17 May 2006

Global Seminars & Invited Speaker Series


Photographer Miguel Goicoechea's creative speech

Dr. Celia Martín Larumbe



Miguel Goicoechea, Asfaltadores.

The Navarrese photographer Miguel Goicoechea (Alsasua 1894-Pamplona 1980) is an exceptional figure of great interest in the contemporary Navarrese art scene. His ability to generate a work of great power and quality made him go from being just another amateur photographer to consolidate himself as a recognised figure in the specialised national medium of his time. 

There are several reasons that justify this characterisation as exceptional in Navarre. He chose a minority artistic medium both locally and nationally; within that medium he opted for a minority creative current, pictorialism, and for a very difficult technique subject , the transported grease inks; with these techniques he tackled marginal themes from a formal and aesthetic treatment staff, defining a totally recognisable and original style, which evolved from impressionism to expressionism.

In addition to maintaining a sustained trajectory of photographic production, he was present as an artist and theoretician in the main forums of Spanish photography of his time. He was a regular presence at the photographic salons and exhibitions of the period (1920-1940), and from 1927 onwards he developed an intense theoretical work in the most important specialised magazines belonging to the Catalan photographic circle: El Progreso Fotográfico, Foto and Art de la Llum.
The Civil War opened a new phase in his work. For obvious reasons, the circuits of diffusion disappeared, the societies ceased their activities, many photographers died, went into exile or had to give up their connection with photography. From political reasons, to the purely material ones of scarcity of products, etc., converged in the dispersion of this exceptional generation of artistic photographers. 

Goicoechea maintained his work during the war period, although the material conditions were complicated. From 1940 onwards, the photographer from Navarre was condemned to isolation and the lack of materials for his work. He then had to initiate new options to remain active, influenced by contact with a new generation of photographers. For a long period of time 1940-1950, he worked in the studio, basically portraits and compositions with objects and still lifes. The technical procedures changed: he used industrial papers to chemically developed silver gelatine. It was only when he returned to the old techniques of rendering, gum and transported fatty inks, from 1950 to the end of 1960, that we find again the original feeling and impulse of his work.

In these final works, already produced with total freedom, without any conditions for their publication, exhibition or presentation to any competition, the true creative genius of the author reappears. They were copies made for him, in which the subject matter is merely an excuse to express his vital unease.