02 November 2011

Brangulí was here - CCCB

This exhibition has already passed now, but I thought I'd add it anyway. It was really beautiful.

Brangulí. Barcelona 1909-1945 
7th June – 23rd October

Josep Brangulí (1879 – 1945) accompanied Catalunya throughout monumental socio-political changes during the first half of the twentieth century. During his impressive career as a documentary photographer, Brangulí gave equal weight to the ordinary and everyday as he did to significant historical events.

To photography buffs, he is comparable to the likes of Robert Doisneau and Henri-Cartier Bresson, French humanist photographers who enchanted us with their candid, inky black and white images of street-life. They brought us the decisive moment, the notion of capturing a split second in time through the lens – immortalising that moment forever, as if by an act of alchemy. 

Brangulí’s sensitivity towards his subjects bring us official portraits in formal environments; factory workers pause to stare into the lens, seamstresses work alongside their newborn babies and endless rows of school children study obediently at their desks. 

The timeless black and white images also offer us a powerful insight into an altogether mysterious Barcelona that would otherwise be unknown to us; of now-extinct Gitano neighbourhoods and celebrations-no-more, of lantern-lit watering holes staffed by elegant, be-suited waters; of primitive fire-engines, mummified nuns perched upright outside churches, Fascist marches and Nazi propaganda, of thick, black pools of blood in dark alleys and faded smudges of figures that almost eluded the camera’s immortal gaze completely.

The curators selected a mere three hundred photos from the archive of over a million images for the exhibition and created thematic blocks to make better sense of the broad areas of society, industry and politics that Brangulí covered. The exhibition runs until 23rd October and is a testament to the critical changes of Barcelona not to be missed.

- CCCB Contemporary Art Museum website

08001 Barcelona

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