Dmitri Kessel. "Henri Cartier-Bresson and his Leica M3", 1955. Vintage silver gelatin photograph. 34 x 26,5 cm

Dmitri Kessel. "Henri Cartier-Bresson and his Leica M3", 1955. Vintage silver gelatin photograph. 34 x 26,5 cm

Fame and Anonymity. Portraits

Varios artistas | Various artists

from May 24, 2022 to July 16, 2022

Fame and Anonymity. Portraits is a group exhibition that is part of the Off Festival of PHotoESPAÑA 2022.

Through different techniques, from traditional silver gelatin to photocopies, we present a journey through the world of (self-)portraiture throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, by the following artists: Antoni Abad, Ana Laura Aláez, Ana Arabaolaza, Ximena Bares, Cecil Beaton, Philippe Bonan, Marcelo Brodsky, Daniel Canogar, Toni Catany, Nieves Correa, Matías Costa, Dmitri Kessel, Gisèle Freund , Alberto García-Alix, Mathias Goeritz, Marisa González, José Antonio Hernández-DiezConcha Jerez, Álvaro LaizRamón Mateos, Leo Matiz, Aldo Palazzi, Armando Salas Portugal, Santiago Sierra, Darío Villalba and André Villers. 

Portraiture has dominated and defined the medium of photography from the very beginning, as seen in the daguerreotypes of mortuary portraits from the mid-19th century. Since its origins, a close link has been established between photography and memory, between photographic traces and portraiture, in its multiple modalities: photographs of famous people, celebrities, anonymous characters, self-portraits, etc. 

This selection of works establishes a dialogue between modern and contemporary art, between Europe and Latin America, between the unknown and the familiar. Anonymity plays an important role in photography also since the beginning, immortalizing shadows, silhouettes and faces of unknown, anonymous people, which contrasts with the ubiquity of the self in the media in the current digital era, where selfies, with their respective names and surnames, have invaded the 21st century landscape, an aspect that has not passed unnoticed by contemporary artists such as the well-known Amalia Ulman with her appropriation of the selfie culture on Instagram. 

Identity and photography have been intertwined since the invention of the photographic medium, establishing a clear union between the body (the self) and technology. Nowadays, this becomes more evident when the camera becomes an inseparable part of our body and our social relationships, like a prosthesis, like an extension of our arm, which accompanies us in our daily lives and turns us into cyborgs, into technobodies in a permanent (self-)portrait. 

As we walk through the exhibition, this union between identity/portraiture and technology/photography becomes visible, through different formats: from social, political and feminist portraits, to intimate self-portraits of the artist masturbating, fragments of bodies or fingerprints, while passing through a set of well-known faces such as that of Frida Kahlo while she lifts a bottle of beer to her lips. 

Text by Jessica Janeiro Obernyer
Art Historian

Press release