Galerie Orbis pictus is starting 2020 with an exhibition of photographic portraits: analog pictures of 20th century artists and art world taken by Hispanic artist Jesse A. Fernández (Havana 1925 - Neuilly-sur-Seine 1986). The originality of the exhibition lies in the confrontation of these photographic portraits with major artworks of Fernández’s painter friends, most of them Spanish and Spanish- American.
Vocational painter, free spirit and stateless humanist turned to photographer by the hazards of life, Jesse A. Fernández met most of the intellectuals and artists of the second half of the 20th century. Another stateless Parisian, Emil Cioran, once described him as “a man who could see an idea like no others”. Having gone through Spanish and Cuban political crises in his childhood, Jesse A. Fernández was a real humanist and managed to penetrate the depths of his models. Fernández had no formal training, refused to apply any studio rules, and never asked people to pose. For him, photography was like drawing.
Fernández wanted to make a book dedicated to painters in which each would put their signature like their own calligraph. But death, in the form of a heart attack, entered the dark room before him.
Galerie Orbis pictus will unveil part of this unborn project through an exclusive showcase of these original calligraphs (Cardenas, Cuevas, Lam, Miró, Saura, Tàpies...) along with portraits taken on the spot thanks to the artists’ friendly relationship with the photographer. To complete and expand on Jesse A. Fernández’s project, the gallery wants to revive the art world of his time by presenting works by some of the great artists he rubbed shoulders with.