Holidaying in the garden of the Hesperides

Imagery of tourism under Franco

ExhibitionLibraryIVAM Centre Julio González

Few phenomena feature more decisively in all the principal transformations that took place during Franco’s dictatorship. Yet the tourist boom in Spain tends to be trivialised. The hegemonic narrative reduces the imagery of tourists to the product that they consume (sun and sea), the government’s actions to a slogan (“Spain is different”) and the subjectivity of the local population to an erotic fantasy (Swedish women).

What this documentary exhibition proposes is a critical but unprejudiced analysis of the visual culture generated in connection with the boom in the Valencian Community. The aim is twofold. On the one hand, to show a collection of documents of undeniable cultural interest: posters, leaflets and magazines, together with postcards, photobooks and travel books, mostly obtained from Valencian archives (Biblioteca Valenciana, Archivo documental Pedro Zaragoza, Universidad de Alicante). At the same time, this material helps us to rethink the narrative, for these images are reliable evidence that in tourism there is a complex and contradictory multiplicity of representations, searches, desires and aspirations.