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Photographica Ovidiana exhibition at the MUA

Alicante, 13 March 2017

Translated by María Navarro Martínez

 

The works of Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso (Sulmona, 43 B.C. - Tomis. 17 A.D), especially his Metamorphosis, have inspired writers, painters and sculptors of all times and places due to their extraordinary plasticity. However, his works about his banishment, which he is believed to have composed in the last ten years of his life from the city of Tomis (nowadays known as Constanta) on the Black Sea coast, have had almost not recreations, least of all on photographs.

This exhibition, comprising more than fifty photographs and videos, wishes to recreate the emotional scenery of the banishment of Roman poet Ovid from a photographic fiction viewpoint. The topographic magnitude of his legend surfaces in the scenery around Ovid's commemorative statues, street signs and squares. The photographs in Photographica Ovidiana, also show  places imbued by the invisible rumour that had already been evoked in the 19th century by Aleksandr Pushkin. Immersed in this spirit, we admire the smoothness of the memory evoked by Ovid on the wheat and sunflower fields in Dobruja, the Black Sea harbour (Pontus Euxinos), the delta of the Danube (Istros), the classical sediments in Greek gravestones and friezes of Istros, and the Roman anchors, amphoras and mosaics in Constanta. Sulmona -Ovid's homeland- surfaces in this unique play of mirrors as if conjured from the solitary misfortune in distant border lands. Just like Constanta (the city where he lived after his banishment), Ovid's homeland is full of artistic achievements such as the Old Man Fountain, built in 1474, and the replica of 1887's Constanta statue by Ettore Ferrari at the Piazza XX Settembre, built in 1925. Besides the longing for eternal lingering of the  poetry that these statues evoke, Joaquín Bérchez's photographs show the joyfulness of everyday life in city signs, shop windows, handmade models, sugared almonds and local liquors, with a touch of timeless antiquity. 

A project by Esteban Bérchez Castaño and Joaquín Bérchez

Photographs 

 

Joaquín Bérchez


Joaquín Bérchez [1950, lives in Valencia]: He is an architecture photographer and historian, a professor of History of Art at the University of Valencia (1992-2010), and a member of San Carlos Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Valencia. His photographic activity is both an instrument for reflection and a tool for visual creation around architecture, and it is deeply related to his interest in History and Art. His photography work has been exhibited both in Spain (Valencia, Murcia, Salamanca, Granada, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Teruel, Toledo) and around the world: New York (Queen Sofía Spanish Institute, Tolsá. Joaquín Bérchez photographs), Vicenza (Palladio Museum, Proposiciones arquitectónicas), Palermo (Università degli Studi di Palermo, Otro barroco), Rome (Real Academia de España. Proposiciones arquitectónicas), Camerino (Palazzo Ducale-Sala della Colonna, Pedreiras, carne de dioses), Lisbon (Museu Arte Popular, Arquitectura, o prazer do olhar), and Athens (El Greco, Architeto de Retablos).
Bérchez has also created works such as the video installations of "Espacios Greco" for the exhibition "El Greco de Toledo" at the Santa Cruz museum (Toledo) and the "Retablo de retablos" photography installation for "El Greco: arte y oficio" at the same museum. His photography work is compiled in several international magazines. FMR (Franco María Ricci, no 19, Bolongna, 2007) dedicated a portfolio to his works (Pensar arquitectura, text by Antonio Bonet Correa); Annali di architettura have been publishing his photographs on their cover for nine years; and Arquitectura Viva has been actively spreading his work.

 

Photographs of the Exhibition opening (16/3/2017):

Photographica Ovidiana MUA 1
Photographica Ovidiana MUA 7
Photographica Ovidiana MUA 2
Photographica Ovidiana MUA 3
Photographica Ovidiana MUA 4
Photographica Ovidiana MUA 5
Photographica Ovidiana MUA 6

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This exhibition, comprising more than fifty photographs and videos, wishes to recreate the emotional scenery of the banishment of Roman poet Ovid from a photographic fiction viewpoint. The topographic magnitude of his legend surfaces in the scenery around Ovid's commemorative statues, street signs and squares. The photographs in Photographica Ovidiana, also show  places imbued by the invisible rumour that had already been evoked in the 19th century by Aleksandr Pushkin. Immersed in this spirit, we admire the smoothness of the memory evoked by Ovid on the wheat and sunflower fields in Dobruja, the Black Sea harbour (Pontus Euxinos), the delta of the Danube (Istros), the classical sediments in Greek gravestones and friezes of Istros, and the Roman anchors, amphoras and mosaics in Constan%u021Ba. Sulmona -Ovid's homeland- surfaces in this unique play of mirrors as if conjured from the solitary misfortune in distant border lands. Just like Constan%u021Ba (the city where he lived after his banishment), Ovid's homeland is full of artistic achievements such as the Old Man Fountain, built in 1474, and the replica of 1887's Constan%u021Ba statue by Ettore Ferrari at the Piazza XX Settembre, built in 1925. Besides the longing for eternal lingering of the  poetry that these statues evoke, Joaquín Bérchez's photographs show the joyfulness of everyday life in city signs, shop windows, handmade models, sugared almonds and local liquors, with a touch of timeless antiquity

VEU - Cultural Magazine of the University of Alicante


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