Eduardo Haro y Lirio

Alberto García-Alix1980

Fundacion MAPFRE

Fundacion MAPFRE
Madrid, Spain

FUNDACION MAPFRE has made an acquisition that offers a broad view of the artist’s career, including works dating from 1978 to 2011: self-portraits (Autorretrato en moto, [Self-portrait on a Motorbike] 1978); iconic contemporary portraits (La gordita del barrio [The Neighborhood Fatty], 1987, or La princesita [The Little Princess], 1988), as well as recent works such as Testigos de un crimen [Witnesses of a Crime], 2010, or Monólogo con un cuervo [Monologue with a Crow], 2011, where the inner quest is reflected by what seems most alien, most distant to us, such as a bird or a plant.

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  • Title: Eduardo Haro y Lirio
  • Date Created: 1980
  • Physical Dimensions: w56 x h37 cm (Without frame, without passepartout)
  • Photographer: Alberto García-Alix
  • More Info: Official website
  • Artist Biography: Alberto García-Alix, (1956) “A way of looking is a way of being. This is the place we work from.” García-Alix has a deep, rasping voice, as if in his tone, he’s trying to remember, with every syllable, all that has been experienced. Fortunately, in Alberto García-Alix, the photographer has become more dominant than the character. García-Alix was born in León in 1956, and since the first time he hung a camera around his neck, he has never let it drop. Photography arrived in his life by accident and from the moment his parents gave him a camera for Christmas, at his own request, it was there to stay. Reviewing the vast body of the artist’s existing material (printed interviews, videos, texts), certain premises and ideas are repeated again and again; only the vigor or nuance surrounding them changes depending on the moment in which the photographer is talking. García-Alix is a photographer of words, with a discourse to hand, ready to shoot at the perfect moment: the magic of the encounter, the trance photography involves, the understanding of both humanity and reality that is required. Photography as a document, as a container of information, as a footprint and as memory. His photographic work is necessary to the telling of Spain’s history, and the artist has managed to survive that burden. Unintentionally, his pictures relate the chronicle of the awakening that followed the dictatorship, describing decades which are essential to an understanding of who we are, who we were, and what we lost along the way and what we gained. Throughout a career spanning more than thirty years, he has broadened his field of observation from his immediate environment to an outside world that sometimes appears in his work as something abstract; he has evolved from the literal and intense to what is intuited, to attain the overarching austere lyricism which flows through his latest works. The journey was made from the outside in, from telling the world’s story to telling his own story to himself. An exhibition by Walker Evans, and another by August Sander, caught the eye of the young man in the Eighties who created portraits of his friends and acquaintances, not knowing that these portraits would be revisited in the future to recount History. However, the portrait is the domain of the intimate and the solid core of a large part of his career, and to this day, in 2013, the artist roundly states: “I will always continue to make portraits”. For García-Alix, a portrait is a dance with a partner. Looking always implies intention and in the realm of the portrait, the exchange with the photographic subject is not an invasion of hostile territory, but a moment of mutual discovery shared by a couple. Between 1989 and 1997 García-Alix, taking many friends, acquaintances, lovers and passers-by with him, embarked on creating El Canto de la Tripulación [The Crew’s Song], a dreamlike and dreamed-of magazine – a libertarian, excessive, immense magazine. During that time, his way of looking at things became much more refined as he made decisions about design, layout and content: El Canto de la Tripulación was a great journey that he led as its captain, a journey we can revisit, as we can his pictures, to gain knowledge of the desires and yearnings of a whole high-spirited generation of artists and party animals who broke established rules, as is to be expected of all young people. Winning the Premio Nacional de Fotografía [National Photography Prize] in 1999 and the PHotoEspaña Award in 2012, and earning the title of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres the same year, his work can be found in collections such as those of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, MUSAC, ARTIUM, CGAC and Ordoñez-Falcón, as well as Moscow’s Multimedia Art Museum, the Fonds National d´Art Contemporain (Paris), the Speed Art Museum (EEUU), the Gundlanch Foundation (Germany) and the HAAG Photo Museum in Holland. He first showed his work in 1981 in Madrid, and has continued to do so without pause ever since. He would work at creating album and magazine covers, reports and portraits; as a curator, as an editor and as a lecturer; writing, designing publications and offering workshops and seminars. García-Alix will never run out of steam, although he sometimes slows his pace. In 2008, in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, he offered his biggest retrospective to date, De donde no se vuelve [From Where There is No Return], which would travel to China and Mexico. His explorations would lead him to the moving image, and to making videos and short films. The work of García-Alix is a living document. “I created portraits of my belongings, my vices and the street corners I used to hang out on because I wanted to raise them up to the heights of epic poetry. The vanity of excess, its glory and its wounds, attract my gaze”, said the artist in Escondido en mi miedo [Hidden in My Own Fear], a text for the catalogue accompanying the exhibition Alberto García-Alix. Autorretrato [Alberto García-Alix. Self-portrait], held at La Virreina Centre de la Imatge (Barcelona), in March 2013. “To look is to live”, continues the artist in the same text. Photography as a second skin. Photography as a route to knowledge, learning and the recognition of others; as a platform for salvation and as the path to excess. In the end, and always, photography. The only comrade that never abandoned ship. Paula Susaeta.
  • Type: Photography
  • Rights: © Alberto García-Alix. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Juana de Aizpuru, ©COLECCIONES FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE / Fernando Maquieira

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