The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía dedicates this retrospective to the photographic work of Martin Parr (Surrey, United Kingdom, 1952) produced between 1970 and 2000. It explores the ways in which the artist has revitalised social and documentary photography over three decades, which has led him to become one of its most influential and innovative figures. This exhibition displays a project that documents conclusively the changes and problems suffered by British society in the Seventies and Eighties. Additionally, you can view pictures taken during the Nineties, when Parr joins the Magnum agency and which are the best known of the artist.
Parr's photographs have always led to controversy and debate. His interests in certain social groups and lifestyles have not always been viewed favourably by critics, who have sometimes dismissed his methodology as impertinent. However, beyond the themes related to social class and representation, the artist's work is complex, enigmatic and paradoxical in the extreme. Parr creates some of his most innovative work during the Seventies, while living in northern England. In these pieces his continuing interest in documenting the social-political and family life is made obvious.
With a selection made by the artist himself from his entire creation, this exhibition allows for a broad overview of his artistic evolution over the last thirty years. The Eighties marked the beginning of his long satire, not on individuals or social groups, but on policies that threatened to finish them off. Similarly he ruthlessly portrays people obsessed with their social advancement. In the mid-nineties, Parr travels around the world; already recognised as internationally renowned documentary photographer, he begins a satire even bigger that the global tourism industry. In his visits to the great monuments of the planet such as Pisa, Venice and Bethlehem, he portrays the whirlwind of cameras, petty trade and the bewilderment of the people.
In the late nineties, Parr moves away from his specialty, documentary photography, to enquire with a mature look into seemingly insignificant objects that are part of everyday life. In this way, Parr goes on to become a photographer of still lifes.
National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford (4 October, 2002 - 5 January, 2003); National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen (7 February, 2003 – 19 April, 2003); Kunsthal, Rotterdam (31 May, 2003 – 31, August, 2003); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (6 May -15 August, 2004); Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris (18 May – 18 September, 2005)