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18 September - 3 November 2015


Coinciding with the exhibit Arissa. The Shadow and the Photographer. 1922-1936, the CGAC is offering a series of lectures and communications that will discuss how research work and the assessment of different historic photo archives led to new interpretations of various artists.

Arissa is a clear example of how research and the preservation of his archives made it possible to shed new light on this photographer, traditionally labelled as pictorialist, leading to the revelation of his avant-garde stage linked to the international movements of the nineteen-thirties. The Spanish Civil War totally wiped out the possibility of continuing with these avant-garde practices. Today, the recovery of those initiatives is a way to try and make amends for the silencing of a history left unfinished and to restore the rigorous precision that is essential to our historic memory.

The first lecture of the series will be given by Rafael Levenfeld and ValentínVallhonrat, curators of Arissa. They will discuss their other research work on photo archives: Marín, Brangulí e Ortiz-Echagüe.

Manuel Sendón and Xosé Luís Súarez Canal will present their research on historic photo archives in Galicia, focussing on José Suárez—they are currently preparing an exhibition of his work that is scheduled to open in November 2015—and on Virxilio Viéitez, a studio photographer in rural Galicia whom they put at the forefront of international attention in the late nineteen-nineties.

Juan Manuel Castro Prieto helped foster the recovery and international esteem of Peruvian photographer, Chambi, and his own photographic work was deeply marked by his experience in Peru. One of his most recent shows is a kind of dialogue with Chambi through the observation of life in Peru.

Coinciding with his exhibition Interactions at the CGAC, Javier Vallhonrat, in a conversation with Santiago Olmo, will discuss how his project has been inspired by the images of the Pyrenees taken by Joseph Vigier in 1853.

Winding up the series, Javier Ortiz-Echagüe will centre his talk on filmmaker José Val del Omar, who presents the problem of identity from an avant-garde perspective. The exhibition on this artist, presented at the CGAC this year, highlights his special relationship with Galicia.

Archives as a tool for historical research and creation.


18 September: Photographs, Archives, Exhibitions. A lecture by Rafael Levenfeld and Valentín Vallhonrat

Lecture Audio Recording [Spanish]

30 September: Centro de Estudos Fotográficos. Thirty Years Reclaiming Galician Historic photografphy. A lecture by Xosé Luís Suárez Canal and Manuel Sendón

Lecture Audio Recording (Part I) [Galician]

Lecture Audio Recording (Part II) [Galician]

22 October: Martín Chambi: Tracing the Master. A lecture by Juan Manuel Castro Prieto

Lecture Audio Recording (Part I) [Spanish]

Lecture Audio Recording (Part II) [Spanish]

29 October: Javier Vallhonrat in conversation with Santiago Olmo

Lecture Audio Recording [Spanish]

3 November: Val del Omar, the History of a Revision. A lecture by Javier Ortiz-Echagüe

Lecture Audio Recording [Spanish]

Lecture Audio Recording [Spanish]

All sessions will take place in the CGAC Board of Trustees Conference Room at 18:30 p. m. Entrance is free until full capacity is reached.

Rafael Levenfeld and Valentín Vallhonrat

Rafael Levenfeld studied Economics and Publicity. He has worked in the field of photography since 1976. In 1980 he co-founded the magazine Photovision with Joan Fontcuberta, Adolfo Martínez and Ignacio González. In 1983 he started the Escuela de Técnica y Estética Fotográfica (School of Photographic Techniques and Aesthetics) in Madrid. In 1991 he was named advisor to the Foundation, “la Caixa”, a position he held until 1992. He has been an advisor to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunyasince 1997.

Valentín Vallhonrat studied Information Science. Since 1986 he has worked as a photographer with Vogue magazine, collaborating on various editions—English, Italian, German, Portuguese and Japanese. In 1990 he received the Cecil Beaton photography award. In the 1990s he did specialized print runs of photos for many different exhibitions all over the world. His work has been shown at a number of national and international museums.

In 1996 he co-founded Levenfeld + Vallhonrat, an association dedicated to the preservation, recovery and exhibition of photography collections. The two photographers are currently the artistic directors of the University of Navarra Museum.


Manuel Sendón and Xosé Luis Suárez Canal

Manuel Sendón holds a degree in Mathematics and a PhD. in Fine Arts (the title of his dissertation was La fotografía aficionada en Galicia. 1950-1965 [Amateur Photography in Galicia 1950-1965]). He currently teaches at the School of Fine Arts in Pontevedra. He has published five photography books and has shown his work in many exhibitions.

Xosé Luís Suárez Canal holds a Liberal Arts degree with a major in French Philology. He was an associate professor of photography at the School of Communication Sciences of the University of Santiago de Compostela. He has been featured in several different photography shows, both solo and collective.

Together they direct the Centro de Estudos Fotográficos (Centre for Photography Studies); they curated the Photo Biennial of Vigo from 1984 to 2000, and the Sala dos Peiraos in Vigo from 1985 to 1991. They are also the directors of the Álbum e Do Trinque collections and have published several monographic works on Galician photographers such as Ksado, José Suárez and Virxilio Vieitez, and photographic archives like the Pacheco Archive or the one pertaining to José M.ª Massó. In addition, they published the book by Manuel Ferrol, Emigración, and authored a monographic work on the studio portrait called Pano de fondo. All of these publications were accompanied by exhibitions that were curated by the two photographers.


Juan Manuel Castro Prieto is an economist by training and a self-taught photographer, like most of the artists of his generation. His ties with photography date back to 1977. In the early 1980s he began his studies at the Royal Photographic Society of Madrid where he met Gerardo Vielba, Gabriel Cualladó, Paco Gómez and Juan Dolcet. In 1990 he travelled to Cuzco, Perú to collaborate with Juan Manuel Díaz Burgos on making positives from the original glass plates of the work of master photographer Martín Chambi. This first trip to Peru marked the beginning of a long relationship with the country. He would travel there nine more times to complete his book, Perú, viaje al sol which was accompanied by an exhibition at the Centro Cultural de la Villa in Madrid in 2001 and later shown in other parts of Spain as well as in France, Belgium, Italy, Guatemala, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.

With the help of the family of Martín Chambi, he worked on a Project which followed the footsteps of the Peruvian photographer, leading to an itinerant exhibit and a book, entitled Martín Chambi-Perú-Castro Prieto in 2011.

His work has received many awards, namely the César Vallejo of Peru, the Bartolomé Ros PhotoEspaña award and the photography prize given by the Autonomous Community of Madrid.


Javier Vallhonrat holds a degree in Fine Arts and Psychology. He works primarily with photography by exploring its limits as a language and creating a dialogue between it and painting, video art, performance and installation art. Over the course of more than three decades, he has combined the development of his photographic work with teaching at both public and private institutions in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Spain, France, Finland, Italy, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom. For the last five years he has worked in settings under extreme conditions and geoclimatic processes, carrying out long-term projects that are still underway at the present time.

His work has been exhibited in many different museums and institutions all over the world and can be found in collections in Madrid at the Reina Sofía Museum; in Luxembourg at the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art; and in Philadelphia at the Institute of Contemporary Art, to name a few. Sixteen monographic volumes of his work have been published and he has won many different prizes such as the National Photography Award, the photography prize given by the Autonomous Community of Madrid, the award of the City Council of Madrid and the Bartolomé Ros PhotoEspaña award.


Javier Ortiz Echagüe holds a degree in Art History and a PhD. in Information Science from the Complutense University of Madrid. He has taught at the University of Castilla la Mancha (The School of Fine Arts in Cuenca) and Carlos III University in Madrid. He was also a visiting researcher at the University of Provence and New York University. He is the author of an anthology of the texts of José Val del Omar, Escritos de técnica, poética y mística (La Central, Barcelona, 2010) and was the assistant curator of the exhibition, Desbordamiento de Val del Omar (Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid, 2010). He also curated Ortiz Echagüe. Norte de África( Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2013) and is the author of the book entitled Yuri Gagarin y el conde de Orgaz. Mística y estéticaen la era espacial (Jorge Oteiza, Yves Klein, José Val del Omar) (Oteiza Museum, Alzuza, Navarra, 2014). Along with Horacio Fernández, he co-edited Fotos&libros. España 1905-1977 (RM, México/Barcelona, 2014). He is currently the conservator of the collection of the Museum of the University of Navarra, where he also teaches.

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