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Regional Museum of Modern Art in Cartagena exhibits photographs by Ana Torralva
Collage como objeto inteligente. @ Ana Torralva.

CARTAGENA.- Spanish photographer Ana Torralva presents ‘Theory and play of the duende’ in the Regional Museum of Modern Art in Cartagena (Murcia, Spain). Curated by the author herself alongside Juan García Sandoval (director of the MURAM), it's an anthological exhibition of her work, composed of 65 carefully selected black and white portraits of great figures of flamenco - some of them are exhibited for the first time in public-, in several of which the author introduces the fragmentation with pictures divided into sequences of feet, hands, footwork or waist...

As if she were a songwriter, Ana Torralva shows through gestures and portraits the sayings and feelings that flood her vast fascination for flamenco. Such fascination has led her to picture important figures of flamenco for serveral decades, among which we can see Camarón, Paco de Lucía, Enrique Morente, Remedios Amaya, ‘El Cigala’, Manolo Sanlúcar, Carmen Linares and María Pagés.

The exhibition synthesizes more than twenty years of work through a guiding thread: an inquiry about the origin of emotions in art through photography, specifically about the duende in flamenco. Magic and reflection merge in Ana’s images, where she highlights the person’s psychological features.

The technique of sequences and fragmentations help Ana in her method of reflecting reality in an abstract way: “I reinterpret at the same time that I play (in the serious way of the term) and I suggest theoretical questions in a conceptual way.”

They are speaking images. They capture unique moments in photography. Ana Torralva shows us moments of expressivity, the spirit and the passion of flamenco. Her portraits show the strength, emotion and contained tension; dance, flamenco singing and the touch with duende, a mysterious and unspeakable charm.

According to the art critic Alfonso de la Torre, author of a text in the catalog (“Ana Torralva: album of restlessness”), a fundamental issue is the investigation that this creator performs around appearances, comparing certain areas of her work with the reflections of the artist Juan Muñoz, noting that those images “so powerfully bring to me the horror of the world’s murmur.”

De la Torre states that “our artist's characters are portrayed in an instant that comes up like silence; at times seemingly static and at times challengingly looking beyond the image. Some artists close their eyes as abandoned to their own trance, and some expose their eyelids to nothingness. As if they were geographical images, Torralva manages to compose faces like fields or buildings in ruins with the wounds or furrows marked along the passing of time. “I work in search of truth”, our artist remarks meaningfully. She is in search of the elusive truth, we add.”

The exhibition is promoted and organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, the General Direction of Cultural Heritage and the Regional Museum of Modern Art of the autonomous community of Murcia, and the support of Caja Murcia.

Ana Torralva is one of the best and most important photographers in Spain and specializes in portraits. Her professional portraits are known for a search of psychological features and the purity of shapes that are relevant to her artistic work which reached maturity at the beginning of the ‘80’s. Her style has a strong influence on a new generation of photographers.

She began her studies in painting at the Fine Arts College in Valencia and finished her degree at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid in 1986. She received her PhD in Art and Photography at the University of Salamanca in 2011 where she has taught Photography and Projects since 1991. She was a press photographer for the newspaper El País from 1983-1995. She created the graphic edition in Valencia and then moved to Madrid where she continued publishing in El País Semanal and Babelia.

Portraits of writers, musicians, and showbiz people are among some of her first works that have given her major artistic and professional acknowledgement. Her series of women writers is remarkable. These portraits of women of all times reflect her recurrent bias towards the feminine world. Due to her use of light and contrasts she is considered a 'pictorial' photographer.

Flamenco has come to be one of her favorite topics. She works from an intimate viewpoint, using side lighting in order to strengthen the drama and expression in her characters. Since 1985, she has exhibited the projects: Retratos y Paisajes de El cante de las Minas. La Unión (1996), Ha pasado un Duende (1999), and Duendes del Flamenco (2005).

In such projects she has achieved an intimate form of photography that captures the power and richness of "el cante" (flamenco singing), the music and dance that convey flamenco feelings and emotions, both from the ephemeral moment and from the percussion rhythm and movement.

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