Rear-guard Chronicles

Sat. 20/02/07

Project Introduction by Carmen Dalmau and Raúl Domingo

This photographic archive of the Spanish Civil War returns to the hands of Carmen Dalmau and Raúl Domingo after 70 years, and it constitutes an exceptional finding, together with the hidden private archives which were also saved, since this kind of documents from the Republican zone were either destroyed or pillaged by the rebel army in the different fronts of the Civil War, or were confiscated by the Government Delegation Documentation Service for the Recuperation of Documents, in order to serve as tools in the Franco-era repression.

The historical research undertaken by these two historians constitutes a novelty in the field of photographic exhibitions.

From the very beginning, they conceived the idea that the collection would require a historical explanation.

In parallel to the process of digitalisation and restoration of the negative prints, a need to contextualise the collection, to situate it within its temporal and spatial coordinates, and to attempt to perceive in them a reflection of the changes which took place in the City of Madrid from the outbreak of the War arose.

For the study process, they adopted a method which has required taking the archive into account as a primary source, while being constantly aware that, due to its nature, this source doesn't by itself register reality, but, rather, a representation of reality, and that, therefore, the images speak to us from the gaze of their authors.

The working methodology they chose drove them to consider the negative prints as traces, and thus, occasionally, it gave the research an archaeological nature, or a detective one.

In this case, the historical research is put at the service of images which take on a central role, with each negative print becoming a microcosm, while the sum total reveals its meaning through the findings of the research.

Taking up the image as a starting point, and comparing the collection with that of other archives, which contain images from that period, and also with images published in the press, the two historians decided that they didn't want their images to simply illustrate History, but to rather listen to their own voice. And this is how the path they followed has lead us from what each individual image tells us, to the front line chronicle-like interpretation of the Republican zone during the Spanish Civil War.

Visit the archive online:

With the support of:

Ayuntamiento de Madrid - Área de Las Artes