Humberto Rivas

Buenos Aires 1937 - Barcelona 2009
“I think that no discipline should be limited. You have to let the author have the freedom to combine media. We must have the freedom to use any means, understanding that the technique is to be used and not to be respected.”

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Humberto Rivas (Buenos Aires, 1937-Barcelona, 2009) was the representative of a generation of photographers who in the 1980s transcended the idea of documentary photography towards a photograph that expresses the author's personal world. He considers it from here that he moved a whole circuit of photographic artists and for all of them he was a reference, especially for Manolo Laguillo and Joan Fontcuberta. When he was seventeen, he started a drawing course, and a year later he started working as an apprentice in an advertising agency, thanks to which he was able to buy his first camera. In 1962 the designer and sculptor J. C. Distéfano, then director of the design department at the Torcuato Di Tella Institute in Buenos Aires, invited him to direct the photography department of the contemporary art center. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, many of Argentina's creative personalities would parade through that center, and were captured by Rivas' relentless camera, influenced at the time by Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus. The Argentine-born photographer left his native country in 1976 for political reasons to settle with his family in Barcelona. In his last photographs, taken until 2005, Rivas accentuated the shades of black and demonstrated his mastery of chiaroscuro in highly essential works. The artist concluded his activity as a photographer with works in which the primordial and the subtle establish a dialogue. In 1997, Barcelona City Council awarded him the City of Barcelona Plastic Arts Award. In 1998 he obtained the National Photography Prize, awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. In 1999 he received the Konex Award in Argentina. His artistic career was shown in an anthological exhibition in 2006 held at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona. In 2009 the Barcelona City Council awarded him the Gold Medal for Artistic Merit. He died on November 6, 2009 in Barcelona. Currently with a good relationship with his son Salva del Carril, the Artur Ramon ART space has carried out in recent years exhibitions of interest such as Rivas-Piranesi, or El Enigma de la Mirada, both curated by the Rivas expert, Jose Aristizabal.