Jorge Ribalta (2009-05-04)

Jorge Ribalta
Practice: Curator and Artist
Date of Lecture: 2009-05-04


The Kodak Lecture series is pleased to announce that curator and artist Jorge Ribalta from MACBA (Museu d’art Contemporani de Barcelona) will speak about his internationally acclaimed exhibition UNIVERSAL ARCHIVE. The Condition of the Document and the Modern Photographic Utopia.

Ribalta will walk us through this exhibition, which is nothing short of revolutionary in its scope and reflections on the major movements and micro-histories of photography. Through montage and dialectical juxtaposition of images Ribalta raises some of the most burning questions facing documentary media today.

UNIVERSAL ARCHIVE. The Condition of the Document and the Modern Photographic Utopia is and exhibition that brings together nearly 2,000 documents (of which the almost 1,000 vintage photographs and prints are of particular interest) dating from 1851 to 2008 by some 250 photographers, including Lewis Hine, Eugene Atget, Herbert Bayer, August Sander, Robert Adams, Martha Rosler and William Klein to name a few. Going beyond the presentation of a single, linear narration through the history of photography, the display offers an entire constellation of narratives on the genealogy of the document: the historic photographis missions. the reformist document, the workers’ photography movement, exhibitions, advertising, projects based around ethnography and the documentation of cities, and so on. The exhibition is brought to a close by the commission that initiated UNIVERSAL ARCHIVE: the Barcelona 2007 Photographic Mission, which provides sixteen new looks at the city of the future.

Jorge Ribalta is an artist, critic and curator, who has worked for over 20 years on important photographic exhibitions in Spain and other parts of Europe. He has enjoyed solo exhibitions of his own works in New York, Paris and Barcelona while also curating widely, most recently including Jo Spence. Beyond the Perfect Image. Photography, Subjectivity, Antagonism (MACBA, Barcelona, and Camera Austria, Graz, 2005), Manolo Laguilo (MACBA, Barcelona, 2007). Ribalta, whose international reputation is building quickly, is the editor of many books on photographic criticism and contributes regularly to newspapers, journals, magazines and catalogues. He is advisor to the photography collection of Gustavo Gili publishers, Barcelona, and is currently the Head of Public Progroms at MACBA.