The concept of the exhibition THE MEXICAN SUITCASE. A dialogue between the existing materials and documents and the rediscovered negatives
The exhibition is coceived to show us the relationship between the images that were published during the years of Spanish Civil War in many of the graphic magazines around the world and the photographic material rediscovered in the three cardboard boxes that were known as the Mexican Suitcase. The impossibility of presenting all the material contained in the Suitcase in exhibition format (nearly 4.500 negatives) has led the International Center of Photography of New York to make a selection of 32 areas that represent different aspects of the Spanish Civil War based on the work of the three photographers, pioneers of photojournalism.
The ccomposition of the areas, although different, can be interpreted in similar fashion. In other words, it is a mosaic in which we can find the original printed material; photographs of the time that have been conserved at the ICP; new photographs never before published, and others whose existence was known of although there were no copies extant, and which are now exhibited as modern copies of the recovered negatives. All this is completed with contact sheets that give us an overall view of the context in which the images were taken and the scope of the reports. Naturally, these contacts sheets are to aidour understanding of the way the three photographers worked, but as they are contacts it is not easy to interpret them directly in the room. The MNAC has therefore placed at visitors' disposal various opies of the book in which all 4.500 rediscovered negatives can be consulted.
Moreover, when the photographs were published, over 70 years ago, together they represented a first-rate piece of journalism, and the people who had taken them became legendary personalities. In the exhibition we can find a large part of this printed material, in the various original formats that were published with the dates and the photo captions that we have known up to now. It is this material that we are showing in the display cabinets. A large part of the negatives lost for so many years refer to many of these well-known reports, but now their rediscovery opens up a new possibility of studying them together and of being able to rewrite some of the previously known scenes with new data, both geographical and chronological.