The Patio de Luces of the Diputación Provincial hosts the exhibition ‘Carlos Pérez Siquier. La Chanca Inédita’, an exhibition of black and white images produced by the Ibáñez Cosentino Art Foundation and curated by Juan Manuel Martín. On display are 45 unpublished photographs taken by Pérez Siquier between 1956 and 1962. In addition, apart from the opening of this exhibition, the book ‘Pérez Siquier. La Chanca’, the third volume of the ‘Pérez Siquier Encyclopaedia’ published by the Ibáñez Cosentino Art Foundation through the Pérez Siquier Centre with the collaboration of the Diputación de Almería.
The deputy of Culture and Cinema, Manuel Guzmán pointed out how difficult it is to inaugurate an exhibition without the presence of Carlos Pérez Siquier. “It is very difficult for us to be here today without having the immortal Carlos Pérez Siquier by our side, as it was also difficult for us in the first posthumous tribute paid by the Instituto de Estudios Almerienses in the Plaza Julio Alfredo Egea,” he said.
“The luck we have is that we can relive his work thanks to this exhibition and this book. Carlos goes much further, because as well as being a friend, he was a great husband, a great father and an international genius. We must not forget that Pérez Siquier was key to Almería becoming the capital of the world’s photographic avant-garde,” said Guzmán.
The deputy for Culture and Cinema also stressed that “Carlos Pérez Siquier, although he was a world figure in photography, was always characterised by his humility, not at all typical of those who were consecrated during his lifetime, and he was always at the side of anyone who had any artistic interest. He was always an example of effort, perseverance, enthusiasm and creativity”.
Guzmán, speaking of Pérez Siquier’s work, made it clear that “today is a day to be happy because we are presenting two activities recognising the figure of Pérez Siquier. A book with 368 pages, with a black and white photographic selection of La Chanca that Carlos himself made during his lifetime together with Andrés García Ibáñez. The book includes a total of 276 photographs by Pérez Siquier, 80 percent of which are unpublished”.
With regard to the exhibition, Guzmán emphasised that “the exhibition can be seen in the Patio de Luces of the Diputación until 29 January. It brings together 45 black and white images of the Barrio de La Chanca”. Finally, he stated that “both the exhibition and the book seek a single objective, which is to revitalise and enhance the value of the entire photographic archive of Carlos Pérez Siquier”.
Juan Manuel Martín Robles, director of the Ibáñez Cosentino Art Foundation, emphasised that “Carlos is one of the most important artists that this land has produced, for us he is the most important, and all the institutions that have endorsed him with awards say so”. Martín said that “the book is more important because it is what will remain, as it forms part of the Pérez Siquier Encyclopaedia, and this work makes all previous publications on La Chanca totally obsolete. Never before has so much black and white photography of this series been compiled”.
“Carlos Pérez Siquier decided to enter La Chanca from the beginning, with a single objective, to show the dignity of the neighbourhood, the dignity of its inhabitants. On numerous occasions he has referred to this idea he had of how to show La Chanca. I must highlight the spirit with which Carlos always approached these humble people with the sole idea of dignifying their lives, telling us that despite their poverty they were people who deserved all his respect”, said Juan Manuel Martín Robles.
Sema D’Acosta, author of one of the texts of the book on La Chanca in black and white, highlighted the importance of Pérez Siquier in the history of photography. “Carlos will always remain with us through his photographs. Pérez Siquier is a cultural totem of Andalusia and Almería. La Chanca by Pérez Siquier is the ground zero of auteur photography in Spain. It is a type of photography that focuses more on the human and seeks authenticity”.
For his part, the writer and poet from Almería, Juan José Ceba, highlighted Pérez Siquier’s way of looking at La Chanca. “The poetics of Carlos Pérez Siquier becomes a manifesto of solidarity which, at this time, takes on a moving dimension”. He also emphasised that “in this series by Carlos, austerity, refinement of spirit, distance from anything that smacks of baroque and heavy-handedness, elimination and stripping away of the unnecessary are evident: the aesthetic that comes from the desert, with its pure and concise lines”.
Juan José Ceba, who has been linked to La Chanca for 40 years, has made several proposals for the neighbourhood, based on the ethics and aesthetics of Carlos Pérez Siquier’s photos: the dignification of this unique place, the continuity of new housing, the refurbishment of the fascinating viewpoints, the recovery of the traditional colours (with the colour chart that Ibáñez prepared from Siquier’s photos, with whose tones the walls of La Chanca School are painted).
Ceba has asked for a museum space in the Pescadería, where some of these masterful black and white images by Pérez Siquier can be permanently displayed. As well as the open air exhibition of large photographic murals by Carlos. She also expressed that it would be very important to have the written testimony of the life, together with the master of the image, of his daughters and his partner.
Finally, Gloria, who was with her sister Sonia, Pérez Siquier’s daughters, said that “we are proud to be in Almería, surrounded by images of La Chanca that marked our father’s life, and therefore, ours. Our father was a man of few words, he spoke more with his eyes and with his heart”. Also present at the ceremony were Pérez Siquier’s widow, Teresa García Cubero and Andrés García Ibáñez, president of the Ibáñez-Cosentino Foundation.