WASHINGTON, DC.- AMA | Art Museum of the Americas
presents Retrato en voz alta (Out Loud Portraits), an exhibition of photographs by Mexican Allan Fis curated by Graciela Kartofel. Ambassador Emilio Rabasa, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the OAS, opened this exhibition on Wednesday, March 5 at 6pm.
It is fitting that this body of work be exhibited at AMAs F Street Gallery. After all, AMAs belief in the transformative power of the arts now reaches across nearly a century of the OAS/Pan-American Unions visual arts program, and here we see some of AMAs collections most prominent artists with the lens turned back on themselves. Fiss portraits of José Luis Cuevas, Pedro Friedeberg, Roberto Cortázar, and Manuel Felguérez, among many other significant modern and contemporary artists, reveal the gazes of those who have produced work now housed by AMA. As a body of work, Retrato en voz alta is of the lineage of powerful, communicative art that has shaped the OASs AMA | Art Museum of the Americas.
According to exhibition curator Graciela Kartofel, a New York-based Argentine art historian and critic, Allan Fiss portraits highlight their subjects faces, transmitting emotions, expressions, and obsessions, revealing very personal gestures of 24 of Mexicos most renowned visual artists. Each artwork is a retrato en voz alta (out loud portrait) due to their intensity as well as the whispered intimacy of the black-and white photography. Fiss work offers a glimpse into the intrinsic and intellectual quality of his subjects. Fis dedicated a full decade to this project. In the books prologue, Rafael Tovar y de Teresa, president of Mexicos National Culture and the Arts, calls the work and the book it birthed truly unique.
The balance of technique and creative license raises many questions. Fis describes his method in these terms: I used analog materials, photographed in medium format negative black-and-white film, and printed them by myself in my dark room
Each original is 11 x 14 silver-gelatin print, all on fiber paper. Then the photos were scanned for the book production. Irma Zermeños interviews with each artist subject offer unusual dialogues. This is a curated traveling exhibition, where each images intellectual and visceral impulses converge, and then transcend out loud.
Fiss photographs turn the lens on artists, representing those who ordinarily are the ones depicting other subjects. It is an ambitious project that aims at maintaining itself reflected as a resounding portrait of those who have invested themselves in creating and dedicating their entire lives to art.