October 15, 2020 - Fundación MAPFRE - Bill Brandt
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October 15, 2020

Fundación MAPFRE

Bill Brandt, Francis Bacon on Primrose Hill, London, 1963. Private collection. Courtesy Bill Brandt Archive and Edwynn Houk Gallery. © Bill Brandt / Bill Brandt Archive Ltd.*

Bill Brandt
October 9, 2020–January 24, 2021

Fundación MAPFRE
KBr Fundación MAPFRE Photography Centre
Avenida del Litoral 30
08005 Barcelona Barcelona
Spain
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–8pm

T +34 932 71 31 80
infokbr@fundacionmapfre.org

kbr.fundacionmapfre.org
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Bill Brandt
October 9, 2020–January 24, 2021

Fundación MAPFRE
KBr Fundación MAPFRE Photography Centre
Avenida del Litoral 30
08005 Barcelona Barcelona
Spain
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–8pm

T +34 932 71 31 80
infokbr@fundacionmapfre.org

kbr.fundacionmapfre.org
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Fundación MAPFRE is presenting the first retrospective in Spain on Bill Brandt (1904-1983), considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. Produced by Fundación MAPFRE and curated by Ramón Esparza, doctor of Communication Sciences and professor of Audiovisual Communication at the Universidad del País Vasco, the exhibition brings together 186 photographs developed by Brandt himself who, over the course of five decades, made use of almost all the photographic genres: social documentary, portraiture, the nude and landscape.

Born Hermann Wilhelm Brandt in Hamburg in 1904 to a wealthy family of Russian origin, after a period living in Vienna and Paris Brandt decided to settle in London in 1934. Within the context of growing hostility to all things German due to the rise of Nazism, he attempted to erase all traces of his origins to the point of stating that he was British by nationality. This concealment and the creation of a new personality enveloped Brandt’s life in an aura of mystery and conflict that is directly reflected in his works.

This aspect combines with the photographer’s interest in psychoanalysis, which he underwent during his youth in Vienna. A few years earlier, in 1919, Sigmund Freud had published the essay Das Unheimliche in which he analysed this term, which is generally translated as “the uncanny” in the sense of something that produces unease. Almost all Brandt’s photographs, both the pre-war social documentary type and those from his subsequent more “artistic” phase, possess a powerful poetic charge as well as that very typical aura of strangeness and mystery in which, as in his own life, reality and fiction are always mixed.

The structure of the exhibition, which is divided into six sections, reveals how all these qualities—in which identity and the concept of “the uncanny” become the principal ones—blend together in the work of this eclectic artist. Above all Brandt was considered a flâneur or stroller in a way comparable to his admired Eugène Atget, whom he always considered one of his masters. The exhibition also reveals the relationship between Brandt’s images and Dada and Surrealism. This interest is reflected in clear references to psychoanalytical issues, expressed through increasingly sombre tones and an obsession with collecting found objects.

The exhibition is completed with a range of documentation, a number of Brandt’s cameras and examples of the illustrated press of the period that published some of his most iconic images. All this has been made possible courtesy of the Bill Brandt Archive in London and the Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York.

After being shown in Barcelona, the show will travel to the Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung in Munich, Fundación MAPFRE’s Sala Recoletos in Madrid and the FOAM in Amsterdam.

The catalogue that accompanies it, published in Spanish, Catalan, English and French,  includes reproductions of all the works on display, in addition to a principal essay by the project’s curator, Ramón Esparza, and another by Maud de la Forterie, doctor in Art History at the Sorbonne, whose doctoral thesis was devoted to the work of Bill Brandt. The catalogue also features an essay by Nigel Warburton on the artist, originally published in 1993 and revised for the present edition, and Bill Brandt’s text “A Statement” which was published in the magazine Album in March 1970.

*The photographs cannot be bled, cropped, guttered, overprinted or altered in any way, whether it be color proportion or form. It is also not allowed to write, superimpose or add any text on the images.The reproduction of the photographs must be accompanied by the pertinent copyright and courtesy lines.

The reproduction of images in on-line publications and media is allowed only for exhibition publicity and dissemination where the resolution of the reproduction is a maximum 72 dpi/204 pixels in a non-downloadable format.

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