Born in Buenos Aires and raised in Rome, Clara Masnatta attended university in Argentina, the United States, and Germany, obtaining a joint PhD- degree in Comparative Literature from Harvard University and Romanistischen Kulturwissenschaften from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (summa cum laude).
As an ICI Fellow she developed the project “Chromatic Canon: The Erring Colors of Photography”. Springing from her dissertation “Freund-schaft” – that had Gisèle Freund and Walter Benjamin at the center- the book is a feminist contribution to the emerging history of color photography. It will look back on photographic forms from the color and women angle, that is, exposing a double neglect.

Clara is also working in an exhibition of Gisèle Freund writer’s portraits as guest-curator at the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires in cooperation with the Institut Mémoires de l’ édition contemporaine in France. The exhibition and its accompanying bilingual catalog are scheduled for 2017.
Her writing has appeared in books (“About Raymond Williams”, Routledge, 2010; “Critical Essays on Horacio Coppola and Grete Stern, La Marca/Interzona”, 2016), journals (“Art in Translation”; Ex-Berliner), and the publication for Rinko Kawauchi’s retrospective at the Kunst Haus Wien/ Museum Hundertwasser in 2015.

Chromatic Canon:
The Erring Colors of Photography

ICI Project 2014-16

Working at the intersection of women photographers and photographic formats, Chromatic Canon interrogates color photography. My project represent modern color from the launch of color film technology, around 1935, to the present. In an overarching pan from Tokyo to Buenos Aires, each chapter provide a case study of a different woman photographer and photographic form.
My manuscript emphasizes how images have been reproduced and disseminated, and thus takes photography mainly outside the museum and away from the object “photograph”. My chapters will highlight the early transparency format in tandem with the projections that the chromogenic medium first dictated (and Gisèle Freund turned into veritable performances) and photobooks (specifically, Rinko Kawauchi’s publications) as more significant and far-reaching dispositifs than showing photography in galleries.

This last form also raises with the 1931 RPS exhibition “Colour Photography in the Service of Mankind” (the first in UK) in the chapter on Madame Yevonde. A fourth chapter is (tentatively) on GDR fashion photographer Sybille Bergemann. The Introduction departs from the larger neglect of color photography to underscore Walter Benjamin’s color-blindness and offer an archeology of key terms.