Photographs as public space

Pilar Aymerich, Joan Fontcuberta, Jordi Guillumet - Mònica Roselló, Anna Malagrida, Francisco Ontañón, Mabel Palacín, Tanit Plana - Laia Ramos, Xavier Ribas and Werker Collective

Curated by Marta Dahó

9 February - 15 April, 2018 

Opening, Friday 9 February 7pm 

Bòlit_LaRambla, Sala Fidel Aguilar


Photographs as public space

National Photography Collection. Government of Catalonia



This exhibition aims to showcase the task developed by the National Photography Plan through several of the pieces that, over the past four years, have become part of the Government of Catalonia's National Photography Collection. Furthermore, if all curatorial projects entail a specific selection and combination of works, then in this first presentation of the collection, the pertinence of all of the projects and their interrelationship, too, responds to the desire to reflect on what is put into play with this great conjunction of practices, languages and circumstances that we continue calling "photography".


The historic transversality of the selection brings us closer to extraordinarily diverse pieces, created in different contexts and based on equally disparate conceptions of photography. From this perspective, by acknowledging that photography has never been any one single thing, we can widen a definition that's all too frequently constrained by technical and stylistic aspects, while at the same time becoming more aware of our own ideas regarding this medium and how they determine our experience of photographs: what they say to us, how they affect us, how they transform us.


Within the broad panorama of current reflections, which in recent years have tended to prioritise the effects of digital technology, the theorist Ariella Azoulay proposes an alternative that essentially consists of defining photography as a place of encounter. While the understanding of photography has essentially been approached in productive terms - focusing almost exclusively on authorship (photographers) and results (photographs) - embracing this new conception means rethinking the mediation power exercised by the photographic image, while at the same time exerting a right to take part in the constant reshaping of its meaning, which corresponds to all of us. Nobody is entitled to impose a single interpretation and all meanings are of value. It's in this sense that we can reclaim the civic and political potential which photography has had from its beginnings but which it hasn't always been able to exploit. And it's in this sense that we can embody an idea of photography as an exercise of public space, understood as an ideological value in which everyone may participate equally. 



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