El asesinato de los abogados de Atocha (The Murder of the Atocha Lawyers)

Jorge Ballester

Valencia, Spain, 1941 - 2014
Enrique Carrazoni - Valencia, 1948
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Oil and collage on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    100 x 100 cm
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Jorge Ballester (Valencia, 1941–2014) and Juan Cardells (Valencia, 1948–2019) formed Equipo Realidad (1966–1976), a collective with a unique arc in the sphere of contemporary Spanish painting. With an aesthetic in close proximity to the media and the appropriation of images from day-to-day reality, Equipo Realidad connected with critical figuration, of a markedly political nature, and committed, politically and socially, to opposing Franco’s dictatorship. The collective disbanded in 1976 as the new setting of Spain’s Transition to democracy was ushered in.
The work El asesinato de los abogados de Atocha (The Murder of the Atocha Lawyers) was produced by Ballester in 1977 after the break-up of the collective, with the artist working in collaboration with Enrique Carrazoni in their commitment to political and activist art and with both working from a series of news stories with heavy media coverage during the early years of the Transition. The case in question was the Atocha Massacre, which took place on 24 January 1977 when extreme-right militants murdered five people and injured another four with links to the Communist Party and Workers’ Commissions in a labour office on Madrid’s Calle Atocha. The event shook Spain and sparked a number of spontaneous acts of solidarity around the country. The work, taken from the “photographic memory” of the press, denounces far-right terrorism at the dawn of this transitional period to democracy.

Salvador Nadales