Marcel Giró


Fotoclubismos. Barcelona – São Paulo. 1932-1964

Rocío Santa Cruz. Barcelona
04.03.2021 — 24.04.2021

It speaks of mountains, of exile, of artistic journeys and experimental looks. It speaks of migration. It also speaks of the passage of time and the volatility of the landscape, of the traces that photography leaves on the skin of history.

The discovery of unpublished photographs by Marcel Giró (Badalona, 1912 - Barcelona, 2011) and Palmira Puig (Tàrrega, 1912 - Barcelona, 1978), exhibited here, has prompted a review of their work. The research has led to the discovery of an artistic link between different photographic centers, of which Giró was a member. On the one hand, the Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante (FCCB) in São Paulo and, on the other, the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya (CEC), giving rise to the conceptual core of this exhibition: the photoclub spirit.

An international phenomenon that emerged at the end of the 19th century, photoclubbing allowed photography lovers to develop their passion in independent collectives, outside the official circuits of art and academia. The historical relationship between photography and landscape is reflected in these centers. Following the European canon, rooted in a more traditional representation of nature, the Catalan photoclubbers used their cameras as documentation mechanisms, capturing the beauty of the natural environment.

For the Brazilian urbanites, photography was not a document, but a work of art; the camera, an artifact of visual experimentation. His compositions reflected the urban landscape of post-war Brazil, in the midst of industrial expansion and architectural fervor, and found in it a setting of geometric abstractions and surrealist forms.

Giró acts as a thread through these artistic phenomena. His work is a link between territories, between archives. It begins in the Catalonia of the early 1930s, where he met the photographer Albert Oliveras i Folch (Uruguay, 1899 - Barcelona, 1989), also a member of the CEC. Their friendship is immortalized in Marcel Giró amb esquís recolzat a una roca sota el coll d'Alba, a portrait that Oliveras i Folch took of Giró in 1935. Their paths separated at the outbreak of the Civil War. Giró exchanged the Pyrenees for São Paulo, Oliveras i Folch for the ports and boulevards of Buenos Aires.

In Brazil, Giró and Puig produced extensive photographic work, often together. Their authorship is intertwined in the archives, which are difficult to separate: they often shared film and distributed negatives.


This exhibition coincides with the exhibition Fotoclubismo. Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946-1964 that MoMA (New York) will open in May 2021.

RocioSantaCruz works with the work of some of the most prominent members of the FCCB, among them Germán Lorca (São Paulo, 1922), Rubens Teixeira Scavone (Itatiba, 1925 - São Paulo, 2007) and Eduardo Salvatore (São Paulo, 1914 - idem, 2006), in addition to Giró and Puig, as well as the Campañà collection. This research work in the different archives has allowed RocioSantaCruz to articulate an eloquent and complex photographic corpus, unearthing unpublished materials and drawing new connections between artists, times and spaces of creation.

The gallery extends special thanks to Toni Monné Campañà, Toni Ricart, nephew of Marcel and Palmira and responsible for their artistic legacy, and Berenguer Vidal i Tello, director of the Arxiu Fotogràfic del CEC, for their involvement and help throughout this project.