Gabriel Casas. Photography, information and modernity, 1929-1939
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
Gabriel Casas is one of the most important Spanish photographers of the interwar period. He was of the first photographers in the peninsula to adopt the pictorial language of the New Vision, the movement started in Germany which stirred up the photography field with the use of surprising framing, low angle and high angle shots, light and shape contrasts, photomontages…
The exhibition gathers 120 pictures from one of the photographer’s best moment: from the International Exhibition in Barcelona at 1929 to the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939. Through a visual itinerary, visitors will explore the relation of Gabriel Casas to the New Photography, to questions of modernity and to the social and political issues of his time.
The exhibition Gabriel Casas. Photography, news and modernity, 1929-1939 retrieves the figure of one of the most important Spanish photographers of the period between the wars. The exhibition is based on the photographs Gabriel Casas took between the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and the end of the Spanish Civil War, 1939, the moment when his work reached a peak of maturity.
Gabriel Casas had a good visual training, in which photography had a central role, both in the family sphere –his father and grandfather used photography and painting– and at a professional level –he trained in Rafael Areñas’s photography studio, one of the most important in Barcelona at the beginning of the 20th century.
In the mid-1920s he went freelance, combining news and sports photography with advertising and industrial photography. His photographic production was well received. He started contributing to some of the most important illustrated news magazines of the time, such as Imatges and D’Ací i D’Allà, and worked as a photographer for different departments of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan Government) and Barcelona City Council.
His links to avant-garde art circles, in which photography and film played an important part and were considered the new artistic techniques, led him to become one of the first Spanish professional photographers to use the language of the New Vision. He resorted to aesthetic as well as psychological considerations in his news photographs, in which he used bird’s-eye and worm’s-eye views, photomontage, off-centre lines of symmetry and fragmentation and created a language that broke with mainstream production in Spain at the time and that connected him with the work of the European artistic avant-garde that artists and theorists like László Moholy-Nagy were beginning to promote.