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Press Release

Mil Besos

Book Available for Mil Besos

February 11 through March 27, 2010
Reception for the Artist Thursday, February 11, 7-9 p.m.

The Fahey/Klein Gallery is pleased to present the photographs of Ruven Afanador from his latest publication, Mil Besos (1000 Kisses), a celebration of the women of flamenco from Southern Spain. In the South gallery, we will also be presenting a selection of images from Afanador’s first publication, Torero, featuring photographs of bullfighters from Spain, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru. Strongly influenced from his childhood memories in South America, both bodies of work are an homage to the romantic traditions of Latin American culture focusing on the costumes, pageantry, drama, and passion for beauty and style. Afanador’s photographs create an intensely personal visual language that challenges conventional definitions of gender and beauty.

“These women are unafraid, remorseless, and timeless,” describes Afanador’s passionate dancers in their stark contrast and fierce beauty. Mil Besos is an extraordinary collection of images portraying generations of flamenco dancers from the oldest and more traditional women of flamenco to the young dancers and singers who infuse flamenco with modern influences from jazz, rumba and salsa, creating subtle but confident changes to traditions passed from one family member to another. Photographed under the bright sunlight against the austere landscape and incandescent walls of Andalusia, Mil Besos highlights a fervent and primal vision of womanhood (Mil Besos, Rizzoli 2009).

Contrast is no less an element in Torero, where Afanador’s bullfighters show the dichotomies of exquisite beauty and horror, glory and disillusion, life and death, revealing how deeply his aesthetic sense is rooted in Hispanic culture. The immediacy, the intensity, and the absolute absence of fear in his subjects’ eyes find unique expression in the beauty and delicacy of classic portraiture. Exquisitely detailed and lush in the fullness of tone and depth in these intimate pictures, the bullfighters are not shown in the fight, but in the ceremony that precedes it. Torero captures the restrained grace and quiet ferocity of the living bullfighter (Torero, Edition Stemmle 2001).

Ruven Afanador was born in Colombia and spent his childhood in the city of Bucaramanga. While studying art in college, he discovered photography and later honed his technical skills while living in Milan. He moved to New York in 1990 where he has achieved an exceptional career photographing the emblematic figures of contemporary fashion, music, and film. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world.