BWGallerist

Preview: No Singing Allowed – Flamenco and Photography

In Article, Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Gallery on February 11, 2010 at 10:32 am

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Carlos Saura “Maria Pages”

Now on view through April 1 at Aperture Gallery in NYC is a muti-decade survey of photographs with the unusual topic of flamenco dancing.

We were in San Miguel Allende, Mexico a number of years ago at a small cafe, “Magritte”,  where they presented flamenco dancing, even at lunch hour, in a small 10 table room. To watch the drama of this dancing in such a confined space was to appreciate the intricacy and power of this historic folk art form. As evidenced by these images, portraits of the dancers lend themselves easily to photography.

Whether as social phenomenon or musical expression, flamenco has been of enduring interest and inspiration to photographers from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. While some photographers from outside of Spain went in search of it or encountered it by chance, to others flamenco and its practitioners are an essential, if not innate, aspect of their cultural heritage and their photographic work. This artistic form—also considered a way of life or being—has generated fascination in cultured urban circles, remaining one of the most secret, mysterious, and seductive manifestations of twentieth-century European popular art. Marginalized and ostracized, the world of flamenco took root in an economically backward region of southern Europe, culturally peripheral and marked by a history of authoritarianism and local despotisms. This exhibition of more than one hundred and fifty years of images, frequently taken by foreigners rather than Spaniards, is an extensive survey of how photographers of different eras have approached the universe of flamenco, whether documenting the dance itself, gestures that recall it, or the culture that is developed around it.

For more information: Aperture Gallery

For a New York Times Dance section review by Alastair Macaulay: “Freeze-Frame Flamenco

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