This morning, Bombas Gens Centre d’Art presented The Whiteness of the Whale, the solo exhibition by New York based, British photographer Paul Graham. It opened after a lecture by the artist, and will welcome visitors until 27th May 2018. Curated by Christopher McCall and organised by Pier 24 Photography (San Francisco), this exhibition collects three series of photographs made in the United States between 1998 and 2011: American Night, a shimmer of possibility, and The Present. The artist himself has been in charge of distributing the artworks in the galleries of Bombas Gens.
“Paul Graham’s work fits perfectly with our project, apart from his unquestionable artistic value, fits for its subject matter. In the same way we focus on social inequality, Graham also centres his attention to this topic”, explains Susana Lloret, Director of Fundació Per Amor a l’Art.
The Whiteness of the Whale features nearly sixty works, ranging from singular large-scale photographs to sequences of over twenty images. Four of the artworks presented in the exhibition belong to the Per Amor a l’Art collection, which counts with a total amount of nine artworks by the artist. “Paul Graham had to be in the collection. Because he is one of the most important photographers of the contemporary scene, successor of the street photography, and responsible for furthering the heritage of the masters such as Walter Evans o Robert Frank”, claims Vicente Todolí, Artistic Director at FPAA.
For his part, the artist has confessed feeling amazed by the space and the refurbishment that has taken place: “I’m extremely happy to be making this exhibition in Valencia. It’s a great honour to have a show in a new museum. I saw the raw space years ago and now I was shocked by the change. It is an amazing renovation and an amazing space. It is so friendly and warm, not at all hard or aggressive. What a triumph!”
Graham’s three bodies of work from this period operate as an informal trilogy, linked not only by common subject matter, but also by underlying issues such as racial and social inequality, the texture of everyday life, and the nature of sight, perception, and photography itself. “Graham continues to seek out innovative solutions to the challenges of photographing life as-it-is, creating works that both speak to the social fabric of contemporary America and reflect broader experiences of being and seeing in the world today”, says Nuria Enguita, Bombas Gens Centre d’Art’s director.
As his first body of work produced in the United States, American Night (1998-2002), chronicles Graham’s initial impressions of this country and its socioeconomic divisions. Through the combination of nearly invisible, overexposed images and full-colour photographs, the work presents contrasting views that suggest contemporary America’s unspoken but omnipresent class divide. The artist shows the viewer what he wants to see and what he does not.
A SHIMMER OF POSSIBILITY
The series a shimmer of possibility (2004-2006) is the product of journeying and roaming across everyday America. Rather than striving for a single, decisive image, Graham embraces the stuttering process of seeing and recognizing. Including spatial and temporal intervals, Graham’s sequences of photographs develop an American epic of incidental, small things.
The Present (2009-2011) recalls the tradition of New York street photography, encapsulating the frenetic energy of Manhattan and the constant shifts in attention between people and places on the city’s unruly stage.
Paul Graham is known internationally from his very first book A1. The Great North Road (1981-1982. His work is a benchmark in the history of documentary photography in Britain. Since 2002, he lives and works in the United States. His works have been exhibited in the most important artistic institutions including the (MoMA) in New York and Tate Gallery in London. His most recent relevant publications are: End of an Age (Scalo, 1998) or Does Yellow Run Forever? (Mack, 2014), as well as the book accompanying this project published also by Mack, The Whiteness of the Whale (2015).
PER AMOR A L’ART FOUNDATION
The driving force behind this new initiative is Fundació Per Amor a l’Art, a foundation dedicated to art (seeking to heighten artistic sensibility in society by showing its Per Amor a l’Art collection to the public), research (studying and promoting aspects related with Wilson’s disease and other rare illnesses) and social action (concerned with the poor and underprivileged, particularly children in situations of vulnerability).
Download here the press kit: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1fWtr5oqLTem08o7ViTOqdrm7Fyp3lmEW?usp=sharing