In the catalogues and the publicity, the stated theme of this year’s edition of PHotoEspana is Spanish photography. Implicitly, however, exhibition after exhibition are bound together by a deeper, less instantly definable theme. Whether in highlighting a lost piece of history, bringing an under-appreciated artist back into the public eye or shedding light on a corner where a shadow has fallen, we come to feel that this festival is dedicated to unearthing and celebrating the work of artists who deserve a happier fate than silent, forgotten oblivion.
No single exhibition embodies this better than Arissa: Shadow and Photographer. The exhibition tells the story of Antoni Arissa (Sant Andreu 1900 – Barcelona 1980), an avant-garde Spanish photographer who worked at the forefront of the Spanish artistic establishment before disappearing (almost irretrievably) into obscurity in 1936.