1955-1965. WORKS FROM THE CONTEMPORARY ART COLLECTION OF THE
REGIONAL GOVERNMENT OF MADRID
25 SEPT – 16 NOV 2008
Ramón Masats was born in Caldes de Montbui, Barcelona, in 1931. One of the great names in photography, he became interested in this genre at an early age when he discovered the journal Arte Fotográfico. From that point on, capturing images became a constant of his life and the success of his work earned him the 2002 Culture Prize awarded by the Regional Government of Madrid and then Spain’s National Photography Prize in 2004.
Over the course of his long career, Masats has produced unforgettable snapshots of daily life in Spain, accurately recording the symbols that define the idiosyncrasies of a people and a particular time.
This exhibition presents a selection of his earliest works, black and white images in which he magnificently portrays the rural world, focusing on aspects such as work and leisure, and traditional fiestas and rituals; children's games and fantasies, the urban world, religion and its presence in the society of the day; culture and art, viewed through portraits of some their representatives.
The result is a sentimental journey through the black and white Spain of the Fifties and Sixties, through its clichés and rituals, its majesty and its poverty, accompanied by a silent, discriminating Masats who subjects our memory to the emotional experience of viewing with modern eyes that which we see reflected in the mirror of the past with nostalgia and a certain irony. It is also a journey through the work of a photographer who added new nuances to the language of photographic reportage in this country and created a whole new framework for the old Spanish issues. Finally, it is also an encouraging example of photography as practised by someone who was never too concerned about arriving, but about being there, behind his camera, seeking out new ways of recording old emotions.
For visitors, the show will offer the opportunity to remember times that some will no doubt view as an emotional encounter with the past, and others - younger generations – as a curious Spain, different yet familiar.
These images now belong to the Contemporary Art Collection of the Regional Government of Madrid. The intention behind the exhibition at the new Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, the collection’s home, is to highlight the important heritage we all share.