Joseph JiménezMadrid Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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In a poem of the incomplete, it seems conceived as an epilogue to flowers of evil, Charles Baudelaire wrote: “Blessed is the heart I climbed the mountain / from where you can contemplate the city in its amplitude / hospitals, brothels, purgatory, hell, prison”, confessing at the end his love for the city : “I love You, oh capital infamous!”. The poet, and the first great theorist of urban modernity, expressing the plurality of records that hold the major cities and his love of this area plural.

Scenarios of life

humanity has been living in the turns and transformations of the great cities, which constitute our scope and stage of life. And that brings us to this excellent sample, the result of an agreement between the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the la Caixa Foundation. It is quite an experience… don’t miss it. After its presentation in Barcelona can now be seen in Madrid. It is presented 259 works of 81 authors , from the collections of the French museum, and various Spanish collections. All of them produced with the support of the camera in its different registers: photographs, films, videos, flush mount books and magazines.

“The flowers of Damascus” (2002), Paola Yacoub

With an approach to chronological , that goes from the second decade of the twentieth century until the present day, the exhibition is structured in ten sections, articulated through what the camera records on the life in modern cities. These are their tags: 1) vertical city : euphoria by modernity in the twenties. 2) The new actors of the city : from the picturesque to the proletarian. 3) city militant : Spain in the thirties. 4) city humanist and existentialist : the reconciliation after the War. 5) The city criticism : studies on the social situation. 6) The rebel city . 7) The city as a stage. 8) The horizontal city. 9) city reflective : the negotiation of public space. 10) The global city and virtual.

The presentation in Madrid has an important innovation: a new section that reflected interventions on the situation in the cities from the covid-19

Is plotted as a visual map, through a journey that allows us to appreciate where we come from until today in urban areas, increasingly global and homogeneous. The presentation in Madrid also has an important innovation: it has been added, with the caption “common Boundaries” , a new section-appendix very interesting that includes interventions of some authors that are also in the initial selection on the situation in the cities from the Covid-19.

Large selection of quality

Given the high number of creators present, with a majority of the French and Spanish , it is inappropriate to point out any particular name. But yes, it is appropriate to emphasize the high quality, in general terms, of the selected works: all the pieces assembled, with an assembly clean and tidy, are very well-chosen.

Yes, that raises the question about what we see, all a visual memory exercise . Obviously, the historical reconstructions have a dense background in writing. But what we see on Camera and the city are fundamentally images, sometimes accompanied by texts. So, I believe it is important to introduce here one of the considerations for Susan Sontag in her book On photography (1977): “The photographic images seem not so much statements about the world, the fragments that constitute it, thumbnails of reality that anyone can make or acquire”. In short, we are faced with a mosaic of open, a set of thumbnails on the life in the cities, with all its variety of situations, over time.

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