Madrid

Francesc Català-Roca

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Spanish culture grew lethargic after the civil war. Economic hardship, the absence of great figures such as Buñuel, García Lorca, and Dalí, among others, who were either in exile or dead, and an oppressive social environment constituted a fertile terrain for cultural mediocrity. That’s why the fresh and energetic contribution of Francesc Català-Roca (1922–98) was so unusual; his direct way of making images had few immediate precedents in the country’s culture. He was the first of a brilliant generation of photographers that emerged in the ’50s. Until recently denied any real public recognition, they are now considered one of the most important creative phenomena in recent Spanish culture. Gabriel Cualladó, Ramón Massats, Francisco Ontañón, Joan Colom, and Carlos Pérez Siquier were among Català-Roca’s creative peers, and, like him, they embraced the documentary and neorealist

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