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To coincide with the designation of Bocairent as Cultural Capital of the Community of Valencia in 2021, the IVAM is presenting an exhibition of the work of Gabriel Cualladó at Museo Antonio Ferri. The show is the result of a serious process of research, cataloguing and digitalization of the holdings by Gabriel Cualladó in the IVAM, undertaken in collaboration with experts in documenting and cataloguing photography, preventive conservation and digitalization.
Gabriel Cualladó was born in Massanassa (Valencia) in 1925 and moved to Madrid in 1941. He was a member of the AFAL group and an active agent in the movement to renew photography in Spain during the second half of the twentieth century. His earliest photographs are of his first-born child and his friends taken with a Capta camera. From then on his interest in photography grew and he started to learn the secrets of the medium as a self-taught practitioner. Cualladó defined himself as an amateur photographer at a time when this expression was associated with artists unbounded by the restrictions of disciplines. This allowed him to push back some hitherto unexplored limits of photography, to dismantle the framing and to break with the conventions of composition.
Cualladó’s work is notable for adding a patina of humanism to the sad reality of the postwar period and for having forged a personal world all of his own. Cualladó did not seek out the major issues or famous people of the time, but rather, he chose to capture moments of everyday life with his humanist gaze, using his friends, family and anonymous people to compose an intimate world.
Cualladó became a member of Real Sociedad Fotográfica in 1956, and one year later he joined the AFAL group. Like other artists from his generation, including the filmmakers Juan Antonio Bardem in Death of a Cyclist (1955) or Luis García Berlanga in Welcome, Mr Marshall (1952), both close to social realism, Cualladó endeavoured to introduce the ideas of Italian neo-realism in his work. From 1980 onwards he was included in the group of Spanish photographers chosen by Nueva Lente magazine to take part in Rencontres d’Arles. In 1994 he was awarded the National Photography Prize by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.