Maria Bleda (Castellón, 1969) and José María Rosa (Albacete, 1970) are one of the most prominent references in contemporary Spanish photography and are among the artists of their generation who have addressed the complexities related to the notion with greater attention. of landscape from the field of contemporary photography. Over the course of three decades, they have carried out one of the most intense and rigorous explorations around the links between the representation of the territory and history.
KBr Fundació MAPFRE Barcelona dedicates an exhaustive exhibition to Bleda y Rosa, which is the most extensive retrospective to date of his career, bringing together for the first time the whole of his work, offering an exceptional perspective taking into account the extent of the series.
Bleda y Rosa Mercado [Mercat]. Porta del mercat de Milet. Museu de Pèrgam, Berlín, 2021. Sèrie Tipologías, En procés des del 2007 12 fotografies © Bleda y Rosa, VEGAP, Barcelona, 2022
The exhibition, which can be visited from May 26 to September 4, is curated by Marta Dahó and is presented as an installation designed specifically for this space. The exhibition, which includes the main discursive axes of his work - including the dialectic between landscape and territory, between history and memory, between image and text - allows us to delve into the depth of his artistic proposal while setting up new fields. of analysis in the thematic areas present in his work. In this sense, the expository approach covers the main discursive axes of his work, including the dialectic between the landscape and the territory, as well as the narrative of the images in relation to historical stories and personal experience.
The Bleda y Rosa exhibition brings together 9 video installations made up of a total of 264 images, including Football Fields, Battlefields, Origin and Prompt, some of the most important photographic series in its history. As the curator of the exhibition explains: "The uniqueness of Bleda y Rosa's approach lies in the conceptual nature of her artistic practice. With subtle but dislocating gestures, introducing deviations and stopping certainties in what is taken for granted, in the same field of photographic representation, as well as in relation to the tension between landscape and territory, or to the problems that accompany the understanding of history as an incontestable and univocal story ".
Bleda y Rosa Mandíbula de Sitges. Sitges, 2005. Sèrie Origen, en proceso desde 2003 31 fotografías © Bleda y Rosa, VEGAP, Barcelona, 2022
From an approach that understands the exhibition space as a place of rehearsal and reflection, this time the artists have chosen to present their work as a site-specific video installation, that is, as a sample designed specifically for for the space that hosts it. In this exhibition proposal, the photographic object disappears and the projections invite us to experiment with his work with other rhythms of contemplation, as well as to discover new associations between the images that make up each series.
Bleda y Rosa's images stand out for their slowness, for their previous research work and for the need to slowly capture an image or - what seems to be the same for artists - for the idea of narrating, through a series of images, a past that runs the risk of disappearing if we narrow it down into a single meaning. "From an approach close to an archaeological sensibility, Bleda y Rosa evoke the latent memories that cross in a less explicit way the heritage sites. Their works not only allow us to contemplate what we have not yet imagined, but which also open up an important reflection on the museification processes of the past ", points out Marta Dahó.
Bleda y Rosa Bunker Hill, 17 de junio de 1775 [Bunker Hill, 17 de juny del 1775], Boston, 2014. Sèrie Camps de batalla, 1994-2016 63 fotografies © Bleda y Rosa, VEGAP, Barcelona, 2022
With their photographs, artists open up different loopholes through which other ways of seeing, remembering and conceiving the past are chosen outside the established canons and institutions. In this sense, his work refers to the figure of the "angel of history" of Walter Benjamin, who looked back and contemplated an event that did not advance towards progress, but was completely in ruins, and which only there was hope that it could be rebuilt, perhaps with a different result.
Bleda and Rosa were awarded the National Photography Prize in 2008. Her work is part of numerous public and private art collections, such as the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Musée d'Art Moderne. de Céret (EPCC), the ”la Caixa” Foundation, the Bank of Spain, the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain de França, the Banco Espírito Santo de Portugal Collection or the MAPFRE Foundation.