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Agence VU - Ouka Leele
Ouka Leele

Spanish photographer, based in Madrid (Spain)

Being an active figure of the madrid’s « movida », Ouka Leele imposes, since the spanish cultural revolution following Franco’s death in chelate 70th, a resolutely creative and playful photographic work that reveals a surrealist and singular poetic of the everyday life.

To question both the experiment of reality and the conventions of figuration, she proposes a new hybridization of painting, for which she initially intends herself, and photography which she adopts " by intuition ". Ouka Leele thus composes stagings, photographs them in black and white to distance them from reality, superimposes colors which are »inherent to life" using paint, before photographing them again. "I am a photographer but as in Magritte's painting: this is not a photographer!"

Yet Ouka Leele refuses any systematism of style, and claims spontaneity of creation.  Still lifes, artistic nudes, portraits : either playful or mysterious, her series evolve between eccentric, dreamlike or intimist settings; her palette reveals itself in blatant, saturated or tender colors. But always her creative device plays with the gap, the breach, from which emerge a visual poetry, a narration in the still frame of the photographic image.

Winner of the 2005 National Grand Prize for Photography of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and of the Grand Prize of the Urban Community of Madrid, Ouka Leele's works are regularly exhibited in Spain and abroad, and join prestigious collections among which those of the Cartier Foundation (Paris), the Cervantes Institute (Lisbon), or the Reina Sofia National Museum (Madrid).

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Poesia del retrato - Mi circo (2011)

This series is a survey of the creative mechanism, which characterizes the work of Ouka Leele, major artist of the Movida movement in Madrid. Ouka Leele creates a personal universe where portraits are photographic set up that tells stories. “I think that start to do visual poetry when I slowly realised that I wanted to build stories about children’s memories, family life and about the way we figure out future”, say the photographer.

Peluqueria (2010)

Inedita (2009)

El nombre de una estrella (Book selection) (2007)

Publisher : Ellago Ouka Leele took part in the Spanish cultural liberation movement: la Movida. "El nombre de una estrella" is a book composed like an anthology of her work. We find here an aesthetic of the photography totally rooted in the period of Spanish history. When Ouka Leele works in colour, this latter becoming central, it overlaps the subject.

Still life (1994)


Photobolsillo Ouka Leele

Ouka Leele starts with collective archetypes and reflects in hundreds of photographs a subterranean world that she brings to light by fixing time and the instant, therefore magically crystallising what is undeniably human, without ever surrending conflict or emotional drive. This supremacy of human essentially allows her work to be a perfect illustration for any mass-produced graphic element, from posters to novels.

Publisher: La Fabrica (2009)
108 pages
Size: 13 / 18


Con motivo del Premio Nacional de Fotografía otorgado a Ouka Leele, el Ministerio de Cultura celebra una exposición antológica de su obra inédita. Esta artista madrileña, protagonista de La Movida en los años ochenta, obtiene un justo reconocimiento en esta muestra que hace un recorrido sentimental y artístico, pleno de vivencias y humanidad, a la manera de una Comedia humana en imágenes.

El catálogo que les presentamos ofrece la oportunidad de conocer la obra fotográfica menos conocida de esta artista. Un recorrido artístico y sentimental, presentado en 67 obras de mediano y gran formato, refleja el dominio técnico y la constante creatividad desde sus primeras fotografías, en blanco y negro, hasta las imágenes digitales realizadas con el móvil o retocadas en Photoshop. También se ha incluido una de las obras que la hizo famosa por su estilo y técnica: la fotografía pintada.

Compañera de generación de Alberto García Alix, Javier Mariscal, Pedro Almodóvar o Ceesepe, Bárbara Allende, su verdadero nombre, es una de los principales exponentes de la Movida madrileña, y en esta edición se puede apreciar claramente la evolución de su obra desde sus inicios a finales de los setenta hasta la actualidad. Carlos Serrano, compañero de los primeros ochenta en Madrid, se ha encargado de la cuidada edición del catálogo.
Text by: Calvo Serraller & Francesico

Publisher: Tf Editores (2008)
192 pages
Size: 29cm
ISBN :8492441542   

Ouka Leele, El nombre de una estrella

Ouka Leele. El nombre de una estrella es un libro-objeto de gran calidad, donde el lector puede pasear por la obra de la fotógrafa madrileña, y al mismo tiempo disfrutar de las reflexiones y notas autobiográficas (en edición bilingüe español/inglés) de la artista.

Materializar esta Antología es guardar tributo a una manera de entender la vida creativa, y desde ahí el resto de posibilidades vitales que se la abren al espectador, si es libre, de entender su vida como creación misma. No es baladí el relato vital de Ouka Leele; en él observaremos la percepción del arte a la que hacemos referencia. Además, en sus cuadernos de trabajo que se hacen públicos por vez primera, encontraremos las claves para comprender algunas de sus obras en concreto y su gesto artístico en mayor libertad.

Publisher: Ellago (2007)
192 pages
Size: 30x30 cm

Pulpo's Boulevard

Ouka Leele no es solamente fotografia. Podriamos decir que es una artista 'integral': abarca todos los ambitos de la creacion, utiliza gran variedad de medios y de soportes y defiende la total libertad tematica y tecnica en la expresion artistica.
Text by: Barabara Allende, Jaime Brihuega Sierra, Monica Carabias Alvaro, Concha Lomba Serrano

Publisher: La suma de todos (2006)
249 pages
ISBN :84-451-2896-5   

En Blanco y Negro

Una vez se dijo, con poco acierto, que Ouka Leele era muda. Nada de eso. Sus fotografias, como todas las fotografias analogicas y todas las peliculas anteriores al Cantante de Jazz, no emiten sonidos propios pero, a veces, no susurran algo que solo desde el interior del espiritu nos atrevemos a escuchar.
Carlos Villasante
Text by: Carlos Villasante

Publisher: Photostudio Alocorn (2003)

Ouka Lele

Ouka Lele is a painter. A figurative painter, in opposition to so many artists that use photography to find a place for themselves in the history of painting and therefore practice a contemporary form of pictorialism.
Christian Caujolle
Text by: Christian Caujolle

Publisher: Obra social Caja Madrid / Taller de Arte (1997)
149 pages
ISBN :84-88458-62-2   

Ouka lele pour Philippe Model

Catalogue de l'exposition.
Text by: Marie-Claude Beaud, Christian Caujolle, Hervé Chandès

Publisher: Fondation Cartier (1988)


    2005 - Urban community of Madrid Award

    2005 - National Award of the photography of spanish culture ministry


La Movida - A chronicle of turmoil, 1978-1988 (Arles)
From 2019-07-01 to 2019-09-22

This exhibition brings together the work of four photographers from La Movida, one of the most remarkable and spontaneous movements to arise out of contemporary culture in Spain. It took place in Madrid, mainly, at the beginning of the 1980s. After several decades of dictatorship and ostracism, Spain’s transition involved a new generation fascinated by modernity and new ideas, which arrived via artists in diverse domains: music, fashion, cinema, painting, and photography. La Movida was a highly publicized phenomenon from the beginning, one that established a myth. Perhaps the allure of...

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Peluqueria (Houlgate)
From 2019-06-07 to 2019-08-31

Within the scope of the Houlgate Photo Festival, open the doors of photographer Ouka Leele’s very special hairstyling salon. Colorful and exuberant portraits are displayed. They “underline a desire for provocation, for transforming the world, for accepting a kind of bad taste to conventions, which is characteristic of movida vital excesses from a youth asserting their need for freedom (…)” (Christian Caujolle, “Ouka Leele”, Obra Social – Cajo de Madrid, 1997). Photo : © Ouka Leele / VU\'

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Ma couleur révélée (Vendôme)
From 2018-06-22 to 2018-09-02

She wanted to be a painter. But she saw in photography another way to wonder about figuration. Then, at the death of Franco, in a very particular moment in the history of Spain, she invented a perfectly original modality of the image. \"She integrated, in a natural way, into the \"movida\" that upset her country, as a friend of the filmmaker Almodovar or the graphic designer Ceseepe whose portraits she directed. She has developed a unique work, terribly contemporary, radically playful, which imposes her universe and her visions with a very personal approach to seduction, between...

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Poesia del retrato - Mi circo (Madrid)
From 2011-07-08 to 2011-07-30

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Inédita (Madrid)
From 2008-04-09 to 2008-06-08

Con motivo del Premio Nacional de Fotografía otorgado a Ouka Leele, el Ministerio de Cultura celebra una exposición antológica de su obra inédita. Esta artista madrileña, protagonista de La Movida en los años 80, obtiene un justo reconocimiento en esta muestra que hace un recorrido sentimental y arttico, pleno de vivencias y humanidad, a la manera de una Comedia humana en imágenes.Ya en 1987, Bárbara Allende Gil de Biedma, su verdadero nombre, presentó su obra en el Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo. Curiosamente, aquella sede la ocupa hoy el Museo del Traje que, veinte años después, acoge...

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