A mal tiempo, buena cara/In bad weather, a good face

Bebe Blanco Agterberg

2020 - Ongoing

How to live in a state built upon silence?

This is a photographic work based on a true story. It is a constructed story that includes images about how memories intertwine with reality and how they have a lasting impact on daily life.

The project is a reflection on the transition period in Spain that followed after the dictator Francisco Franco peacefully passed away in 1975. Spain needed to decide how to move from a dictatorship to a democracy. It wasn’t possible to have a clean break – a clear “problematic” before & “fixed” after. Some of the practices continued and still lay deep within the foundation on which Spain is built today.

One critical tool that was created in order to forget was the “Pact of Forgetting” (Pacto del Olvido) in 1977. The pact was an imposition that existed in different spheres. No one was held accountable for crimes they committed, facts were altered, new stories were presented by the government, and people slowly started to fill in the gaps of their memories with new information. Nothing was certain anymore and the pact became an assumed ‘historical truth”. My mother is Spanish and was involved in one of the stories that has been covered up by the Pact of Forgetting, therefore this is also a personal investigation.

The project looks more widely through the reconstruction of memory how society can cope with atrocity. The work is there for a combination between the fabricated and the more documentary image and investigates how forgetting became a political tool.

The result is a patchwork of images that draw on the tools of documentary and fiction to investigate the idea of ‘historical truth’.

By adopting the visual language of the past and at the same time extending/re-enacting where the story left off giving new meaning to it, you begin to wonder whether what you see is true or fake. Whether it happened in the past or now. In the end, this shows how much effect one has on the other and that not all has been silenced.

In times of crisis which face should we trust?

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