The Museo de la Pell exhibits a selection of photographs by Ramon de Baños, a Catalan film industry pioneer

cineasta ramón de baños Education and dissemination

‘La belleza de la máquina. Fotografía industrial de Ramon de Baños (1890-1980)’ is the title of this exhibition which has been organised by the Gas Natural Fenosa Foundation Gas Museum.

The Museo de la Piel in Igualada y Comarcal de Anoia will host the exhibition entitled “La belleza de la máquina” about the artistic work of photographer Ramon de Baños (Barcelona, 1890-1980) in the field of industrial photography from Friday 17 April to 31 May. The exhibition was produced by the Gas Natural Fenosa Foundation Gas Museum and welcomed 11,000 visitors over the two months it was in the Sabadell cultural centre.

The opening of the exhibition will take place on Friday 17 April at 8 pm and will be led by the Mayor of Igualada, Marc Castells, the Director of the Gas Natural Fenosa Foundation Gas Museum, Eva Buch, and the exhibition curator, Norbert Tomàs, who will also lead the opening guided tour.

The exhibition is the result of extensive research by the Gas Natural Fenosa Foundation in its Historical Archive. It includes a previously unseen collection of photographs that rediscover Ramon de Baños, known primarily as a pioneer of Catalan cinema, but also as a producer, photography director, photographer, a laboratory manager and great lover of arts in general.

The collection of photographs on display 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 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 were not representations of a truthful reality but rather, while avoiding a human presence, revealed 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.

The exhibition contains a selection of images taken from the 1947 Album and other industrial photographs, as well as a video from 1927 by Ramon de Baños.

The Gas Natural Fenosa Foundation

The Gas Natural Fenosa Foundation, founded in 1992, targets its activity at the promotion of information, training and increased social awareness on improving energy efficiency and technological innovation in the field of energy while respecting and protecting the environment, and promotes cultural activities through the Gas Museum aimed at preserving and spreading knowledge about the historical and cultural heritage of the sector. It also has a programme to support exports for small and medium-sized enterprises. Its international operations take place in Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Morocco, Italy and Moldova.

The Gas Museum is a cultural centre that combines a permanent exhibition with the organisation of temporary exhibitions, conferences, an educational programme for schools, activities for the young and old, film and music festivals and specialised publications. The Historical Archive of the Gas Natural Fenosa Foundation, kept at the Gas Museum, comprises more than 3,000 metres of catalogued shelving and is considered one of the most important company archives in the country.

Exhibition opening hours

The exhibition can be visited Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 2 pm; Thursday and Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm; and weekends and holidays from 11 am to 2 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays. Free admission.

In addition to the exhibition, on Sunday 3 May at 12 pm, there will be a free family workshop on photography retouching. This workshop is recommended for children of 8 years or older and a prior reservation is not required, although the capacity is limited.

*Further information:

Igualada Town Council – Montse Martí, 608370145, comunicacio2@aj-igualada.net

Gas Natural Fenosa – Anna Del Arroyo Cabré, 93 402 93 65, prensa@gasnaturalfenosa.com

Igualada (Barcelona) (Spain), 13 Apr 2015