Let’s start with a fact that is almost evidence: every day we see more photographs than our ancestors, a hundred years ago, saw in their entire lives. The following data is enlightening: it is estimated that in 2018 more than 300,000 photos were published on social networks per minute. Third fact, perhaps a personal appreciation: taking photographs does not make you a photographer. It takes years of work (Henri Cartier-Bresson used to say that your first 10,000 photographs are always the worst) and a talent that is sometimes cultivated and sometimes you have. In Spain, where art grows in trees, we have some of the most interesting masters of the camera. Such is the case of Eugenio Recuenco, born in Madrid in that historic May 68. A student of Fine Arts who had an instant crush (could we say it was a flash?) With the world of the image. More than 25 years have passed since its first click !, a quarter of a century devoted to an art that goes far beyond the selfies that we flirtatiously take before the mirror. And it is that, of the person or the portrayed object, being an accomplice of their vulnerability and their mutability. It is a testimony of the irretrievable, of what Susan Sontag said, taking a photograph implies participating in the mortality that was and ceased to be, and at the same time a way of immortalizing an instant and making it eternal. Almost nothing.
Eugenio Recuenco has a smile on his mouth and that sparkle in his gaze that reveals a trained eye, one capable of seeing what is invisible to others. But, for him, photography is a participatory art, almost a dialogue. “Photographs come to life with the heartbeat of the viewer,” he says. He began creating paintings in which he combined painting and photography, but soon his vocation became clear. It was in the late 90’s when he started working professionally, focusing his career mainly on catalogs and magazines. Among them, none other than the queen of fashion magazines: Vogue. “It’s interesting to see how Vogue’s personality varies in different countries,” he says, “each with its peculiarities and its way of doing things. But, above all, the artist’s vision and his creativity always end up taking priority ”.
When his career began to take off, he did not lack proposals from abroad. “There was a moment when everything started to fuel and the calls started coming in. And it was clear to me from the beginning: my destination had to be France. I went to discover new markets and soak up other ways of doing things ”. In Paris, the city of lights, love and baguettes, the doors of some of the biggest fashion houses in the world were opened to her, from Yves Saint Laurent to Loewe. But one of his first commissions, which he remembers with special fondness, was a collaboration with Nina Ricci. This is how the photographer explains it: “It was a very special experience, I hadn’t made an announcement before and they called me with no other baggage than my photography. Nina Ricci was in a delicate moment and her commitment to me was as strong as it was risky. They understood what I could contribute in terms of creativity and creation of worlds. And the experience went very well, it was even considered the best advertisement of the year in France ”.
Eugenio Recuenco’s career advances like an unstoppable avalanche, sweeping wherever it goes. Nothing can resist him, from staging the opera Les Huguenots at the Fisher Center in New York to directing a video clip for the successful German band Rammstein. He explains it with a simplicity as acute as it is devastating: “I like the challenge, the new experience. What I already know how to do, does not call me ”. His adventures have taken him to places like Berlin (“if France was a commercial and advertising boost in my career, Germany was on a more personal level”) or Shanghai (“I am fascinated by the interactive concept that Asians have of art”) . But what is perhaps his most ambitious and personal project to date, he presented it in a seemingly less exotic place, but without a doubt closer to his roots: the Tomás y Valiente Art Center (CEART) in Fuenlabrada. It is her magnum opus: 365 Heming.
Text: Alex Merino Aspiazu