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.

Thirteen years have passed since its beginnings, and in all this time the Video Art Festival PROYECTOR has grown and consolidated its position as an essential event in this discipline. Since its inception, the initiative has tried to give visibility to a discipline that has always been relegated to the background in the usual exhibition circuits. Although video creation is not new, since it emerged by its own in the 60s of last century, the way to get to know it and enjoy it has not always been easy. On many occasions, the exhibitions only included a few isolated pieces within the main route, as if the video was the anecdotal contribution to the whole. However, our daily lives are invaded by moving images, and there is a paradox that video art, despite being a format of artistic expression very much in tune with the habits of today's society, remains a minority discipline

Frame from “Hel City”, by Gregorio Méndez Sáez, 2019

To some extent, PROYECTOR was born to reverse this situation, to value video as a creative format and to offer a wide, itinerant space to host a multitude of proposals, coming from inside and outside our borders. In this time, the growth of the festival has led it to travel the world, but also, to be a benchmark that each year arouses more interest. In the open call to receive proposals, they reach almost half a thousand, and a hundred works selected by the jury are a representative sample of different ways of understanding video creation, with pieces mainly from Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

In turn, PROYECTOR wants to be more than a video showcase and offers a large program with talks, workshops, masterclasses, meetings with artists, visits and concerts. A complete experience that always has the moving image as a backdrop.

El Instante Francisco Ruiz de Infante. El bosque que se mueve (errores de medida)

In this evolution, another circumstance stands out: video is a creative format that has its own codes, but it is also one of the disciplines most open to artistic hybridization and the widening of uses. The video may, therefore, be the genuine idea of an author who conceives an autonomous project to be carried out in this format, but it can also be the complementary result of an action or the documentary record of a previous performance being recorded to guarantee its survival. The versatility of the moving image and the potential that it has acquired in recent years allows us today to speak of numerous branches of art that focus on the fusion of languages and the integration of techniques and methodologies from other sectors, and in many of them, the video is still a cornerstone. So it is with technological art, interactive sound art, performance recording, the transformation from big data to image, artificial intelligence, and a long etcetera. Precisely for this reason, PROYECTOR offers a panoramic vision of this reality, with an extremely interesting program that plays with the variety and wealth of proposals.

Frame from “Herdança”, by Thiago Rocha Pitta, 2007

The 2020 edition will run from September 9th to 20th. As usual, the program displays in various venues throughout the city of Madrid, each of which will house a small section of the activities. This year the festival will count with the collaboration of the Casa Árabe, White Lab, Cruce, El Instante Fundación, ¡ésta es una PLAZA!, Extensión AVAM (Matadero Madrid), Institut Français de Madrid, Medialab Prado, Quinta del Sordo, Sala Alcalá 31, Sala El Águila, Secuencia de Inútiles and White Lab, in addition to the collaboration of the INELCOM Collection and the video art collection of Teresa Sapey.

The festival is also the ideal place to articulate the cultural fabric, since it involves numerous professionals in the sector, from curators to creators, from centres managers to critics and teachers. The 2020 program also has the collaboration of the FUSO Festival and the Museo Reina Sofía, which are providing some of their pieces for the exhibition.

In short, an appointment that lovers of contemporary art should not miss and that promises many novelties in this 13th edition.