If in April the undisputed protagonists were the books, May we are presented as a kind of photographic spring in Barcelona. And it is that several exhibitions that certify that photography is a genre that does not stop spreading through the city, either in the form of samples, spaces, festivals, courses and initiatives of all kinds, such as Art Photo BCN, an emerging photography festival that begins this Friday at the Arts Santa Mònica. In this case, we have focused on five exhibitions that most likely make you leave the room with the most refined look.
'Portraits of modernity' by Berenice Abbott
There are many ways to travel to New York, even without having to step on it. Undoubtedly, one of the best is following the steps and look of this American photographer, which reflects the process of city growth with vertiginous and original images, extremely contemporary, despite having been made in the first decades of the twentieth century. Abbott's career (1898-1991) also goes through another large city, Paris, where he devotes himself to portraits of characters from the cultural sphere, among which many women, and where he has the opportunity to discover the images from another great photographer, Eugène Atget, from whom you can also see some photographs in the exhibition. Later on, he will focus on photographing scientific phenomena, in enigmatic and surprising photos. Since the Mapfre Foundation opened at Casa Garriga, on the walls of this modernist building, you have seen anthologies of other prominent photographers, such as Duane Michals or Shomei Tomatsu. Mapfre Foundation. Diputació, 250. Until May 19.
'Photographs of people of the twentieth century', by August Sander, with 'Womankind' by María Acha-Kutscher
More than 180 images are the ones that can be seen in the wider panorama ever made in Spain by August Sander (1876-1964), a German photographer who occupies a preeminent place in the history of photography. Here we can see his most ambitious work, which he addressed with the aim of establishing what could be a taxonomy of "people of the twentieth century". Apart from the quality of portraits, what stands out is the egalitarian will with which people of all kinds photograph. All portraits, men and women, from the peasant to the aristocrat, from the small baker to the great entrepreneur, are equally anonymous and have the same dignity. And it is quite a success that, in the middle of this gallery of portraits, there is practically another insert, Womankind, by the artist María María Acha-Kutscher. His photomontages and images fake Play, reinvent and visually challenge the traditional notion of femininity in art. All in all, a good walk through human types, in which photography, far from being an innocent, objective and innocuous art, is claimed as a way of representing and questioning the world. The Virreina Center of the Image. La Rambla, 99. Until June 23.
'On Abortion', by Laia April
Nor is it innocuous, but quite the opposite, the work of this young Catalan photographer, born in 1986, which was already announced with a striking project, Thinspiration, which drove into forums of young people who suffered from eating disorders to extract cuts of images that were shocking. Now the artist and journalist are immersed in an ambitious search, A History of Misogyny, which has as its first delivery this visual investigation into abortion. The show combines several elements that make the story richer, which has also been published in photobook format (winner of the Aperture-Paris Photo). We find it from personal testimonies to images of tools or rudimentary techniques to make abortions underground, which still cause up to 47,000 deaths per year. "It's a complicated issue because it has to do with many things: religion, morale, money, stigma and laws," explained April in the presentation. And the show does not shirk this complexity either. Visiting it is also a good way to discover the new headquarters of Foto Colectania, a much more accessible and inviting space, with a small room where you can consult a good selection of photography books. Fundación Foto Colectania. Passeig de Picasso, 14. Until June 9.
World Press Photo 2019
One of the most anticipated photographic events of the year, taking into account the figures of visitors, is the exhibition of World Press Photo. In some way it is a must-see to have a panoramic view of the best works made by photojournalists. It can be a good way to approach certain realities, and even discover them, and an opportunity to see series of images, which allow you to do a more in-depth and resting narrative than the news, in that many times one single photo should be chosen. Even so, the World Press Photo did not just escape the type of image consumption according to the logic of the media, as we passed, like the one who rotated a newspaper's sheet, an armed conflict or the weeping of a girl immigrant on the border (the photography of the year, by John Moore), at the spectacular spectacle of a sport. The presence of photojournalist women, although it has risen, reaches just 19% of the work. CCCB. Montalegre, 5. Until May 26.
Disobedience A toolbox
This sample is also collective, made of different works but in this case with a thread that fits all the proposals: the social disobedience to question the established order. In this range, photography is also conceived as a tool, interrelated with philosophy and music, among others, and with a very material aspect, that of paper and self-publishing as forms of denunciation. Among the artists, we will find proposals by Tanit Plana, the group Enmedio, or Magalí Avezou, who makes a selection of disobedient books. Around the show, various events have also been scheduled, such as Disobedient music (May 7), which will focus on the protest song or in the musical genres contestatarios. All this will add layers to the exhibition, and is that Mecánico, located in a former workshop, wants to be a space that understands photography in a broad sense, with projections, talks and fairs, and with enough space for a bookstore and even and everything a cafeteria. Mechanic Vernetallat, 30. Until May 29.