Throckmorton Fine Art is pleased to present its fifth exhibition of the photography of Colombian-born Ruven Afanador. This exhibit commemorates the second edition of the artist’s celebrated book, Torero. (Torero is the Spanish word for bullfighter.) While Afanador is an internationally acclaimed portrait and fashion photographer, he is also a fine artist. He has selected forty photographs from his work as an artist for this exhibit. These images masterfully reveal the mystical world of bullfighters, which is rich with rituals. In all of the intricacies—including of dress—and drama, Afanador finds art. “To fight well a bull, you have to forget that you have a body,” said renowned Spanish torero Juan Belmonte. In his book Torero, Afanador does not capture the bloody struggle between the torero and the bull (which in Spanish is toro). Instead of the dance between beauty and horror in the bullfight, Afanador’s photographs are dedicated to the physical and emotional transcendence of men who defy death, driven by a passion for bullfighting. At first sight, Afanador appears to only focus on the torero’s figure, his sensual masculinity and the handmade, elaborate haute-couture-like outfits traditionally worn by bullfighters. However, Afanador does more: he reveals the struggle the torero experiences before facing the bull. With the threat of death, the torero needs to feel and show that he is strong, proud, and the central performer in the dramatic pageantry of the bullfight. Life and death are at play in the plaza. Afanador wants us to have empathy, as he surely did while spending time with the toreros. The torero must display virility in the plaza, and Afanador captures well all the strength that is mustered before the spectacle. Afanador ceaselessly pushes the limits of aesthetic cultural conventions. Torero, his first book of personal work, reflects his own artistic expression, links history and Hispanic culture, explores his passion for dance and poetry, and indulges in his delight for unconventional beauty. These pursuits are also evident in his other personal projects: Sombra (2004), Mil Besos (2009), Ángel Gitano (2014), Yo Seré Tu Espejo (2016), and Las Hijas del Agua (2020). This latest book, done in collaboration with the artist Ana González, presents remarkable portraits of indigenous Colombian communities and their ancestral traditions. Afanador is a well-recognized fashion photographer. He began working in New York in in the early 1990s. His work has appeared in Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. Afanador is also a sought-after portrait photographer. Those who have been captured by his lens include: President Barack Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Dalai Lama, Margaret Atwood, and Marina Abramovic. Afanador’s photographs are in many private and public collections, including in his native Colombia. Museums in Colombia holding his work include El Museo Nacional de Colombia and El Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá. His work has been exhibited internationally, including, in addition to the United States, in Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Argentina. Throckmorton Fine Art is proud to represent Afanador in New York. This exhibit will also mark the twentieth anniversary of the photographer’s first show with the gallery.
Ruven Afanador Torero Exhibit
October 28th,2021 – February 26th, 2022
Throckmorton Fine Art Gallery
145 Est 57th Street, 3rd Floor
New York NY 10022