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Artist Spotlight Series: Marta Fàbregas

Marta Fàbregas i Aragall, a Barcelona native born in 1974, is an artist whose lens captures more than just images—it captures stories, perspectives, and voices often overlooked.

Portrait of Marta Fabregas in Studio
Portrait of Marta Fabregas in Studio

Trained at the Institute of Photographic Studies of Catalonia, Marta Fàbregas' journey into photography was driven by a deep-seated commitment to feminist principles. Accordingly, Fàbregas's work goes beyond aesthetics; it's a reflection of her belief in the power of art to provoke thought and inspire change. From co-founding Estudi La Fotogràfica in '98 to her current prominence in the Barcelona art scene, she has carved out a space where her vision resonates with audiences far and wide.

Fàbregas' role extends beyond the confines of galleries; she's an educator, sharing her expertise through workshops aimed at empowering others to find their voice through photography. Through Fàbregas' collaboration with the SETBA Foundation, she brings art to marginalized communities, demonstrating its transformative potential.

Colonized 115, 2023. Marta Fàbregas. Mixed media on watercolor paper from old photograph 51 1/5 × 39 2/5 × 3 9/10 in | 130 × 100 × 10 cm
Colonized 115, 2023. Mixed media on watercolor paper 51 1/5 × 39 2/5 × 3 9/10 in | 130 × 100 × 10 cm

Fàbregas' exhibitions, whether solo showcases or contributions to international art fairs, are invitations to her audience to engage with complex issues and perspectives. Fàbregas's work challenges viewers to see the world through a different lens and encourages dialogue about pressing social issues.

Among Fàbregas' notable exhibitions are showcases at esteemed institutions such as the Museu Frederic Marés in Barcelona and participation in events like the Barcelona Gallery Weekend and the Kronos Festival at Palau Robert. Additionally, her presence in international art fairs—from Paris to Los Angeles—underscores her global impact as an artist and advocate.

One of Fàbregas' significant exhibitions, "Universos en suspensión," held at Pigment Gallery in Barcelona during the 2019 Barcelona Gallery Weekend, exemplified her ability to engage viewers in nuanced conversations about identity, society, and the human experience.

Lilith's daughter nº03, 2021. Marta Fàbregas. Mixed Media and Photography 37 8/10 × 52 8/10 in | 96 × 134 cm
Lilith's Daughter nº03, 2021. Mixed Media and Photography. 47 1/5 × 55 1/10 in | 120 × 140 cm

As Marta Fàbregas continues to navigate the intersections of art, activism, and education, her work serves as a testament to the transformative power of creativity in shaping our understanding of the world.

Inside the Lens: An Interview with Marta Fàbregas i Aragall

Colonized 100, 2023. Marta Fàbregas. Mixed media on watercolor paper from old photograph 51 1/5 × 39 2/5 × 3 9/10 in | 130 × 100 × 10 cm
Colonized 100, 2023. Mixed media on watercolor paper 51 1/5 × 39 2/5 × 3 9/10 in | 130 × 100 × 10 cm

What initially drew you to the medium of photography, and how has your relationship with it evolved over the years?

I've always been captivated by the power of photography—it's a technique that allows one to freeze a moment and then recall it infinitely. I'm also passionate about the immediacy of the photographic technique, which I suppose aligns with my active and dynamic nature.

From a very young age, I loved photography. My father was a civil servant, but photography and cinema were his hobbies. I remember the red light of the darkroom... when he used to develop photos at night.

As a child, I covered my entire room with photos from magazines, but they weren't fashion photos—they were classic photographs, mostly in black and white - though I wasn't yet conscious of that. I would simply see a photo I liked, cut it out, and paste it on my bedroom wall. As I grew older, I realized that, unknowingly, I already had a special sensitivity for strong composition within photography.

At 19, I knew I wanted to be a photographer, primarily for the artistic and creative aspects that photography offered me. I studied, graduated, and opened my own photography studio with my husband and photographer, Marc Vidal. That brought us to our shared studio located in the heart of Barcelona.

I always combined commercial and advertising photography with artistic projects in collaboration with my husband, but it wasn't until 2016 that I began developing my own artistic and creative work individually.

 Have there been any significant milestones or moments that have shaped your journey as a photographer?

An important moment in my artistic career was in 2018 when Ferran Josa from Pigment Gallery signed me and started showcasing my work at international fairs. Since then, it's been like riding a rocket.

Your exhibitions serve as platforms for engaging with complex issues. Could you discuss how you approach the curation and presentation of your work to spark dialogue and reflection among viewers? Are there specific techniques or strategies you employ to encourage audience engagement with your art?

Garden of Hesperides nº 05, 2022. Marta Fàbregas. Mixed media on watercolor paper from old photograph 47 1/5 × 55 1/10 × 3 9/10 in | 120 × 140 × 10 cm
Garden of Hesperides nº 05, 2022. Mixed media on watercolor paper from old photograph 47 1/5 × 55 1/10 × 3 9/10 in | 120 × 140 × 10 cm

I'm passionate about antique photography. It's through the compilation of images that I begin to piece together the puzzle, starting with an idea (always centered around the world of women). I seek out old images that, when combined and filtered through my technical and aesthetic lens, can tell a contemporary and current story anew. Women from the past make us reflect on our present to build a better future.

In the end, it's meticulous selection work... almost like curating. I integrate images from different photographers, taken at different times and years, of frequently anonymous women. This culminates in a visual story. I aim for their combination to form a single voice and convey something new.

How has your experience showcasing your work internationally, especially in art fairs, influenced your artistic process and perspective? What insights have you gained from presenting your work on a global stage, and how do these experiences shape the way you approach your art?

First of all, it has been a great opportunity that Ferran Josa from Pigment Gallery offered me. Going out into the world and showing what you do is a privilege. Though challenging, it's also a magical moment when other galleries show interest in your work and new doors, new markets, and collectors open up.

That said, being able to showcase my work internationally has once again shown me that women's issues, unfortunately, exist worldwide. It's necessary to give voice to these issues, and my tool is to do so through art and my works.I suppose the themes I present are so current that it's inevitable they capture the public's attention.

As artists, we have the responsibility to expose societal issues, make them visible, and be a voice. Artists must address these issues and find new and creative solutions.

Whenever I have the opportunity, I like to explain my work and the inspiration behind my work or the series. I enjoy it when people ask who these women were, where they came from, or what their names were... I don't always have that information, but suddenly a new discourse is created and a new perspective on that image emerges. A new woman is born in the imagination of the viewers.

Diver nº 9, 2019. Marta Fàbregas. Transphotography on watercolor paper 35 2/5 × 35 2/5 in | 90 × 90 cm
Diver nº 9, 2019. Transphotography on watercolor paper. 35 2/5 × 35 2/5 in | 90 × 90 cm

Could you discuss a specific project or series that holds particular significance for you and share the story behind its creation? What inspired the themes explored in this project, and what do you hope viewers take away from experiencing it?

Perhaps the most emblematic series is "Colonizadas" (Colonized), which was where I started, continue to this day, and is the most extensive. I now have over 100 works in the series.

I began with portraits of women who were clearly colonized by men, society, culture, traditions, and even by themselves. But gradually, I realized that deep down, we are all still colonized in one way or another. We need to find our own identity. Afterwards came "Hijas de Lilith" (Daughters of Lilith), "Perfectas Imperfectas" (Perfectly Imperfect), and "Divers."

Looking ahead, what are some of the themes or projects you're excited to explore in your future work? Are there any new techniques or approaches you're eager to experiment with, or any specific subjects or concepts you're drawn to exploring further in your art?

Right now, I have started a new series called "Ama," reflecting on those incredible women who worked collecting pearls freely on the coasts of Japan, a practice that is nearing extinction. The series is a tribute to those brave women and also the goddesses of the sea. At the same time, it's a reflection on our planet and how we must take care of it.

Another project is the "Dóna Oportunitat" project, which I will carry out in September in my home city, Sant Cugat del Vallès. I am experimenting with transferring large-format images onto ceramic tiles. It is an artistic mediation project with a group of migrant women. Together with the art historian Berta Navarro, we will create a mural artwork measuring 3x4 meters.

Can you give us a glimpse into any other upcoming events or shows you have planned for 2024?

In addition to "Dóna Oportunitat," we are fully engaged in the project "Traspassant l’Objectiu" with the Setba Foundation, where I serve as artistic director and trainer. I share my passion for photography and portraiture with women in prisons and correctional facilities. The transformative power of art and photography is incredible, and I experience it in each of these sessions. This project will be exhibited again in the city of Lleida, also in mid-September.

In December, I will also participate in one of the most important art fairs in the world in Miami, alongside Blink Group Gallery. Right now, I'm working on these pieces. I have such gratitude for where my career has taken me and the opportunities I have be granted.


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