Monday, 9 June 2008

PhotoEspaña 08, Madrid

The Place is the theme of this year’s PHotoEspaña an International Festival of Photography and Visual Art held in museums, institutions, art galleries across Madrid. PHE08 programme aims to provide different visual works related to the notion of place in its broadest sense and would be on show at Casa de América, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Círculo de Bellas Artes and the Prado Museum, and many other locations. Sergio Mah (Artistic director of Photoespana 08) was questioning : "What distinguishes a place in terms of its physical, poetic and ideological characteristics? How do we experience places and how do they affect us? How are places connected and shaped by society and politics? Which are the paradigmatic places of the contemporary landscape? " Sergio Mah, wanted a show on space as "a vague combination of experiences, emotions and significant mementos".
Exhibitions include an in-depth look at the work of Historic and great Masters, such as Bill Brandt, Robert Smithson and Eugene Smith as well as a contemporary view on this year theme.

© Roni Horn

The "opening" tour started with the Roni Horn with a selection of the works developed in Iceland by the artist which includes pictures, drawings and publications of an artist linked with minimalist movements.
Next stop was downstair in the same building, Ciculo de Bellas Artes where a video installation by David Claerbout was on show. The video is showing an oriental family group playing ball surrounded by a cityscape under a big-brother suvaillance camera.
On the same night there was also a very interesting show at the Fundacion ICO, a collective exhibition with works by Augusto Alves da Silva, Patricia Dauder, Pedro Barateiro, Geert Goiris, Beate Gütschow, Joachim Koester, An-My Lê, Walter Niedermayr, Peter Piller titled Compromised Places/ Topography and Actuality. A visual reflection that embrace the theme for this year and displays a landscape of history, politics, urbanity and social changes.

The day after was the opening of Thomas Demand, one of the most popular event at PHE08. At the press event the artist said about his work: "I am not an expert in photography — I hoped nobody would find out! My work is about ideas."

Florian Maier-Aichen ©

At the Museo Thyssen works by Florian Maier-Aichen with dramatic colours and viewpoints to create an unreal sensation in her landscapes. At the Royal Botanical Gardens, Ignasi Aballi with Weeds, a display of large panels placed in different spots around the gardens. The works compares nature subject with a more spontaneous and secondary one. As well as providing a showcase for new local and international talent, the festival also offers courses, master-classes, debates and guided tours, plus a night-time projections during the Noche de la Fotografía on 13 June. More infos about both the Official Section and the Off Section at the festival website

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