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Portraits of Power

Works by Alejandro Almaraz of Argentina


Wednesday, November 6th at 6pm.
No RSVP required.

November 6, 2013-January 31, 2014 | Monday-Friday | 9am-5pm.
This exhibit is viewable by appointment only. Please call 202-370-0151

1889 F Street, NW (corner of 18th Street)
Washington, DC 20006

An Anonymity of Power by Vicki Goldberg

by Dr. Kevin Casas-Zamora, OAS Secretary for Political Affairs

Since 2006, AMA’s F Street gallery has aimed to further promote OAS values of social progress and cultural exchange through the visual arts. Continuing along this path, Almaraz’s examinations of popular authority figures encourages conversation on vital OAS interests such as democracy as the cornerstone of a constructive society, electoral process, and good governance.

Almaraz ’s source material is official portraits of his subject. Each of his works is formed by numerous portraits, layered over one another. These composites, comprised of anywhere between four and 40 translucent images, on one hand demonstrate how varying the ‘truths’ conveyed in a photographic image can be depending on changes in the pose and angle of the sitter, costume and other seemingly small details. At the same time, that the final images are recognizable at all is telling in a whole other sense.

Almaraz provides a space to look at the ways in which power represents itself. Building on one of the earliest dominant genres of photography, portraiture, he presents traditional subjects - leaders and rulers - through an atypical lens. Photography has paved the way for further mythologizing of popular figures with the added nuance of a misleading appearance of a greater objectivity than that carried by painting. A photograph in a home suggested the presence its subject’s watchful eye. An image hanging in a government building represents the power of the state. These overlaps also portray the passing of time, however small, nonetheless suggesting the ephemerality of human life, even of those whose image and mythology may seem to render them immortal.

Alejandro Almaraz was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After studying philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires, he shift his educations to arts and photography. His work relates photography with the phenomena of media and technology. He has received awards and scholarships as: First Prize Portfolios International Forum 2012, XVII Encuentros Abiertos-Festival de la Luz 2012, Argentina; Scholarship FotoFest Biennial 2014. FotoFest Foundation, Houston, EEUU; Third Prize in the Salón Nacional de Artes visuales 100 years edition Award, the most important Photography contest in Agentina; XIV Premio Klemm a las Artes Visuales Award, 2010; The Scholarship Award, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico, 2009 and The Scholarship Award, Malba Museum, Fundacion Telefónica and Jumex Collection, 2004. And he has shown his work in venues such as MAPI Museum, Uruguay, 2013; Art Museum Kovalenko. Krasnodar, Russia, 2012; Fondo Nacional de la Artes, Argentina, 2012; Buenos Aires Photo, Argentina, 2011; ArteBA Art Fair, Argentina, 2011; Phase 3 Art and Technology. Centro Cultural Recoleta, Argentina, 2011; D-View. Bildbewegung. Germany, 2011; Festival of Light, Centro Cultural Recoleta, Argentina, 2008.

“If each photograph shows the crystallization of a moment, the superposition of a number of them seems to show the time in another dimension, in an unusual way. The sum of layers with different registered images, each done in fractions of seconds, resembling different the rings of a tree trunk.”
-Juan Travnik, Photographer