Press Releases


Navia photographs the Cathedral restoration

09/12/2003 The prestigious photographer exhibits a particularly human side of the monument restoration in Artium with 32 large format photos.

09/12/2003 The Santa María Cathedral Foundation is currently using the ARTIUM museum to exhibit images by the prestigious photographer, José Manuel Navia, showing the restoration process on the gothic temple. The exhibition, entitled "From the Cathedral", describes the human side of the monument recovery project and its urban environment in an artistic fashion.

The photography is a testimony of life and represents a treasure of an incalculable value for future generations. For this reason, the Santa María Cathedral Foundation began this important initiative in 2001 within the wide range of activities which it backs for the cultural and tourism-related promotion of the project. The objective is to create a base of photographs which would offer different views of the restoration plan taken from their author´s personal visions until the project finishes in 2009.

"From the Cathedral" is made up of 32 large format images. Strengthened by his international career and reputation, Navia´s photographs offer a humanised view of the Cathedral. In addition to the numerous acknowledgements which he has accumulated over his professional career such as the Fotopress Prize (1987) and the Godó Prize for Photojournalism (1999) among others, another accolade can be awarded to him, which is no less important: since he first came into contact with the Santa María project; he has become one of its best ambassadors.

The Santa María Cathedral Foundation began this photography project with the Galician Vari Caramés, who is one of the most outstanding artists in contemporary Spanish photography, and his show entitled "In the Cathedral". All the exhibitions will also tour around different cities in Spain. In the case of Caramés, more than 250,000 people were able to see it in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Palacio de Montehermoso), Leon (Cathedral), Seville (Cathedral) and Santiago de Compostela (Fonseca Room of the University of Santiago de Compostela).

José Manuel Navia
José Manuel Navia is now taking his turn with "From the Cathedral", a work in which he captures in images not only the physical recovery but also in terms of the mental state of the old gothic temple. Navia was born in Madrid in 1957 and he graduated in Philosophy in 1980. As an independent photographer, his work appears in different publishing media as well as national and foreign press (he maintains a close relationship with the newspaper "El País"). He is a member, among others, of the Vu agency in Paris, run by C. Caujolle.

His personal work comes from his reporting which has brought him various prizes, individual and collective exhibitions and books: the monograph "Navia" from the PhotoBolsillo collection and "Sleepwalking: Dreams of Portugal (Pisadas sonámbulas: lusofonías)", both edited by La Fábrica and exhibited in the Photogalería in Madrid and in PhotoEspaña. "Morocco, fragments of everyday life" edited by Altaïr/Edicions 62, and "From the Cathedral", fruit of the project initiated by the Santa María Cathedral Foundation in Vitoria. His work can be found in different collections, such as the Marugame Hirai museum in Japan, the Community of Madrid, Alcobendas Town Hall and the Photogalería of La Fábrica.

Literature feeds his images, with profoundly Hispanic roots. Following these footprints, he travels throughout the world. Listening to the words of Julio Caro Baroja, he has been drawn to the old town of Vitoria and its Cathedral: "in the old part of Vitoria, as in many others, what must be examined (and conserved and restored) is not only such and such a building, or such and such a nook, but also what is important in itself is the overall effect, the urban continent as well as content. This continent is frequently maintained the same, whilst what closes in will change and disorientate the traveller or observer. [...] Even today the old part as a continent keeps its unmistakeable features." In this way, Navia, from his personal view, has wanted the memory game to remain present in the photographic act.

Until 22nd February
Navia is exhibiting his work "From the Cathedral" in ARTIUM because of the quality of his photographs and the close collaboration which exists between the museum and the Santa María Cathedral Foundation. The show will remain in ARTIUM from 10th December to 22nd February. The cycle will finish in the Portuguese Photography Centre in Oporto, one of the most prestigious centres of this type in Europe, in a joint show with Caramés and Navia, after visiting Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.