by Carlos Traspaderne
‘BRUTALISMUS’. Days of future passed. Brutalism has always been a style with a bad press. The semantic association of the original French term “béton brut” (raw concrete) has led to distort its meaning, as if the intention of the architects was torturing the passersby with their buildings. However, in recent years we have witnessed a revaluation of the movement, now stripped of its Zeitgeist. Both new architectural works and the artistic vision seem influenced by its forcefulness, firm as the utopian vision that inspired the movement, as many of its greatest examples disappear overwhelmed by an ancient hatred for the same sound as the word “brutal”. The ‘BRUTALISMUS’ series portrays brutalists and modernist buildings in Spain, Italy and Luxembourg, located in large and small cities, some famous and others unknown. To bring these constructions into images, I have decided to return, at least technically, to those past years between the 50s and the 70s when they were created, using a Hasselblad 500 C/M of 1973. This camera is an analog medium format camera with all its constraints. Its optical precision and demanding handling force to reconsider the images as monuments by themselves, becoming what they portray, that is a stylization of the building itself. The black and white film neutralizes light and color differences among these constructions, removing the borders to unify them into a new vision called Modernity. The street level angle becomes the eye of the passerby that suddenly discovers these buildings, appreciating them again. This is the aim of my pictures: that citizens must look at these works again, spurned or ignored before, at least with the intention of revaluating them. If they deserve survival or destruction is another matter, even more in this era that seems to observe their rude optimism between contempt and fascination.