Far from the easy idea that his project was a "Picasso was here", the Madrid photographer Cecilia Orueta (1963) followed for three years, between 2013 and 2015, the traces of the artist from Malaga, not only in the city where he was born. October 25, 1881 and the one that captured, among other places, the baptismal font in which the son of José Ruiz and María Picasso was baptized. Also, other spaces in Spain that "were fundamental for his painting and that influenced him", says Orueta. Thus, A Coruña, Madrid, Barcelona and two small Catalan towns, Horta de San Juan, in Tarragona, and Gósol (Lleida), were stages, with greater or lesser fortune, for the child, adolescent, apprentice artist and genius. This tour, partly real, "partly dreamy, with photographs inspired by his painting and what could have been his life", he underlines, compose the book The Spanish landscapes of Picasso, from the Nordic publishing house.
Before launching himself to shoot with his camera, Orueta became soaked with letters and biographies about Picasso, "in which there are so many details about his life that we do not really know how much they are literature." To the images he took – "I have photographed imagining his state of mind" – they are accompanied in the book by six writers and experts in the life and work of the father of Cubism: his biographer Rafael Inglada speaks of Málaga, where he lived first ten years of life and created his oldest oil paintings.
Manuel Rivas continues for A Coruña, Julio Llamazares, in Madrid, and Eduardo Mendoza, in Barcelona. The story is completed by the doctor in History of Art Eduard Vallès, to describe the passage in Horta, and the one by Gósol is remembered by Jèssica Jaques, researcher of the work of Picasso and professor of Aesthetics and Theory of Arts at the Autonomous University of Barcelona . "I proposed that they were those authors, but then they had total freedom, I wanted to alternate more literary texts with others more about their painting", explains Orueta. She, too, carried her previous script, with the ideas of what she wanted to portray, "but then reality is capricious".
This road movie photographic by the life of Picasso, Orueta remains with impressions like the one that I produce him "to find the pension in Gósol closed, anchored in the time", to which they arrived, exhausted, Picasso and his lover of then, Fernande Olivier, both with 24 years, after an eight-hour walk, explains Jèssica Jaques.
The waves of A Coruña
Putting himself in the skin of Picasso, Orueta highlights the sea in A Coruña, because of the fascination Picasso aroused when he saw, from the classroom of his institute, the waves crashing against the rocks. "The city in which my senses awoke", wrote the artist of those four years. Madrid was, instead, "the melancholy of a winter city," says the photographer, for a teenager who was alone, without money, in punishment for skipping drawing classes at the Academy of Fine Arts in San Fernando, and He also became ill with scarlet fever in that Galdosian town. He was only relieved from his visit to the Prado Museum by the capital "and when he painted in the Retiro, where he used to go."
The meeting with his family in Barcelona was to go from night to day, in the light of the Mediterranean. There Picasso made friends with the intellectual and artistic avant-garde, and was lost in the neighborhood of Born or Gothic, whose atmosphere portrays Orueta. A city that, as Eduardo Mendoza describes, "was a miniature, friendlier project in Paris". The book continues for his vivifying stay in Horta, where he learned, as he said, "everything he knew", a sentence to refer to the stage of wild happiness that he spent with his friend Manuel Pallarès, with whom "he had shared a desk in the School of Fine Arts of Barcelona ", writes Eduard Vallès. In those seven months, the adolescent urbanite learned "to tie knots, milk cows or light fires in the open air".
The Spanish landscapes of Picasso closes with the photograph of the portrait that the malagueño made of Josep Fondevila, the owner of the posada de Gósol in which he stayed with Fernande. It is a disturbing drawing because the old man with a hairless head and a lively look anticipates what his author would look like years later.