Marcelo Brodsky: Poetics of Resistance
Born in Argentina in 1954, over the past five decades he has progressively developed a unique poetics based on the interaction of, mostly journalistic and archival, photographs and written annotations to achieve his objective: to activate personal and collective memory to communicate a message of resistance that may connect people across time and space.
Working at the crossroads between visual arts, poetry and human rights activism, Brodsky’s practice is rooted in his personal history and direct dramatic experience of State-sponsored terror in Argentina. During the Argentine Military Dictatorship (1976– 83), his best friend Martín Bercovich and his younger brother Fernando were abducted and disappeared in 1976 and 1979 respectively,3 a traumatic event which prompted the artist to go into exile in Barcelona, where he lived until the period of military dictatorship in Argentina ended and democracy was restored.
Brodsky, who has owned and directed a photographic agency for many years in Spain and Latin America, does not use the media merely as a source of inspiration. Rather, he turns the media itself into an artwork. Selecting photographs collected in documentary archives around the world, the artist manipulates them:4 by adding handwritten comments and highlighting meaningful details with the help of bright and vivid colours, he stimulates a dialogue between the pre- existing narratives conveyed by the original sources and his own interpretation of those texts and images.
The Poetics of Resistance reunites two major groups of works created by the artist between 2014 and 2019: 1968. The Fire of Ideas, composed of 55 intervened archival photographs devoted to the international mobilisations and protests of workers and students in 1968, and the series of 15 images centred on the decolonisation process in Africa and its progressive transition to independence during the second half of the 20th century.
The project also encompasses two further and still ongoing lines of inquiry by Brodsky, devoted to the anti-Franco resistance in Spain and to today’s burning question of migrants and refugees―in which, for the very first time, the artist engages in a reflection on contemporary issues. Adding annotations and clearly non-impartial captions, Brodsky recounts historic episodes of major turmoil and revolution: from the anti-Vietnam War protests in London to the struggle for the independence of Congo and the rebellions caused by the murder of his anti-colonialist Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961; from the 1968-revolts of the student unions in Dakar requesting more political freedom from President Léopold Senghor to the violent state of emergency in South Africa during the anti- Apartheid struggle in the 1980s.
Text: Valentina Locatelli – Poetics of Resistance
Signing session by Marcel Brodsky on Saturday 21 Sep, 6 pm in the PhotoQ Bookshop stand at Unseen Book Market.