From Serrat to Fidel Castro. From the chic Barcelona of the 'gauche divine' to the tragic and miserly atavism of Las Hurdes. From the Ibiza 'hippie' and the glamor of the catwalks to Managua devastated by an earthquake. From the páramo of Castilla de Delibes to the South Africa of apartheid. For four decades the "multiple" and "useful" look of the Barcelona photographer Oriol Maspons (1928-2013) displayed an insatiable curiosity. Portrait, fashion, advertising, reporting, covers of books and records … he touched all the sticks in the varied trajectory that the National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC) reviews now.
'Useful photography' is the first major retrospective on a restless creator who renewed photography in a long journey summarized in 530 original images and 200 documents. On the poster until January, Cristina Zelich, her curator, moves away from the best-known profile to reveal the other vertices of Masped's polyhedral work.
More than 500 images, many unpublished, gathered in the greatest retrospective of the restless creator who turned his back on artistic photography.
He has researched the fund that the photographer donated in 2011 to the MNAC, a legacy with more than 7,000 photographs on paper, negatives and documents, to bring to light unpublished or little-known images and reveal the key role of Maspons in the renewal of language photographic in the gray Francoist Spain, first as an amateur and as a professional since 1957. "He was one of the great photographers of the second half of the 20th century, an advanced who created a school", confirms the director of the MNAC, Pepe Serra.
Contrary to the image as a mere aesthetic object, Maspons defended "applied" and "useful" photography. The exhibition contextualizes his work thanks to the study of an extraordinary digitized and inventoried archive thanks to the Nando Foundation and Elsa Peretti and Agrolimen, "thanks Serra. A research that rescued photos of the first time taken in Paris and London, in the Ibiza 'prehippie' of the 50s, in the streets and the metro of Barcelona and its nocturnal atmospheres. From the first tourist in a bikini – the very best Monique Koller that contrasts with the harsh and poor women in black from Las Hurdes – to the images of reports made in Cuba, Nicaragua and South Africa, never published.
"We recovered documentary material-books, magazines, album covers-and clarified the final destination of the Maspons photos and the reception of his work in the specialized and generalist media of the time," says the curator, recalling her work for magazines such as' Gaceta Ilustrada ',' Destino ',' Triunfo ',' Interviú ',' Cuadernos de Arquitectura ',' Paris-Match ',' Bocaccio ',' Expression 'or' Elle '.
Maspons joined the Photographic Association of Catalonia in 1952, where his «teacher» Francesc Català-Roca encouraged him to be a professional. But soon he opposed the aestheticism of the collective, which generated the rejection of his innovative proposals. His harsh criticism of artistic conservatism in 'Salonismo', an article he published in 'Arte Fotográfico' in 1957, was the cause of his expulsion from the group. "It raises the dichotomy between artistic photography and applied to editorial illustration, album covers, advertising or reporting, that is, a diversity of photographic genres," recalls Zelich.
In Paris he treated teachers such as Brassaï, Cartier-Bresson and Doisneau and "reaffirmed his idea that photography should be useful, notary of his time, of his time, and serves to document," says the curator. Maspons published his interviews with these great colleagues in 'Arte Fotográfico', opening a renovating window in the grayness prevailing in Spain that glimpsed developmentalism.
Returning to Barcelona in 1957, he became professional and associated with Julio Ubiña. Immersed what Joan de Sagarra baptized in 1969 as 'gauche divine', portrayed the heterogeneous group of intellectuals and artists, models, filmmakers, writers and architects who rebelled against the official Francoist culture in the Ciudad Condal: Serrat, Raimon, Llach, María del Mar Bonet, Teresas Gimpera and a long etcetera.
His friend Esther Tusquets recruited him for the Lumen publishing house, a pioneer seal in treating photography and text on an equal footing in the 'Palabra e Imagen' collection. In her Maspons published in 1961 his first book, 'The hunting of the red partridge', with texts by Miguel Delibes. They would follow 'Toreo de salón' with texts by Camilo José Cela, or 'Poeta en Nueva York', with poems by Lorca, both of which were done with Julio Ubiña.
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