Román Gubern
Where: Palau de la Virreina
La Rambla, 99

Previous activities / Seminars and talks

Román Gubern

Román Gubern
The expanded image

07.05.2019 – 21.05.2019

Román Gubern, Isaki Lacuesta, Antoni Muntadas, José Luis Corazón Ardura, Paul Hammond, Esteve Riambau, Josep Maria Català and Jorge Herralde
Tuesday 7, 14 and 21, 7 pm. Floor 0
Free entrance. Limited places


The work of Román Gubern (Barcelona, 1934) has occupied a unique place in the development of the theory of image and audiovisual studies from the 1960s until the present day, both internationally and in the Spanish context.

Thus, many of his books have acquired the category of ‘classics’, as they not only anticipated topics, concepts and trends that would subsequently be subject to research of various sorts, but also ushered in narrative forms midway between erudition and underground; between dissemination and academic rigour.

The output of this Barcelona essayist, a travelling companion of the great interpreters of popular culture and the mass media, from Umberto Eco to Gillo Dorfles, constitutes a veritable melting pot of genders and authors that gives us an insight into how image expanded over the last half century.

This cycle seeks to pay tribute to Román Gubern’s career through three sessions that focus on some of the main pillars of his bibliographical output, by means of the testimony of artists, writers, film makers and historians whose respective practices share, in one way or another, a degree of biographical and intellectual genealogy.


Tuesday 7, 7 pm
History and dissemination in the work of Román Gubern

With Paul Hammond and Esteve Riambau

Throughout his career, Román Gubern has alternated between research studies and essays of a historical or communicative nature, as can be seen in the pioneering Historia del cine (1969, still published in revised editions), El cine de la II República (1977), Proyector de luna. La generación del 27 y el cine (1999) and Luis Buñuel: The Red Years, 1930-1939 (2009), co-authored by Paul Hammond. This talk explores Gubern’s analyses on Spain’s less well known film heritage, handicapped by the political situation of the time and censorship during Francoism.

Tuesday 14, 7 pm
Practices of the image in the art

With Isaki Lacuesta and Antoni Muntadas

The expansion of images has taken place above all in the public sphere of art. The internet and digital processes related to the multimedia field are information resources that give shape to some of the audiovisual practices of the present. A world converted into an iconosphere that digs deep into the oppositions and encounters that occur between document and fiction and are included in books such as La mirada opulenta (1987), Del bisonte a la realidad virtual. La escena y el laberinto (1996), El eros electrónico (2000), Cultura audiovisual. Escritos 1981-2011 (2013) and Dialectos de la imagen (2017).

Tuesday 21, 7 pm
Theory of image and mass communication

With Josep Maria Català and Jorge Herralde

One of the most outstanding and groundbreaking contributions of Román Gubern’s work is the publication of several studies in which he establishes cross-references between cinema and literature; television and advertising; photography and the comic. These essays occupy a place of their own in visual studies, and it is this consideration of the image from a collective space of use that inspires such emblematic titles as El lenguaje de los cómics (1972), Mensajes icónicos en la cultura de las masas (1974), Comunicación y cultura de masas (1977), El discurso del cómic (1988), together with Luis Gasca, La imagen pornográfica y otras perversiones ópticas (1989, 2005), Máscaras de la ficción (2002) and Patologías de la imagen (2004), among others.


Román Gubern (Barcelona, 1934). PhD in Law from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and honorary PhD from Carlos III University of Madrid, guest researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge from 1971 to 1972), and lecturer in History of Cinema at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. He was founder and director of the Cervantes Institute in Rome from 1994 to 1995, and has held the Chair in Audiovisual Communication in the Faculty of Communication Sciences at UAB since 1983. He has been the president of the Spanish Association of Cinema Historians and a member of the French Association of Research on Cinema History. He is also an academician of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences of Spain, the Academy of Catalan Cinema, the Luis Buñuel Institute (SGAE), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Honorary Committee of the International Association for Visual Semiotics and the board of the International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics. Some of his most notable books are: Historia del cine (3rd ed., 2017), Dialectos de la imagen (2017), Cultura audiovisual. Escritos 1981-2011 (2013), Luis Buñuel: The Red Years, 1930-1939 (2012, together with Paul Hammond), La imagen pornográfica y otras perversiones ópticas (2005), Patologías de la imagen (2004), Máscaras de la ficción (2002), La caza de brujas en Hollywood (3rd ed., 2002), El eros electrónico (2000), Proyector de luna. La generación del 27 y el cine (1999), Del bisonte a la realidad virtual. La escena y el laberinto (1996), El simio informatizado (1986), Comunicación y cultura de masas (1977), Mensajes icónicos en la cultura de masas (1974), El lenguaje de los cómics (1972), McCarthy contra Hollywood (1970), Godard polémico (1969) and La televisión (1969), among many others.

For further information consult

José Luis Corazón Ardura (Madrid, 1973). PhD in Theory of Literature and Comparative Literature and PhD in Philosophy from the Autonomous University of Madrid, and lecturer at ERAM and EINA. His books include Historias de autómatas. Conversaciones con Sigfrido Martín Begué (2016), César Vallejo: la celda del poema (2015), Poéticas del presente. Actualidad del arte ecuatoriano (2015), La escalera da a la nada. Estética de Juan Eduardo Cirlot (2007) and the collection of poems Devastar, sombra (2014). He has curated the exhibitions Spanish Flies, Undergentryfication, The Inoperative Community, Allegories of Migration, Res Publicae: Interventions of Capitalism in Contemporary Spanish Video Art and Outskirts. He is co-director of the magazine Sublime and editor for Spain and Latin America of CURA Magazine. He contributes to the culture supplement Encuentros and publications such as A*DESK, Revista de Occidente, La alegría de los naufragios, Nolens Volens, Artishock, CartóNPiedra and Público, among others.

Josep Maria Català (Barcelona, 1946). PhD in Communication Sciences from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Emeritus Professor of this same university and Dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences at UAB from 2010 to 2016. Master of Fine Arts in Film Theory from the San Francisco State University in California and lecturer in the Faculty of Communication Sciences at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara (Mexico), he has worked as a producer on several national and international television channels. His books include La violación de la mirada. La imagen entre el ojo y el espejo (1993), La puesta en imágenes (2001), La imagen compleja. La fenomenología de las imágenes en la era de la cultura visual (2005), La forma de lo real. Introducción a los estudios visuales (2008), Pasión y conocimiento (2009), El murmullo de las imágenes. Imaginación, documental y silencio (2012), La gran espiral. Capitalismo y paranoia (2016) and Viaje al centro de las imágenes (2017), among others.

Paul Hammond (Derby, UK, 1947) is a writer, translator and painter living in Barcelona since 1992. His books include Marvellous Méliès (1974), L’Âge d’Or (1997), Constellations of Miró, Breton (2000) and Luis Buñuel: The Red Years, 1930-1939 (2012), the last of these co-authored by Román Gubern. His most recent translation is of Beckmann: Exile Figures by Tomàs Llorens, the exhibition on which can currently be seen at CaixaForum. Lastly, three of his paintings have been reproduced in The International Encyclopedia of Surrealism (2019).

Jorge Herralde (Barcelona, 1935). Publisher and writer. In 1969 he founded the publishing house Anagrama, which he directs to this day. Considered one of the most important Spanish-language literary publishers of the last 50 years, he has published such celebrated authors as Martin Amis, Patricia Highsmith, Enrique Vila-Matas, Javier Marías and Roberto Bolaño. He was awarded the National Prize for the Best Cultural Publishing Work in 1994, he received the distinction of Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2005, and was named Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 2006.

Isaki Lacuesta (Girona, 1975). He has written and directed the following feature-length films: Cravan vs Cravan (2002), La leyenda del tiempo (2006), Los condenados (2009), La noche que no acaba (2010), El cuaderno de barro (2011), Los pasos dobles (2011), Murieron por encima de sus posibilidades (2014), La propera pell (2014), co-directed with Isa Campo, and Between Two Waters (2018). He has won the Golden Shell at the San Sebastián Festival twice, and the awards for Best Film and Best Actor at the Mar del Plata Film Festival (Argentina) for Between Two Waters. He has received seven Gaudí Awards, the National Cinema Prize given by the Generalitat of Catalonia, and the Sant Jordi Prize on two occasions. The Pompidou Centre in Paris held a retrospective on him in 2018. Co-curator of the Catalonia Pavilion at the 2016 Architecture Biennale in Venice with Jaume Prat and Jelena Prokopljević, he has produced numerous audiovisual installations for art centres all over the world.

Antoni Muntadas (Barcelona, 1942). Artist and lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge from 1977 to 2014. He now lectures at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia. He has organised exhibitions for leading national and international museums, including MoMA, MNCARS, Musée Jeu de Paume, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and MACBA. He has participated in documenta in Kassel (1977 and 1997), the Whitney Biennial of American Art (1991) and the Venice Biennale (2005), among others.

Esteve Riambau (Barcelona, 1955). Historian, critic and filmmaker. Director of the Filmoteca de Catalunya since 2010 and lecturer in the Department of Audiovisual Communication and Advertising at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), he has co-directed with Elisabet Cabeza the feature-length films La doble vida del faquir (2005) and Màscares (2009). In 2019 he co-directed with Àlex Gorina the documentary series La gran il·lusió. Relat intermitent del cinema català. Since the late 1970s he has written film reviews in national media including Fotogramas, Dirigido por and Avui, among others, and international ones such as Cahiers du Cinéma, Cinema Nuovo and Cineaste. He has published over 40 books on cinema history, including monographic studies on Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola, Marco Ferreri and many more. A specialist in French cinema and Spanish cinema history, he has also researched the figure of Orson Welles through several essays, documentaries and plays.

esteve riambau
Esteve Riambau. Foto: Paco Poch
Isaki Lacuesta
Isaki Lacuesta
Jorge Herralde
Jorge Herralde
Josep Maria Català
Josep Maria Català
Antoni Muntadas
Antoni Muntadas
Paul Hammond
Paul Hammond