Exhibition «Isabel Azkarate. Arte y parte» in San Telmo Museum

The exhibition Isabel Azkarate. Arte y parte can be visited from January 27 to May 5, 2024 at the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastián – Donostia, and is composed of three photographic series focused on the intimate relationship between human beings and art.

As a great art fan, Isabel Azkarate has lived, enjoyed and documented the artistic scene from the front lines. Its archive preserves images of countless events and portraits of some of the most popular national and international artists during the 1980s and 1990s.

Azkarate also witnessed the birth of a counterculture movement, in the midst of Spanish political transition, (stage of transition from Franco’s dictatorship to democracy) that celebrated identity and freedom of expression in Euskadi. And the first series on display are made up precisely of a selection of 15 portraits of some of the most significant artists of Basque culture in their workshops and studios. Painters, sculptors, writers, musicians and filmmakers with whom Azkarate has shared experiences and concerns, and whom he has photographed with intimacy and complicity, often in their work space and highlighting their creative spirit. The artists who appear are Eduardo Chillida -with the gallerist Juana de Aizpuru-, Juan Luis Goenaga, Jorge Oteiza, Ana Busto, Javier Gurruchaga with Pedro Ayestarán, Andrés Nagel, Alejandro Garmendia, Bernardo Atxaga, Julio Caro Baroja, Rafa Berrio, La Otxoa, Vicente Ameztoy, Daniel Calparsoro, José Miguel Barandarian and Juan Chillida.

© Kutxateka / Isabel Azkarate

Man observing Edward Hopper’s work Woman in the Sun. Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 1980. © Fototeka Kutxa/Fondo Isabel Azkarate.

The second series are made up of 17 snapshots taken in galleries and museums around the world where the viewer interacts with works of contemporary art, especially hyperrealistic representations of the female body. The contemplation of these anonymous characters is captured by the ironic and bold gaze of the photographer, who now completes the game of mirrors by exposing these images, so that the public can observe people who are observed while in turn observing, a virtuous circle voyeuristic

The third series, titled “Stored,” present an unpublished photographic essay taken in the eighties in New York, at the American Museum of Natural History, where Azkarate learned of a collection of busts of Amerindians and African Americans abandoned in the warehouse of the museum. Forgotten beings who survived a double stigma: representing a community of racialized Americans, secondary protagonists in the country’s official history, and assuming an outdated and politically incorrect representation, which had led to their removal from museum discourse.

© Kutxateka / Isabel Azkarate

Store of the American Museum of Natural History. Nueva York, 1980-1981. © Fototeka Kutxa/Fondo Isabel Azkarate.

The first two collections of images from the exhibition “Isabel Azkarate. Arte y parte” were presented for the first time in the Alameda exhibition hall in the city of Soria within the framework of the Expoesía fair in August 2021, thanks to the Department of Culture of the Soria City Council.

This exhibition complements the great retrospective “Isabel Azkarate”, which reviews the entire career of the pioneering woman of Basque photojournalism and which can be visited until February 25, 2024 in the Artegunea room of Kutxa Fundazioa, located in the Tabakalera building, also in Donostia – San Sebastián.

The coincidence of both exhibitions represents a tribute from the capital of San Sebastian to the photojournalist born in that city, offering to the general public the opportunity to discover the wide and varied professional career of an author perhaps still little known inside and outside the Basque Country, but whose essential photographic legacy complements the history of women photographers of the 20th century in Spain.

Both exhibitions are curated by Silvia Omedes, director of the Photographic Social Vision Foundation, an entity that represents Isabel Azkarate.