The opening ceremony of the FIAP Exhibition Centre in Reus took place on February 29, 2020.
With the presence of Carles Pellicer, Mayor of Reus; Daniel Recasens, councilor of culture of the City of Reus; Joan Burgués, Vice President FIAP; Santos Moreno, President CEF; José A. Andrés, President FCF and Josep M Casanoves, EC Reus Director.
With a great public success.
In the presentation parliaments, the reason for an EC in Reus was explained and the inaugural exhibition was presented.
FIAP EXHIBITION CENTRE
CENTRE DE LA IMATGE MAS IGLESIAS REUS
Why have an International Federation of Photographic Art Exhibition Centre in Reus?
The links between the town of Reus and the FIAP go back a long way. It should be recalled that Fotosport, the FIAP-recognised international sports photography show, has been held here since 1970, making it the oldest event of its kind in Catalonia and the second-oldest in Spain recognised by the Federation; this year it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary.
Between 1973 and 1993 the Biennials Europa were also organised in Reus. In view of Catalonia's circumstances at the time, these represented a window open to the world, giving us a breath of fresh air and a new way of seeing the world and photography through the work artists sent us from all over the world.
Between 1995 and 2007, as part of the late lamented awards known as the Reus Awards, the culture department of Reus town council organised the Medalla Gaudí international photography biennials. The results of these can be seen in the opening exhibition at this FIAP Exhibition Centre, where the 175 winning works purchased in the seven events run are on display.
Since 2012 Reus has also hosted the Salons Europa, successors to the Europa biennials.
Finally, the Salons GaudiRfoto have been held since 2013, in some ways a continuation of the old Medalla Gaudí biennials; at the very least, these once again carry the name of Gaudí - the illustrious architect from Reus - around the world.
With GaudiRfoto in 2016, we took a step further and made it part of a photographic circuit that, starting out with Reus, brings together five countries in two continents. This was the beginning of the Intercontinental Circuit, which - as well as our venue - brought together the efforts of Andorra, Cuba, Panama and the Dominican Republic: five countries, two continents. Few other cities in the world, if any, run three international photography shows every year.
On a different level, there is more personal side to Reus' relations with the FIAP. In 1974, when Reus was already hosting Fotosport and the Medalla Gaudí biennial, the FIAP was not represented in Spain by any photographic club or federation. The FIAP itself proposed to Enric Pàmies that he represent it in Spain, as it was he who organised the two events in Reus.
This situation continued until 1985, when the Spanish photography confederation was set up and took over the role of representing FIAP in Spain. Three years before, in 1982, the Catalan photography federation had been founded. To some extent, Pàmies had been behind the creation of these bodies.
Enric Pàmies himself, at the FIAP's request, organised the 15th FIAP congress in Barcelona in 1979, with the support of La Caixa when it was still a savings bank. After all this work for international photography, Pàmies was first vice-president of the FIAP, from 1985 to 1995, and then president, from 1995 to 1999.
Reus also has high standing in the area of recognition of photographic merit, with three FIAP Master Photographers (MFIAP), the highest accolade the FIAP can award a photographer for their work.
In 1985 Josep Maria Ribas was the first MFIAP in Catalonia and, in fact, in Spain. In 1988 Enric Pàmies was also awarded this, and in 2012 Gràcia de la Hoz became the first - and currently the only - woman MFIAP in Catalonia and Spain. It is very unusual to have three MFIAPs in the same town, even more so considering that there are only eight in Catalonia and eight more in the rest of Spain.
In view of this background, when the FIAP proposed the setting up of Exhibition Centres some four years ago, to publicise artistic photography and raise its profile around the world, we immediately thought CIMIR, the Mas Iglesias, should be the principal FIAP Exhibition Centre in Catalonia. Now this project is coming to fruition and, in coordination with its calendar of more local and more varied exhibitions, CIMIR's agenda is to include several exhibitions under the auspices of the FIAP, placing the Mas Iglesias on the world map.
This milestone for the venue is marked by the exhibition "Biennals Internacionals Medalla Gaudí, 1995-2007. Una experiència fotogràfica apassionant" (Medalla Gaudí international biennials 1995-2007: a thrilling photographic experience), a retrospective of the winning works from these shows.
MEDALLA GAUDÍ INTERNACIONAL BIENNALS, 1995-2007
A thrilling photographic experience
1970 saw the first Fotosport international sports photography show in Reus. This has continued every year since then, and this autumn will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. It is the oldest international photography event in Catalonia.
In 1973 the Europa international photography biennials began. Though they were organised by the association of staff at La Caixa savings bank, they were always run from Reus.
Both events were started by Enric Pàmies, and with them Reus organised two FIAP-recognised photography shows.
The Europa biennials came to an end in 1993, and at that time both the Agrupació Fotogràfica Reus and the culture department of the town council thought Reus should continue to play a leading role on the international photographic scene. In this way the Medalla Gaudí international photography biennials came into being.
The Medalla Gaudí biennials were part of the much-missed awards that went under the name Premis Reus. These awards already included the Mostra Estatal de Fotografia, the Spanish photography show held every year. This became biennial, held in even years, while the Medalla Gaudí biennials were held in odd years.
Being part of the Premis Reus represented a major challenge, both in coming up to the level of prestige of the other events and in trying to focus the new event on free creativity in the field of photography, in an environment where many photography events restricted creativity rather than fostering it, whether in terms of subjects, techniques or size.
Thus, the rules for the biennials outlined the philosophy that was to guide this new event. They said: “REASONS.
The Medalla Gaudí international photography biennials invite photographic artists all over the world to research and experiment - using old photographic techniques as well as the newest, most advanced - to create images whose primary motivation is free creation.
Examples of these techniques could include: pinhole photography, pigmentation processes (carbon, gum bichromate, cyanotype, salted paper, Van Dyke brown, albumin, bromoil), photoengraving, Polaroid (retouched and transfer), collage, photomontage, digital photography, etc.
These techniques should be focused on seeking new approaches to creative photography.”
And the theme under which the biennials were organised was:
“Alternative and experimental photography (old and new techniques at the service of today's photography).”
Most shows at the time received the photographs from their authors, reached their verdict, some of them published a catalogue of whatever quality, put on an exhibition, returned the works to their authors and that was the end of it.
But we were rather more innovative in terms of appreciating photography as the art it is. As well as putting on the exhibitions, generally of the hundred finalist works, we awarded twenty-five prizes, in no special order as we felt that with works in such diverse techniques it was impossible and unfair to establish a hierarchy of prizes. Moreover, the winning works were purchased and went into the creative photography collection of the Fototeca Municipal in Reus.
We can say with certainty that we were the first of the FIAP-backed shows to purchase photographs to put them in a museum. Moreover, apart from the purchase, the prize included a bronze medal specially designed every year by the artist Ramon Ferran. As Ferran himself said, today's medals have become multiple sculpture. This means the Gaudí medals can be considered as a small sculpture, a small work of art. And these medals were awarded to the winners every year.
In the seven editions organised before the Premis Reus sadly came to an end, we added 175 works to the Fototeca's collection - the ones you can see today in this exhibition.
While it is true that these works were displayed at the time in the presentation of each year's event, we had never really grasped the importance of all the pictures purchased until now, when we can see them all together, with the bonus that some of the authors on show here have gone on over the years to earn recognition in the world of photography.
As their subject matter and above all their techniques are so varied, this might seem a collection of unconnected works that form a rather mixed bag, but in fact the opposite is true. This diversity of techniques and approaches to the image by each artist reinforces the whole and makes it a highly educational exhibition in which different pieces might appeal to us more or less, but we cannot be indifferent to them.
If this exhibition manages to awaken audiences' interest in understanding the works on display and thinking about the techniques used, we will have achieved something, apart of course from publicising part of the considerable holdings of the wonderful Mas Iglesias in Reus.
The exhibition is complemented by two audio-visuals:
· "Women Lifecycle", from the FIAP Collections Service
· GaudiRfoto 2019, VII International Photography Salon that is part of IV Intercontinental Circuit of Photography. Award-winning works