Del 7 October to 13 Desember, the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona presents the exhibition La belleza de la máquina about the most significant artistic work by Ramon de Baños (1890-1980) regarding industrial photography. Thanks to extensive research of the Historical Archive, today the Naturgy Foundation is releasing an unpublished selection of photographs that rediscover Ramon de Baños, known until now as a pioneer of Catalan cinema, as a photographer. The collection of photographs that have been brought to light have their own visual code and offer a new perspective that allows us to enjoy the beauty of industrial photography. These photographs now make up an extraordinary graphic document of a world that no longer exists.
The company Catalana de Gas y Electricidad S.A., just like many other companies of the time, carried out photography projects to document and publish its heritage and capacity of production. Despite the first collaborations between Ramon de Baños and Catalana de Gas in 1929 for the Universal Exhibition in Barcelona, he was not incorporated as a ‘photographer attached to the Technical Services’ until much later. The main project that Ramon de Baños carried out for the company was called 1947 Album, a collection of 58 photographs of industrial machinery and architecture. It is a collection of images that had a propaganda objective and wanted to show the important asset the company once had, its modernity and its extraordinary business activity.
Ramon de Baños develops his own photographic style that enables him to embellish and glorify machinery and the industrial landscape. They are well-framed and well-structured pieces with a careful arrangement of the objects represented. The images are not representations of a truthful reality but rather, while avoiding a human presence, reveal the architectural magnificence of factories and the beauty of machinery. Hence, despite fulfilling a propaganda purpose, these images convey a distinctly spiritual emotion. The photographs have been altered by outlining certain elements with the finest of brushes, airbrushing techniques, paints, pencils and fine cutting tools. This meticulous work enabled him to define surfaces and planes of light, clean up irregularities and obscure imperfections to achieve the incredibly personal lyrical tone of his compositions.
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Building of the Library of Communication and General Newspaper Archives – Pl. Cívica
08193 Bellaterra, Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona)