The year 2010 ends with a great individual exhibition on the ground floor of MARCO. The Virxilio Vieitez (Soutelo de Montes, Pontevedra, 1930-2008) exhibition has been co-produced with Fundación Telefónica and takes place two years after the photographer’s death and in what would have been the eightieth anniversary of a photographer whose work, in the light of an a posteriori analysis, has acquired unquestionable artistic and social value thanks to the confluence of various genres and factors that place him today among the great names in the world of photography.
The Virxilio Vieitez archive is an important part of our cultural heritage and is maintained in Soutelo de Montes (Pontevedra, Spain), the town in which the photographer was born in 1930 and in which he worked almost all his life. His daughter, Keta Vieitez, exhibited her father’s photographs for the first time in a self-produced exhibition in his hometown in 1997. The exhibition included some of the photographs that were later to be considered as Vieitez’s greatest works. The first retrospective exhibition on his work was presented in Vigo at the Fotobienal of 1998, curated by Manuel Sendón and Xosé Luis Suárez Canal. Other later exhibitions offered a limited selection of his works from the material that is available.
For this exhibition, which seeks to give a complete view of his work, the investigation work has taken into consideration almost all the negatives dated between 1953 and 1980. More than 50,000 have been analysed and unpublished material (in sealed boxes and tins that contained yards of film that had never been developed after its first use, i.e. after the customer had commissioned the work) has also been recovered.
Besides photographs that have already been shown, which can be considered as classics of Spanish photography, the exhibition includes unpublished work that has been selected after a lengthy study. This work reveals Vieitez’s originality when interpreting the genre of photographic portraits. One room is devoted entirely to photographs taken for identity documents. All these photographs use a white background and offer an ethnographical representation of great value through the faces of people whose own features and uniqueness contribute to the portrait of a people. The exhibition closes with Vieitez’s first colour photographs, which mark the progress of an era in which technological innovation coincided with technological and social changes that also forced and distorted the language of photography. The exhibition also includes a biographical room and the screening of a documentary by José Luis López Linares (RTVE, 2005) including interviews with Virxilio and his daughter Keta Vieitez, which add a new external viewpoint through a journey into the author’s world.
In 1993, Vieitez gave his daughter complete freedom to use his photographs for the sake of art and, since then, she has always applied a system focus on guaranteeing the high quality of the prints and the selection of the works. The photographs on exhibition are modern copies made in specialised laboratories. Next to them and for the first time, in the showcases and in the biographical room, there are vintage photographs, developed by Vieitez himself and recovered in part from the homes of the families for which they were taken.
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