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Montserrat, 1995

Photograph, 80 polaroids de c/u

While staying in Barcelona for the show, Rodney Graham visited the mountain of Montserrat, which lies about sixty kilometers inland, and returned from a late-night trip there with eighty Polaroids; they can be seen as a pendant to his first photographic work, 75 Polaroids, from 1976. Montserrat holds great significance in Catalan culture, in part because of the Black Madonna venerated at the local monastery, but also because the Holy Grail is believed to have been kept there. In Richard Wagner’s libretto for his opera Lohengrin, and still more clearly in Parsifal, Montsalvat is identified with the mountain of Montserrat.

The artist is interested in nature—roots, trees, shrubbery, ferns, the sea crashing over rocks. But they are random, uncomposed snapshots, similar in some respects to pictures in family albums with heads partially cropped or the subject off centre. Graham has executed them with a concentrated naiveté. . . . Nevertheless it is unclear what Graham is doing with these photographs. Are they to be ‘read’ for their coloristic and tonal variations or studied one by one?

Technical details

Original title:
Registration number:
Graham, Rodney
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Dye diffusion transfer print on paper
80 polaroids de c/u
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation. Gift of Jordi Soley
© Rodney Graham
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