THE GLAMOUROUS ART DECÓ BY ŁEMPICKA

Unmistakable and personal, the work of Tamara Lempicka condenses a whole aesthetic stream that stood out in the first third of the last century while she managed to define herself and to mark a style of her own that we all recognise today. The motifs and compositions that the artist chose for her pieces fit perfectly with the Art Deco. Her enveloping volumes, her rounded figures and a clear contrast of colours marked her trajectory, far from the floral resources and the more slender vertical development silhouettes that marked this movement.

Tamara Łempicka, “The young girls”, ca. 1930

Precisely, the triumph of Tamara, already in her early years, and the fact that she was a female artist making her way in a sector so far still dominated by men, contains a halo of mystery and glamour that continues to awaken our curiosity. The life of this painter born in Warsaw in 1898 represents the bohemian spirit that is usually attributed to the artists of the turn of the century, with a highly demanded production and a long waiting list to order a portrait.

Her life is the story of a trip without truce that began with her studies in a boarding school in Switzerland and with family vacations in Italy. The Bolshevik Revolution was a change in her life, when, already married, she became a refugee, passing through Copenhagen, London and Paris, where she settled in 1923. In this context of flight and change, Tamara did not abandon painting, in which had begun in adolescence, and let the influence of the artistic streams of the French capital penetrate in her work. That is why, on occasion, her paintings have been described as a "soft cubism", a style widespread among many artists of the time. In 1925 she opened her first major exhibition in Milan, and in 1927 she won her first prize with the work "Kizette on the balcony" at the International Exhibition of Bordeaux. In the following years, she made the leap to New York, where her career reached the top.

Tamara Łempicka, “The sleeping woman”, 1932

Lempicka's work is enigmatic and unique, like herself, when she openly recognised her bisexuality in a context of social prohibitions. Her style has penetrated deep, even beyond the time when the painter reached her greatest recognition in life and has influenced other later creators who admit admiring her. Today, her work visits Madrid at the Gaviria Palace, 86 years after Tamara herself passed through our country on one of her many trips to Europe.

 

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.