We’re all questioning reality anyway, PHotoESPAÑA 2024 is just putting images to the mindset. 

Marking the centenary of André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto published in 1924, PHotoESPAÑA 2024 exhibit presented by LOEWE and LOEWE FOUNDATION showcase the widespread impact of Surrealism on photography. Curated by María Millán, this exhibition features works from 24 artists and collectives from all over the world, illustrating how Surrealism has enriched photographic forms and aesthetics over the past century.


For more than a decade, LOEWE FOUNDATION has partnered PHotoESPAÑA to explore pioneering 20th century photographers that are “driven by freedom of thought and divergence from conventional morality.”

Over 600 exhibitions have been presented, which have attracted more than half a million visitors each year, making PHotoEspaña the largest cultural event in Spain. PHotoEspaña, the International Festival of Photography and Visual Arts of Madrid, is a photography forum of Spanish and international photographers that began in 1998; artists exhibited in previous years include, Tina Modotti, Minor White, David Wojnarowicz, Hervé Guibert, and George Platt Lynes.


During the aftermath of World War I, people flocked to Surrealism to get away from the struggles of everyday life. Amidst the influence of Freudian psychoanalysis, creatives delved into the realm of dreams and inner desires. This exhibition showcases photography’s pivotal role in distorting reality through techniques such as double exposures, photomontage, and theatrical lighting, offering a reflection on the human psyche.

Anonymous, Young boy in NYC, 1930s | Courtesy of LOEWE FOUNDATION

In the exhibition, an image from Kati Horna’s photography series, Ode to Necrophilia, 1962, showcases an untitled photo of a woman next to a death mask—a visual narrative of a woman grieving the death of a loved one. The white mask propped on the pillows of the empty bed illustrates the tradition of the death mask, in which an imprint of the face of the deceased is made as a memento. 

Kati Horna, Ode to Necrophilia, 1962 | Courtesy of LOEWE FOUNDATION

Lucien Clergue’s Jean Cocteau, Le Testament d’Orphee, 1959, reveals Cocteau as the Poet with painted-on eyes like the performers in ancient Greek theater—capturing Cocteau’s role in the Testament of Orpheus.

Lucien Clergue, Jean Cocteau, Le Testament d’Orphee, 1959 | Courtesy of LOEWE FOUNDATION

Lola Álvarez Bravo’s Eye (1950s) captures the camera at the same time itself is being captured. Bravo has called the camera a “third eye,” eliciting the truth of the photographer’s experience.

Lola Álvarez Bravo, Eye, 1950s | Courtesy of LOEWE FOUNDATION

As aptly articulated by Lola Álvarez Bravo, this exhibition serves as a gateway into the subconscious depths of each photographer’s dreams and psyche.


PHotoESPAÑA 2024 will be held from May 29th to September 29th in Madrid, Spain.

Discover More