Vera Chaves Barcellos

Memória de Barcelona, 1977

Information

Location Gallery 1
Artist

Vera Chaves Barcellos

Title Memória de Barcelona, 1977
Medium B/W-photographs on silver gelatin bromide paper with text by Lluis llach y Raimón in pencil
Dimensions 33 x 22 cm
Copyright © Vera Chaves Barcellos; de las fotografías | all photographs: Archivo Helga de Alvear | Joaquín Cortés
Exhibition number AW103

In 1977, the artist Vera Barcellos roamed the streets of Barcelona and photographed graffiti with political slogans critical of Francoism, which had dominated Spain for decades. The dictator Francisco Franco had died two years earlier, and the country was in a phase known as ""Transitión"", the changeover from dictatorship to democracy. The first free, general elections since 1936 were about to take place. But there was uncertainty about whether the old regime could be wholly overcome. Franco's supporters remained powerful and influential.

Vera Barcellos is from Brazil. Her home country was under military dictatorship at the time, so she followed the upheaval in Spain with special interest. Her photographs are a record of how words reclaimed the streets. For her, the political messages on the city's walls were signs of hope and a new beginning. You might even say the artist put them to music. With a pencil, she added lyrics by the Catalan songwriters Raimon and Lluís Llach around the photographs. The pair were known for their protest songs against the Franco regime.

Music, perhaps even more so than photography, is capable of storing and evoking memories of a particular period. By triggering the sound of the songs with her writing, Barcellos drew on that potential. She intensified the political slogans by adding a poetic dimension, which allowed her to preserve her "Memória de Barcelona", her "Memories of Barcelona", on an emotional level.

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