ESTHER FERRER: THE WOMAN OF ALL THE PERFORMANCES

The Atlantic Center of Modern Art (CAAM) of Gran Canaria organises a great retrospective on Esther Ferrer, a complete and pioneer artist who continues to open the gap in the art world at 82 years old. The curator of the exhibition, Carlos Díaz-Bertrana, notes that the showing collects the work of the artist located in “the enigma of time, body, feminism, emptiness, chance, reflection on art and prime numbers”.

Esther Ferrer, "Eurorretrato", 2001 (vía angelsbarcelona.com)

The great, risky, daring, emerging and groundbreaking Esther Ferrer is deployed throughout the CAAM to share with the viewer her concerns and artistic expressions generated throughout her career. This artist, pioneer of performative art in our country and considered one of the most outstanding artists of her generation, began her career at the end of the 60s amid a context eager for changes, hope and openness.

At that time, Esther founded the ZAJ collective together with Juan Hidalgo, Ramón Barce and Walter Marchetti. The group took the work of John Cage as the primary reference of its productions. With that, it began a practice of exploration of performance, with a wholly new and transgressive language for the time. With shows and tours in several theatres in Spain, Esther established herself as a creator at the forefront of art, disturbing, committed and struggling.

Se hace camino al andar - Festival Street Level- Hertogenbosch - Holanda. Foto:Allard Willense – 2002

Despite having an unstoppable career that kept her on top of contemporary since its inception, Esther confessed just a year ago how difficult it is to live from art in Spain. In a report that addressed the precariousness of the cultural sector from the testimony of different professionals, the artist confessed in October 2018 that only since 15 years ago she could live fully from her work, what for many other sectors is a utopia, but for the creative sector, the general rule: to finally be able to dedicate yourself completely to art beyond the retirement age. These difficulties, and an eminently migrant spirit, led Esther to settle in Paris in 1973, where, in addition to continuing to develop her work, she worked as a journalist and pedagogue.

Esther Ferrer, fragmento de "Íntimo y personal", 1977 (vía museoreinasofia.es)

Esther defines herself as a feminist and dealt with this issue on numerous occasions. Her work, which hardly leaves indifferent, has received several awards. In 1999 she was one of the two artists who represented Spain at the Venice Biennale, in 2008 she was awarded the National Prize for Plastic Arts, in 2012 the Gure Artea Prize of the Basque Government, and in 2014 the MAV (Women in the visual arts), the Marie Claire pour l'Art Contemporaine Award and the Velázquez Prize.

We have until March 1st to enjoy her work at CAAM.

 

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.