Caixaforum Barcelona presents an in-depth look at the relationships between painting and photography.

Seduced by art: Past and Present of Photography
Barcelona - MAY 17, 2013
"The artist is faithful and photography lies - sentenced Rodin - for in reality time never stops." the first photographes inspired in those who contemplated them a mixture of fascination and rejection, attitude that even today some artists manifest poiting out the false sense of reality that the image produces in us. But does the photographer not create the same way as the painter or sculptor, dramatizing or transforming matter into an image at his will? What seduces us is reality or la fixation of this reality in our vision, the particular focus of the artist in the visual representation and subsequent interpretation?
Seduced by art: Past and Present of Photography
©Richard Learoyd, Man with Octopus Tattoo II
Seducidos por el Arte (Seduced by art) of Obra Social "La Caixa" presents in the Caixaforum of Barcelona a thematic route that estimulates a dialogue between painting and photography, bringing to light the sometimes subtle other times notable imprint that painting has made of photography from its beginnings to contemporary times. The exhibition has been created with the collaboration of the National Gallery of London, museum that hosted the show until the past month of January.
Seduced by art: Past and Present of Photography
©Ori Gersht, Blow up
Although some people think that the photograph broke into the art scene as the culmination of the painting, the individual works in the collection show us that nothing has not been close to replacing the brush. In the seventeenth century, artists such as Vermeer already used the camara obscura to paint, a room without light that effectively projected the image of small objects and allowed to define its outline in the picture more accurately. The photographic gaze  paradoxically preceded the birth of photography itself, which was  invented by Daguerre 1839.
Seduced by art: Past and Present of Photography
Left to right: ©Eugene Delacroix, The Death of Sardanapalus. ©Jeff Wall, The Destroyed Room
The structure of historical paintings such as The Death of Sardanapalus by Eugene Delacroix, who start the route of the exhibition, show the influence of the camera obscura in scenic composition. The viewer can evoke the autarkic environment of Delacroix's painting on a stage dominated by the chaos of Jeff Wall's The Destroyed Room while the photographic contention and intimate character that reflects Tom Hunter's Coltelli's death strikes a more disturbing and grim aspect of painting. 

In an adjacent space, the stiff Salmon colored folds of a dress, the delicate paleness of the skin or the long, slightly titled neck of the virgin above the enchanted gaze of the cupids leave in the work of Maisie Broadhead a liveliness and freshness similar to the Allegory of Health by Simon Vouet, a flemish painting that inspired Broadhead's photographic composition Que no pierdan la dulzura. This exercise of reinterpretation through photography with clear pictorial references is similar to the one carry out by the Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra with Botticelli's Venus. The contemporary vision of Dijstra makes clear references to the Italian master inherits the classic beauty and bygone containment of the work. It is not so much the tools that one uses in art, the window that allows you to create an inverse look at our time, but the themes that plays a principal role in the artwork, that which going to be used by the photographer to recover the pictorial vision.
Seduced by art: Past and Present of Photography
©Maisie Broadhead
The pearl of the exhibition is the very image showcased on the promotional poster: the frozen instant of the explosion of a bouquet of flowers by Ori Gersht titled Blow up. Gersht definitely refutes the theory that says that a photograph cannot express an action, when the explosion of thousands of colors and the thousands of sides of the petals emptied over the black background seem to emerge from the photograph. The fragmented style of the portrayed subject reminds of the cubist painting of Picasso or even Braque, although, at the same time, the saturated density of the azul, red and white of the flowers bring it closer to the still life by Fantin-Latour, situated right next to it. A few hundred stares or tiny mirrors reflect different entities of the same object, and in this case, the photograph participates in the space and the movement of Gersht's life in motion with a strange power of sugestion. 

Painting and photography become, finally, in the protagonists of the same narrative secuence in the history of art. If Rodin did not think that photography was able to approach reality with fidelity, we remember the words of Joan Fontcuberta, who says that although "the picture lies on instinct, the good photographer is the one who lies the truth well."

Mar Schoenenberger

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