José Manuel Ballester

Distrito Cu4tro

For José Manuel Ballester, the relationship between painting and photography has always been ambivalent yet intimate. Early in his career, the artist formulated two different and largely unrelated bodies of work. His paintings demonstrated a desire to connect to the great European pictorial tradition (that, thanks to the Prado Museum, is so accessible in Madrid), and they betrayed a certain romanticism that has remained with Ballester to this day. In addition to the paintings, however, he also undertook photographic projects, which concerned specific sites in Madrid, including the Royal Theater and a new skyscraper under construction.

Though the critical response to this combination of pictorial and photographic work was not positive, he continued working in both fields. Gradually his work with the brush and his work with the camera drew closer: His paintings, metaphysical landscapes that

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