December 6, 2017, I’ve visited the opening ceremony of an exhibition of Argentinian photographers Raúl Villalba and Claudia Cavallera in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Photography event was organized by Embassy of Argentine Republic in Ukraine and hosted in Casa Argentina en Ucrania (Argentinian house in Ukraine).
Welcome ceremony was started by the speech of Ariel Max Sánchez Romero, Consul of Argentina in Ukraine. Sr. Sánchez also executed the role of the Head of cultural section, so it was his merit in an excellent organization of the exhibition of his fellow citizens.
The exhibition itself includes about two dozens of works: street photo, landscapes and art.
At the end of this event I had a small opportunity to talk to Sr. Sánchez about the exhibition. I’ve asked him why they’ve selected these two photographers; for how long the exhibition will take place; and what other cultural events are in the agenda.
“These two photographers are great artists of Argentina. They are working together as a synergy team, combining rural and urban components of Argentinian culture.”
According to the information provided, the photography exhibition will be open till January, 2018. So, you have plenty of time to get acquainted with the works of wonderful Argentinian photographers – Raúl Villalba and Claudia Cavallera.
“She owns a vision of the diverse, eclectic and avant-garde world that condenses in anthological works where she combines different aspects of photography.”
Claudia was born in Córdoba, Argentina, and from her early age she was attracted by art in all its forms: music and singing in her childhood, later drawing and painting.
But her affliction for photography was the very invisible thread that united all her artistic inclinations.
“I’ve been studying drawing and painting for many years and I felt frustrated between the image I had in my mind and the one ended in the canvas. A friend suggested to make an outing with photographers and, curiously, I’ve borrowed a compact camera… After that experience, the same night I went online to buy a camera and I was sure that I’ve found something I had been looking for all my life. A different way of expressing myself.”
Originally an odontologist, graduated from UNC, she decided to dedicate herself to photography in four years. “Reviewing photographs on paper that I had taken throughout my life, I found a photographic record of a time where we were going with a group of campaign dentistry and we visited lodging schools. That’s when I realized that photography was always there, you just had to stop and get to see that.”
The work philosophy of Cavallera is identified predominantly by Jean Paul Sartre who claims that “an image is an act, it is not a thing”.
Her cooperation with maestro Raúl Villalba was also an exploration – exploration of the facets of the model. “I liked going through very different things, they all fit together somewhere in my soul and make a whole like a puzzle. That’s why the art I do has so many different things.”
Claudia Cavallera taught courses of photography as a job opportunity for the Ministry of Labor, as well as initial courses of technique, composition and editing. She had participated in numerous collective and individual exhibitions.
“The technological advance means that everyone can express themselves through the image, they are full of good and original photos, even of amateurs, but artistic photography has a creativity that comes from seeing something else. It does not always happen but you have to develop the virtue of anticipating the right moment and capturing it spontaneously.”
As a member of the Catalan Federation of Photography Claudia participates in national and international salons. For the last two years, she participates in creative photography under the guidance of maestro Raúl Villalba, enriching herself with knowledge in post-production techniques and the development of creativity.
“In post-production beyond the image what I’m seeking is to convey the sensation.”
Being a disciple of maestro Villalba, Claudia Cavallera is in charge of the organization of workshops and exhibitions in the country and beyond. Such as the exhibition “Beautiful Argentina”, organized in Lviv, in May, 2017, and current exhibition in Kyiv.
Currently, Claudia and Raúl are working on the project of a book where she participates as a model and writer.
“My goal is that my art could be valued as such and that it could be considered an action. I like when I do a work and people have the same feeling that I wanted to transmit.”
Native Argentinian, born in Buenos Aires. Autodidact. He had entered the world of Photography at 17 when he had picked up an old camera and never put it back down. Today Raúl is one of the most recognized creative photographers both nationally and internationally.
He had passed through different branches of photography: as an advertising photographer, portrait photographer, creative photo illustrator for book covers, discs, stories, poetry, numerous important publishers in Argentina.
Raúl’s creative awakening caused him to continually delve deeper into self-discovery and developing his own unorthodox methods and techniques that gives his work a unique distinguishing style and essence.
He had competed in the most important photographic salons in Argentina and around the world. Obtaining numerous national and international awards, in countries such as France, Italy, Poland, South Africa, Hungary, Brazil, Luxembourg, etc. He is the winner of countless gold, silver and bronze medals and other awards from worldwide. Being one of his friends is a great honour.
He had participated in numerous collective exhibitions and made several individual exhibitions in cultural centers and art galleries, both in Argentina and in other countries. All his exhibitions had ended with a resounding success and high criticism. His images were reproduced in posters and cards of different countries, easily commercialized in the consumer market, obtaining a great impact.
“People often ask how born the the idea of my photographs. As if there is only one way? I really do not know. Each case is different. I have devoted especially to art photography because I think it allows me to put all my creative ability. No technical, no rules. I cannot say that I follow a path to create. I go where my feelings take me. Maybe only constant is that I work in a state of semi-consciousness. I do what I feel without much thought, without getting limits. But none in this is more important. I believe that the fundamental is to give life to the image. Only when this vital step is given, I consider that my work makes sense.”
The idea lying behind the Tango series of images:
“These images of tango are the allegory to the myths and legends of places where tango grew and formed in its beginnings, low-lying places, cradles of handsome and malevaje, as well as passions, loves and sorrows, places where we were born as pieces of our current tango. Images according to my memories when I was a child, in the La Boca neighborhood, where I grew up. Images I used to see at night from the window of a tenement house, the place where I’ve lived. Images that have not been erased from my mind and are still kept in that child’s heart, that even today when I close my eyes, they come back to me again.”
Sr. Raúl Villalba deems his works not as photography, but as an art.
Using this opportunity, I would like to thank Sr. Raúl Villalba and Sra. Claudia Cavallera for providing information and images for this article!
P.S. Hope my understanding of and translation from Spanish was fine )