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Visual Correspondences

Correspondences. What is a dialogue or correspondence? What happens when these take place in relation to images and photographs? What happens if, when I send an image to an other, the other responds to me? How do we understand what happens if this response is not made of words, but takes the form of a new image? What happens, in other words, when the ritual of sending images is superimposed onto that of the epistolary exchange? Brodsky’s Visual Correspondences project, a transnational, multi-media series of correspondences that he initiated with four photographers and one artist, takes its point of departure from these questions. The project included visual correspondences between Brodsky and the Catalonian photographer Manel Esclusa, the Mexican photographer Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, the Brazilian photographer Cassio Vasconcellos, the English photographer Martin Parr, and the German artist Horst Hoheisel. Each correspondence consisted of a series of images emailed between Brodsky and his interlocutors. He would send a photograph to one of them and, in the instances of the photographers, they would reply with a photograph, and, in the instance of Hoheisel, he would respond with a drawing. Each photographer or artist would respond to the other’s last image, poetically, playfully, and intuitively combining the chance of a ready-made with the complexity of photographic memory and production. The correspondences raise several interesting and timely questions about agency, communication and correspondence, the relation between the visual and the linguistic, and the itinerancy of images in general. Is it possible to believe that the photographer who signs the first image is the same one who signs the exchange’s third one, or that the one who signs the second one is the same as the one who signs the correspondence’s fourth one? Or is it that each sending from the other alters our way of seeing things? To what do we respond when we respond to a sending, to what we imagine as the “I wish to say” that comes from the other? Is there a first sending, a first word or a first image? Or is it that we always begin in the middle of a conversation, interrupting the murmuring of signs that speak for us, even when we do not expect it and sometimes when we do not even imagine it? Perhaps the very idea of correspondence is a chimera.

Marcelo Brodsky is an artist and human rights activist now based in Buenos Aires, after many years in exile in Barcelona. His early photographic works focus on the politics of memory and the memory of political activism in Argentina. Among them is Buena memoria–an intermedial project that mixes photography, writing, and video–dealing with the ghostly traces of a high-school class and its disappeared members during and after the last Argentine dictatorship. He has had solo exhibitions in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, New York, Rotterdam, Montevideo, Rome, Caracas and Amsterdam, and his work is represented in the collections of the Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, the Joaquim Paiva Collection, the Fernando Baur Collection and numerous private collections. He is a member of the Commission for the Monument to the Victims of State Terrorism, Buenos Aires, and on the Board of Directors of Buena Memoria, a non-governmental organization dedicated to human rights work in Argentina. He runs the Latinstock photo agency. 
Manuel Esclusa is a Catalonian photographer and artist.  He studied in Arles, France, with Ansel Adams, Neal White, Arthur Trees, and Lucien Clergue.  Since 1975 he has been a professor of Photography, and at present he teaches at the Escola de Diseny Eina (School of Design Eina) and the Institut d’Estudis Fotigràfic de Catalunya (Institute of Photographic Studies of Catalonia), in Barcelona. Among his recent exhibitions are El Jardi d’Humus (The Garden of Humus), Galeria Carles Taché, Barcelona; Ocho Visions: Distrito C (Eight Visions: C District) Fundación Telefónica, Madrid; Catalunya Look. Art Center Berlin Friedrichstrasse, Berlín; L’ombra del paisatge (The Shadow of the Landscape) in the Galería Blanca Berlín, Madrid.  In 1988 his book  Barcelona Ciutat Imaginada was awarded the Prix du Libre Photo (Award for Free Photography) and the Premi Laus-ADG FAD de Fotografía 1988, Barcelona.  In 2002, he published his book, Silencis Latentes 1969-2002, a selection of his photographic work, and his most recent publication is Barcelona, pell I ombra, which gathers together images taken over the last thirty years.
Martin Parr is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist, and collector.  As a member of the legendary Magnum agency, Parr is one of the most active and dynamic photographers at work today.  Since the 1980s he has published some thirty books and shown his photographs in countless group and solo shows.  He has earned an international reputation for his oblique approach to social documentary, and for innovative imagery.  In 2002 Phaidon published the monograph  Martin Parr. A large retrospective of Parr's work was initiated by the Barbican Art Gallery in London, and has since been shown in the Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris and the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg.  Parr was appointed Professor of Photography in 2004 at the University of Wales, and was Guest Artistic Director for Rencontres d'Arles in the same year.   At PhotoEspaña, 2008, he was awarded the Beaume Mercier award in recognition of his career and his contributions to contemporary photography.  Produced in collaboration with the Haus der Kunst in Munich, the 2009 exhibition "Planète Parr” at the Jeu de Paume in Paris staged a dialogue between the artist’s photographs (his latest series, "Luxury") and his vast collection of objects.
Cassio Vasconcellos was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1965, he started his studies on photography in 1981, at the Imagem-Ação school. During his career, his personal work, always oriented towards artistic projects, has been shown in several galleries and museums, both in Brazil and abroad.  His individual exhibitions include: Coletivo, MIS, São Paulo, Brazil. (2008); São Paulo, Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo, Brazil (2006); Nocturnes, São Paulo, FNAC Ternes, Paris, France (2005); Nocturnos, San Pablo, Fotogaleria del Teatro San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2004); Architectures Nocturnes, Galerie Cedille, France (2003); Noturnos São Paulo, Galeria Vermelho, Brazil (2002).  His works are included in important collections, such as: Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France; Coleção Gilberto Chateaubriand - MAM, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, USA; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, USA; MAM–Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, USA.  He has been awarded several prizes: Best Photography Exhibition of the Year,  Associação Paulista de Críticos de Arte, São Paulo, Brazil (2002); Porto Seguro Photography Prize, São Paulo, Brazil (2001); Photography Prize J.P. Morgan-Acquisition Prize, São Paulo, Brazil (1999); and the National Photography Prize, category art, FUNARTE, Brazil (1995).
Pablo Ortiz Monasterio was born in Mexico City in 1952. He studied Economics at the UNAM, and Photography at the London College of Printing, United Kingdom. Since 1978 he has directed three editorial projects:  México Indígena (Indigenous Mexico - seven titles), Río de Luz (River of Light) at the Fondo de Cultura Económica (20 titles), and Luna Córnea (Corneal Moon) at the Centro de la Imagen (Image Centre - 15 titles).  He is co-founder of the Consejo Mexicano de Fotografía (Mexican Photography Council) and founder of the Centro de la Imagen (Image Center) in Mexico City.  In 1989 he coordinated the project 150 Years of Photography in Mexico and in 1993 he initiated and coordinated the Fotoseptiembre (Septemberphoto) photography festival, which has since then taken place every two years.  He has published ten books, including La Última Ciudad (The Last City), which was awarded the prize for Best Photography Book at the Barcelona festival “La primavera fotográfica“ in 1998.  He has been a member of the National System of Mexican Creators since 1994.
Horst Hoheisel lives and works in Kassel, Germany.  Since 1985 he has been working on the art and memory of the Nazi era in Germany.  Among his main works are the Aschrott Fountain (1986/1987), the Brandenburg Gate Holocaust Memorial (1994/1995), the Memorial on the Appellplatz in Buchenwald, together with Andreas Knitz (1995); Memorial for one night, light installation on the Brandenburg Gate (1997); Crushed History, Weimar (the crushing of the GESTAPO buildings as a memorial) together with Andreas Knitz (1997-2003); Memorial for the Victims of Mauthausen, Nebenlager II, Botanical Garden, Linz, Austria, sound-installation, together with Andreas Knitz (2000). From 2001-2003, he worked with Andreas Knitz and artists from Brazil, Argentina, and Chile in Art and Memory in Latin America, a project about the military dictatorships of the region.  The Monument of the Grey Buses for the Victims of Euthanasia by the Nazis was shown in Ravensburg in 2007 and in Berlin in 2008.  Finally, in 2009, he produced School Windows into the Past, Vilnius, a project for the European capital of culture 2009.  He is a Guest Professor at the Bauhaus University, Weimar, Germany.