Contacts. A hard, merciless light. The worker-photography movement 1926-1939 exhibition tours

15, 17, 22 and 24 June 2011 - 7 p.m.
Sabatini Building, Punto de Encounter
Georgy Zelma.Se fotografía a los mejores mineros, 1930
Georgy Zelma.Se fotografía a los mejores mineros, 1930

The appearance of the worker-photography movement took a complex political, artistic and social construction – involving the confluence of an economic crisis, modern visual culture, reformism and the politics of representation – and translated it into images. These images, then, as metaphors for photographic contact, become footprints that can be followed to take a new look at a set of contradictions from a specific time. This program invites specialists from different areas to decipher these contradictions.

Jorge Riechmann

At what precise moment had the modern era fucked itself up?

Date : June 15, 2011 
Mario Vargas Llosa formulated this now classic question in Conversation in the Cathedral: at what precise moment had Peru fucked itself up? This question can be generalised and we can ask, paraphrasing his question: at what precise moment had the modern era fucked itself up? This tour through the exhibition suggests some elements for an answer, illuminated by the light that it projects from above onto a time of world socio-ecological crisis. 

Erika Wolf

What is worker-photography?

Date : June 17, 2011 
The international worker-photography movement differed in its local manifestations, and so it is difficult to formulate a single answer to this question. It could be photographs taken by a worker, photographs of workers or photographs that represent the view of the working class. This tour considers these questions by exploring a series of themes in the exhibition, including the idea of the camera as weapon, photographs as ammunition, the documentation of working life and the eye of the social class. 

Victor del Río

Imagining proletarian culture: photography, film and the technical means to reconstruct history

Date : June 22, 2011 
This presentation examines the genesis of the so-called proletkult (proletarian culture), which was established on revolutionary foundations and in which the technical means of image production acquired an unprecedented importance in history. It starts with the Soviet case as the genetic nucleus of a program based on related concepts like factography and proletkult, looking at how they spread internationally, and also entertains a critical review of mass culture. 

Marta Arribas

The Spanish Robert Capas

Date : June 24, 2011 
What connection was there between the worker-photography movement and the Spanish Civil War? Were Spanish photographers involved in it? Who were they? What happened to them when the conflict ended? Where did their archives end up? These unknowns encourage an examination of instinctive photographers like the Mayo brothers, Marín, Díaz Casariego and Alfonso, who were experts in the Russian and German currents and whose archives are beginning to come to light. 


Jorge Riechmann is a poet, literary translator, essayist and full professor of moral philosophy at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He has published Pablo Neruda y una familia de lobos (Creática, 2010), Futuralgia(Calambur, 2011), La habitación de Pascal(Los Libros de la Catarata, 2009) and Entre la cantera y el jardín(La Oveja Roja, 2010). 

Erika Wolf is an Art History professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand and a specialist in Soviet photography. She is the editor of Ilf and Petrov’s American Road Trip: The 1935 Travelogue of Two Soviet Writers (Princeton Architectural Press, 2006). 
Víctor del Rio
 is a professor of Modern Art Theory and Contemporary Art Theory at the Universidad de Salamanca. He is the author of Fotografía objeto. La superación de la estética del documento(Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, 2008) andFactografía. Vanguardia y comunicación de masas(Abada, 2010). 
Marta Arribas
 is a film director and scriptwriter. She directed, along with Ana Pérez de la Fuente, Héroes sin armas. Fotógrafos españoles en la Guerra Civil(2010) and also participated in the complementary publication, as well as other documentaries such as El tren de la memoria (2005) and Cómicos (2009).

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