Alfredo Cortina, Venezuelan photographer, never exhibited his work nor spoke of his existence during his lifetime, despite the quality we can recognize in all his work. He was an accurate witness of his own time, who managed to present artless both sides of his country, totally opposed to each other: the poorer towns and villages compared to that of the Europeanized elites who lived in luxury. La Fábrica in collaboration with the Urban Photography Archive of Venezuela - an institution dedicated to the preservation, dissemination and research of urban memory of Venezuela through photography - has collected 60 photographs in black and white on a new volume, with a foreword by the modern art curator and historian Ariel Jiménez.
Publicist, radio and television scriptwriter, inventor and incognito photographer. Alfredo Cortina (Carabobo, 1903 - Caracas 1988) developed all these activities throughout his life, but the most unknown one was his work as a photographer - indeed always kept hidden and never exhibited any of his photographs.
The PHotoBolsillo collection rescues - in collaboration with the Archives Urban Photography of Venezuela - the work of this photographer who reflect from a "cold" look - which does not seem to take sides - the paradoxes and contrasts of the Twentieth Century Venezuela.
More specifically the reality of that country between 1936 and 1989 unfolded in towns and villages with miserable dirty children playing in the streets; and the atmosphere of the Europeanized elites, at clean streets of urban environments filled with shops and airports.
Cortina's work is presented as a system of these oppositions, witnessed the failure of a modernity and progress project that could not seem to get ahead. A system also reflects contrasts with snapshots of the new architectural structures of the country, chaired by concrete constructions, as opposed to the colonial Venezuela with its wooded mansions.
The book features 60 photographs in black and white, preceded by a foreword by historian and modern art curator Ariel Jimenez. Images of streets, buildings, rural and urban landscapes, a series devoted to the corners of Caracas and several ones in which Cortina uses his wife, the poetess Elizabeth Schön, who Cortina used as an anchor point, axis or scale reference for many of his photographs during more than thirty years.
Alfredo Cortina's images are an almost unknown artistic and sociological discovery in Europe. In fact, images of Cortina were selected by the curator Luis Pérez Oramas for the Thirtieth Biennial of São Paulo (2012), who defined the Venezuelan photographer as "an anticipated Cindy Sherman."