Voula Papaioannou Cabinet

Curators Jorge Blasco Gallardo

After La Virreina Centre de la Imatge in Barcelona, the exhibition Voula Papaioannou Cabinet has now arrived in the Luis Seoane Foundation in A Coruña. The project has been co-produced by both institutions in collaboration with the Benaki Museum of Athens and it is the first exhibition to be held in Spain on the work of Greek photographer Voula Papaioannou (Lamia, 1898 - Athens, 1990).

The exhibition offers over 300 b/w photographs taken between the 1920s and 1960s and organised here in different sections. The project was born from the research that the curator conducted on the photographer’s work, which has been preserved at the Benaki Museum’s photography archive. There he found the contact sheets used by Voula Papaioannou and their copies, made by the museum’s workers. They give us the chance to look at her work in new ways and build a different narrative for her pieces. This narrative, the criteria behind her work, her iconographic and story lines, and the persistence of certain methodologies in some of her themes can now be found at the Luis Seoane Foundation.

The work of Voula Papaioannou has been traditionally described as humanitarian photography, but it goes beyond the limits of that movement. It is an enormous documentary project, with its own aesthetic. It serves as a record of some of the most dramatic moments of the 20th century as seen through the successive conflicts that plagued her country, it portrays its art and its landscapes; and she also managed to communicate the feelings and the atmosphere that come from exceptional situations through the everyday life of her subjects in the most subtle manner. Voula Papaioannou Cabinet gives the audience a chance to see through the eyes of one of the most prominent figures of humanitarian photography and, by extension, one of the most remarkable photographers of her time.

The exhibition is a co-production with the Benaki Museum and La Virreina Centre de la Imatge.