Jordi Socías: Found Photographs

The Jordi Socías exhibition at La Virreina Centre de la Imatge is a treasure trove of playful and visually stunning moments, found and captured by the talented artist. The title of the exhibition, Found Photographs, is derived from Pablo Picasso’s famous quote, “I do not look, I find”, which perfectly defines Socías’ oeuvre. The exhibition houses a fascinating collection of 50 black and white photographs from throughout Socías’ 40 year career as a photo-journalist. From portraits to urban scenes and still lives, there is a bit of everything, almost always injected with a little humour.

Jordi Socías (b. 1945) is a self-taught photographer and native of Barcelona who has become a key figure in the evolution of photojournalism in Spain and has collaborated with the most renowned magazines and newspapers in the country, including El Pais and El Europeo. The success of his images can be attributed to his remarkable eye for composition, excellent timing, and a sharp sense of humour, which give him the ability to turn moments from everyday life into works of art.

The exhibition spans from 1973 to the present and the photographs were all selected by the artist himself. The collection demonstrates his wonderful aptitude for capturing natural shots of people, whether in individual portraits, urban scenes, or social gatherings, life shines through in their expression, pose, or even in the composition of the photograph. In A lo Cubano (2001), for example, three young men smile at the camera through a car window, exuding the carefree nonchalance of youth.

Much of his work is heavily influenced by surrealism and often has an absurdist quality, for example the poster image, Brigitte (1986), of a woman dramatically holding a wooden fish in either hand, and his Self Portrait with Ferocious (1984) where he sits on a sofa embraced by a life-sized bear, to name a few. Humour and irony are also very characteristic of Socías’ work, this is particularly evident in Lenin, Mickey and Jesus (2012) in which we see these three figures holding hands through a shop window.

In addition to the wonderful photographs, the venue is fantastic. The Palau de la Virreina is a jewel of baroque civil architecture and is situated in the heart of Barcelona: in the middle of the historic Ramblas. The exhibition is well organised and laid out, with adequate information. The photographs are not arranged by theme or in chronological order, but are carefully positioned in relation to each other. They are beautifully displayed in large format in simple wooden frames, except for a selection of political reportage photos taken after the death of Franco, which are delicately presented in light boxes.

Socías is above all an acute observer and his photographs take us from Berlin, to Madrid, to Montevideo, and much further, allowing us the opportunity to see the world from his unique perspective. The exhibition is a must-see and I would happily return. The beautiful venue is a bonus.

Jordi Socías: Found Photographs can be seen at La Virreina Centre de la Imatge until the 26th of April 2015.

Lenin, Mickey, Jesus by Jordi Socías 2012