Like every summer, Madrid welcomes PHotoEspaña, an International festival of photography, and more general, of visual arts, and a wonderful gift to visitors and citizens.
A festival with exhibitions all over the city: leading museums, culturale institutions and the more renowned art galleries of the capital.
Besides the exhibitions, the festival organizes also Campus PHE, initiative that includes workshops and courses with international teachers of photography; Encuentros PHE, that collects a series of seminars and debates, and PHotoEspaña en la Calle, to create artistic interventions inside the urban life.
This year’s edition, from May 30th until August 27th, celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the festival, with more than 100 exhibitions, the works of 514 artists and a program of activities which takes place in more than 60 national and international venues.
Photography in these twenty years has developed really fast, the digital world has given a new dimension so much to the art as to the way we’re relating ourselves to the society; the 20th Anniversary is a great opportunity to carry on new ideas and different perspectives to the festival.
PHotoESPAÑA looks at the past, the present and the future. Photography world’s renowned names are side by side to emergent and still unknown artists. National and international scene are coming together. Load of points of view, where each one brings a unique vision of the festival, always different, always new.
The program presents two different sections: the Official one and the Off Festival. This year PHotoEspaña gave “carte blanche” to Alberto García-Alix, The National Photography Prize winner, to select six authors and one activity under the title “The Exaltation of the Human Being. A heterodox look.”
Among the 22 expositions of the Official Section:
At Fernán Gómez Centro Cultural de la Villa (June 1 – July 30)
- Lalibela, cerca del cielo. Cristina García Rodero
- Carbono. Gil Antonio Munuera
- Pensar en futuro, nuevos relatos fotográficos en Dakar. Collettivo
At Museo Cerralbo (June 2 – September 3)
- España. Años 50. Carlos Saura
At Tabacalera (June 22 – September 3)
- Guía nocturna de museos. Fernando Maquieira
We had the chance to visit the Real Botanical Garden in Madrid, that, besides possessing more than 30 thousand of plants and amazing flowers, hosts two exhibitions of the Official Section: Cuba by Elliott Erwitt and Matemáticas by Peter Fraser, til July 31st.
This new work of Peter Fraser, as you can see from the title Matemáticas, is based on the idea that reality has a mathematical origin, at its deepest level. Photographing what he meets in his everyday life (a simple plate with tomatoes, a horse, portraits, fishes at the market), he tries to transmit the idea that mathematics can explain the world, or at least, describe it in a way to approach an explanation. Fraser invites us to give form to everything we see, and so to provide an answer.
But let’s focus on Elliott Erwitt, one of the most famous and admired American photographers in the world: a visual poet, known for his black and white ironic shots that capture decisive instants of daily life.
Erwitt was born in Paris in 1928, and in 1939 he emigrated to the Unites States with his family. In 1953 he was invited to become a member of Magnum Photos by the founder, Robert Capa, and he started photographic projects all over the world. He shot iconic celebs like Marilyn Monroe on various film set, Khrushchev and Nixon in Mosca, the president John F. Kennedy, and Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in La Havana. Right from this trip to Cuba came about the show exhibited to the Botanical Garden.
Erwitt first travelled to Cuba in 1964, commissioned by Newsweek to follow Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. There he shot his famous photograph -become iconic- of the two. Cuba remained always in Erwitt’s heart and finally in 2015, at age 87, he could go back to the island, managing to document a new La Havana, capturing moments of everyday life, always rigorously with his black and white.
The exhibition organized by PHotoEspaña, comprises works from both journeys to Cuba, in 1964 and more than 50 years later in 2015. Right after the entrance, you can admired some of the photos taken in 1964, with awesome stolen moments to the daily life, from a baseball play to people walking down the street, always giving an extraordinary point of view on reality.
The famous portraits of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro belong to this series: they can transport you inside the ferment of that period, but at the same time, letting you glimpse their simplicity, their normal life.
The second series, from 2015, shows a new and different La Havana, but Erwitt always manages to capture the essence. Thanks to stolen glances of some small bars costumers, a papaya and bananas seller in the street, and children at the haircut, you can experience a beautiful and adventurous and amazing journey the Cuba.
Well, do not miss the chance to visit PHotoEspaña and the Real Botanical Garden if you’re in Madrid this summer!