them frequently, brushing them periodically, as well as other regular handlings.

Among the services offered by Qava de Quesos, we can find specific courses and workshops, events for groups and companies, and advice on shop design and ripening rooms.