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The start of photography through an exhibition of daguerreotype images in Spain

Vista de l'exposició a la sala.

The Cultural Centre La Nau starts the 2017 exhibition seasons with the inauguration of two photography exhibitions. ‘El triunfo de la imagen. El daguerrotipo en España’ studies the first photography procedure of history. An exhibition that has been able of gathering the largest sample of daguerreotype images taken in Spain. ‘30 x 30 Railowsky underground’, a sample that shows the history of the Railowsky Library on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, has also been inaugurated.

Both exhibitions have been presented on Thursday in a press conference that took place at La Nau. The vice-principal for Culture and Equity of the Universitat de València, Antonio Ariño; the vice-principal for Students and University Extension of the Universitat Politècnica de València, María Victoria Vivancos; and the organisers of the exhibitions, Pep Benlloch, Miguel García and Juan Pedro Font de Mora have also taken part in the event.

‘El triunfo de la imagen. El daguerrotipo en España’, has been organised by Pep Benlloch y Miguel García. It is produced by the Office of the Vice-Principal for Culture and Equality of the Universitat de València, with the collaboration of the Universitat Politècnica de València and the General Foundation of the Universitat de València and it is the first exhibition that study the history of daguerreotype image in Spain. It can be visited at the Historical building of the UV until the 23 April.

The daguerreotype image was presented in France in 1839 as a new technology capable of fixing the images obtained inside a dark camera, thus marking the beginning of photography. It was the long-awaited mechanical system of reproduction of reality, because in front of the drawing the daguerreotype image only needed physics and chemistry to obtain a trace of reality on a metal plate.

The singularity of this sample is to gather for the first time in an exhibition these unique photographic objects coming from thirty providers. There are public institutions and private collections such as Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona, Spanish National Library, Institute for Spanish Cultural Heritage, Museo Universidad de Navarra, Museu de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya, Museu Frederic Marès, Reial Acadèmia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona, the particular collections of Ciudad Real and Tarragona, the Santiago Saavedra collection, the Javier Sánchez Portas collection or the Martí Llorens collection, among others.

The exhibition includes more than 150 pieces, among which stands out the scenic daguerreotype images (exterior views) and portraits of unique beauty, such as ‘Bailarina de la escuela bolera con castañuelas’, ‘Retrato de escopetero’ or ‘Retrato de mujer y dos niñas’. Without forgetting the reproduction of the portrait of the recently discovered daguerreotype image of Isabel II, the first photography of a Borbon, taken by Albiñana, that has been found at the Musée Carnavalet in Paris.

The daguerreotype images are exhibited surrounded by the first photographic equipment, among which stands out one of the cameras marketed by Louis Daguerre (nº178), a piece of great value since less than a dozen originals are conserved like this in the world. All this material is surrounded by the first news and the first manuals translated into Spanish, as well as publications in which are engraved from daguerreotype images and press ads of ‘daguerreotype workers’ that offer their services throughout the peninsula.

The curators of the exhibition argue that the history of photography “has yet to be written". "Proof of this is that even today new photographic pieces of great value are being found and these are the key to reconstruct the history of photography in Spain. Thanks to this exhibition we discover these aspects as well as that the spreading of the daguerreotype image in Spain was at the same level than other countries when it comes to number and quality of the daguerreotype images’, they explain.

The vice-principal for Culture and Equity of the Universitat de València, Antonio Ariño, has highlighted that both exhibitions show the ‘three hallmarks’ of the exhibition programming line of the UV: ‘The importance of photography for La Nau; the bet on research with exhibitions like this of the daguerreotype image, or the one that we have recently done about the seminar ‘La Traca’ and  the one of ‘Valencia, capital de la República’, and the commitment of our exhibitions with the city, as well as with the institutions that encourage culture, such as Teatro Olympia or Railowsky’.

‘El triunfo de la imagen. El daguerrotipo en España’ is born as a result digitalisation of the photograph heritage initiatives like the project Daguerreobase. A web platform aimed at collecting a preserving the existing daguerreotype images in Europe. It is made up by a committee of 18 members from 13 European countries, in which public and private institutions, photography collectors and conservators take part. In Spain, it is represented by the Universitat Politècnica de València through the Laboratorio de Estudio de Materiales Fotográficos Contemporáneos (LEMFC).

The different sections of the exhibition represent a tour of the introduction of photography in Spain: the engraving, which starts the display, entitled ‘La Daguerréotypomanie, las primeras vistas de España’, the scientific use of the daguerreotype image, the portrait development through photography traders or the creation of the first studies of daguerreotype image paying special attention to the daguerreotype images at Valencia. The display ends with a little selection of contemporary daguerreotype images as current ways of expression, even today, in the field of the artistic creation.

30 years of ‘Railowsky’, at La Nau

The Railowsky Library has as main protagonist photography, apart from the sections about cinema, illustration, design or poetry. After 30 years of existence, the Universitat de València joins this celebration through the collective exhibition ‘30 x 30 Railowsky underground’.

The display consists of the selection of the works of 10 photographers related to the photojournalism world and the photography documentary that have go along with it during its trajectory. Each of the authors is a metro station which connects with the following bearing in mind the affinity of style or friendship, according to the curator of the display, Juan Pedro Font de Mora, who has described this project at La Nau as a “luxe”.

Gervasio Sánchez, Sandra Balsells, Juan Manuel Castro Prieto, Juan Manuel Díaz Burgos, Francisco Moltó Esquembre, José Aleixandre, Xavier Mollà, José Vicente Penalba, Xurxo Lobato and Luis Baylón interact since the mutual tribute between Railowsky and this generation of photographers.

Railowsky was recently awarded the medal of Bellas de Artes de San Carlos 2016. The project ‘30 x 30 Railowsky underground’ is completed with two more exhibitions placed in the MuVIM and at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Valencia. It can be visited at the Historical building of the UV until the 19 March.

Last update: 27 de january de 2017 08:00.

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