For the last 19 years, the PHotoEspaña festival has endeavoured to educate and expose guests and artists alike to a variety of photographic and visually artistic talents in Madrid, and aims to continue to achieve its goals this year as it runs from the 1st of June through to the 28th of August. According to the organisation which runs the event, La Fabrica, the programme for the festival intends to include exhibitions with artworks commissioned by a variety of artists specialising in an assortment of fields, which seek to challenge and analyse Europe as a concept as well as a function and a socio-political organisation.
Since its inauguration, the festival has hosted over 1,000 exhibitions in some of Madrid’s main museums, galleries and art centres. This year it aims to continue in exposing artists of various cultures and nationalities to guests, an approach which was more heavily initiated in 2014. In accordance to this, the festival in 2016 endeavours to include works from the Spanish photographer Linarejos Moreno and the French monographic photographer, Bernard Plossu, who was awarded the yearly PHotoEspaña in 2013. Further to this ambition, there may be themed exhibitions such as “transitions” and “migrations” which aim to explore important themes, both contemporary and historic, which have occurred in continental Europe over the last few centuries.
Madrid in itself may be considered a modern representation of European diversity and history, and could have many attractions, which aim to represent this notion. In addition to the perhaps more classical sights of interest such as the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, the Gran Vía and the Alcalá Gate, there may also be slighter known attractions such as the Mercado de San Miguel and the Cava Baja street near Plaza Mayor, which both may provide authentic Spanish cuisine and opportunities such as Tapas, Flamenco bars and Sangria. Also on Cava Baja street resides the Casa Lucio restaurant, which opened in 1974 and has been run by the Blázques family since it’s inauguration, endeavoring to maintain the work of the founder, Lucio, who himself worked for the building’s previous restaurant business himself before taking over as an adult.
Also on offer on Madrid may be a wide selection of educational and enriching museums, such as the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (National museum of Natural Science) or the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte (National museum Art Center), which aim to encourage invention, creativity and modernity whilst appreciating the merit of history and classicism. Another opportunity to enrich and immerse oneself in the melting pot of Madrid may be the El rastro flea market which aims to occur on every Sunday and public holiday throughout the year, where visitors may buy antiques, exchange items and might discover new and enlightening pieces of art, food, music and potentially even furniture.
Madrid in itself seems to be a city prioritising Eurocentric immersion whilst upholding a strong sense of tradition and Spanish culture, and these ambitions may be reflected in the events, attractions and sights of the city. Through commemorations such as the PHotoEspaña festival which aim to unite guests through artwork, the future as well as the history of various nationalities and continents may be easier to envision. Guests may refreshingly find themselves having a glimpse into and experiencing cultures from around the globe simply by attending a festival such as this which encourages artistic immersion. There is much to see.
What are the potential benefits of newer art forms such as photography being promoted in seasoned cities like Madrid?