The retrospective exhibition dedicated to Gustavo Torner (Cuenca, 1925) aims to highlight the multifaceted character of one of the most outstanding Spanish artists living in the second half of the twentieth century. Torner joins the group called Cuenca, which emerges in the fifties and is close to artists from the group El Paso, he exemplifies the possibility of an art that will never abandon references to the real world as a reason and rationale, from a seemingly abstract visual vocabulary. The compiled works include the various registers and techniques used by Torner: painting, sculpture, collage, drawing, monotypes and bibliophile collections, added to which are fourteen video projections over some of his work.
The exhibition of sculptural works by Martín Chirino (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1925) provides an overview of a career that began in the fifties and reaches today; it proposes a dual recognition of the Chirino persona. On one hand, as heir to the Spanish sculptural avant-garde of the first half of the twentieth century, following that initiated by Julio González and Pablo Gargallo, in addition to his particular interest in the Canarian Aboriginal culture (Guanche). On the other, for his outstanding role in the renewal of artistic languages used post-war, through his participation in the group El Paso, of which he was a founding member, in 1957. This group marked the emergence of an art rooted in Spanish tradition, while at the same time critical of the social and political situation; this also led to the internationalisation of the authors and their works.
The exhibition devoted to the graphic work of writer and painter Pierre Klossowski (Paris, 1905-2001) presents a selection of drawings made between 1953 and 1990 to the Spanish public. These chronological boundaries frame a unique production on the European scene and among his contemporaries.
The exhibition dedicated to Gilles Aillaud (Paris, 1928-2005) consists of nearly fifty paintings which allow for a complete view into the work of one of the leading representatives of the pictorial trend called critical figuration that emerged in Paris around 1963. For the exhibition's curator, Christian Derouet, his style of painting is one that wants to "find a proper expression of what is real again, without nostalgia for the past." The two principles upon which he bases his work and his aesthetic discourse are the recovery of real painting, to which he confers a transitive value (that is to say, the painting has to be something), and the radical denial of neo-avant-garde rhetoric of modernity. Although Aillaud decides to devote himself to painting late in life, in around 1963, he never abandons his other occupations: playwriting and set design. In this regard, it is important to note the personal, artistic and professional links he maintains with Eduardo Arroyo and Antonio Recalcati, with whom he worked several times in the staging of various texts signed by him.
In this exhibition at the Crystal Palace, Nacho Criado (Mengíbar, 1943 - Madrid, 2010) submitted eight new projects under the theme Pieces of water and glass, where the pieces merge with the materiality of architecture and the enclave of the building, in front of a small lake in Retiro Park. In this way, glass is the common element in all the presented pieces, which he emphasises as visual antimatter (in the Duchampesque sense of the term) and in which he also explores their sensual, symbolic and especially metaphorical loads. The pieces that make up the exhibition have been chosen especially for the exhibition but - as indicated by the exhibition curator, Simon Marchan- it must be noted that there are certain recurrences in them "as they reflect a dilated time, almost untimely, to creations that reject nomadism and ooze manifestations of the present." In that way, within an artistic career influenced by his forays into Land Art, Conceptual Art, Arte Povera and even the Minimal, without categorically ascribing to any of them, Nacho Criado uses glass to set up games of transparency and reflection, and for this he also alludes to and envokes, explicitly or implicitly, water.
The exhibition devoted to Joan Brossa (Barcelona, 1919-1998) offers the possibility to see the work of a Spanish artist whose proposals have prominently affected the development of the visual arts in the second half of the twentieth century, from fields of experience different to conventional art and ideas close to poetic practice and objectual art. For this exhibition over a hundred works have been collected, they have been made along a journey that began fifty years ago and have been signalled by the active role of Brossa in the Catalan avant-garde, post-war, with his participation in the group Dau al Set, along with Antoni Tàpies, Joan Ponç and Arnau Puig. Worth noting is the homogeneity of his work over the years and his recognition by the new generation of artists in the eighties.
The exhibition offers a journey through the ten-year career path of Anish Kapoor (Bombay, 1954), from his early work where he begins to formulate his own language, until he achieves his own sculptural grammar, based on the contamination of issues from the field of painting and the psychology of perception. The limits of this exhibition are placed between the piece 1000 Names (1979-1980) and a selection of thirty-one other pieces with which he represented England in the 44th Venice Biennale (1990), this selection is similar to the one that can be seen at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
The retrospective exhibition of Markus Lüpertz (Liberec-Reichenberg, Czech Republic, 1941) traces the career of one of the greatest living German artists of recent decades. A representative of German Neo-Expressionism along with Georg Baselitz, A. R. Penck (Ralf Winkler) and Jörg Immendorff. Emerging in the early Sixties, Lüpertz and his generation conducted a special reformation of painting from the painting itself, in many cases making references back to the vanguards of the beginning of the century. Lüpertz’s intense and complex career is synthesised in the hundred and thirty-five pieces (paintings, drawings and sculptures) now brought together, and are organised into three chronological groups, although there are extensions to the reasons and resources in them.
The retrospective exhibition Francesc Torres. The Dragon's Head offers a tour of the twenty years that make up Francesc Torres’ career (Barcelona, 1948). The exhibition brings together works the majority of which have never been exhibited in Spain, composed of works produced primarily in the United States, except the Fifty Rains (1990-1991) project which was created expressly for this occasion.
The exhibition, Masterpieces from the Guggenheim collection. From Picasso to Pollock manages to combine two unusual events: bringing together over one hundred and twenty masterpieces from the history of art in the first half of the twentieth century and bringing out the personalities of the two major collectors, on whom the foundations of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York were made. Thus, this exhibition presents the history of art interwoven between works of art and the story of a collection made up mainly by the legacies of Solomon R. Guggenheim (Philadelphia, 1861-New York, 1949) and his niece Peggy Guggenheim (New York, 1898-Padua, Italy, 1979), to which other funds and acquisitions made over the history of the institution have been added.
Image in movement biennial ’90 exhibits a selection of works made between 1988 and 1990 whose common denominator is the use of video, film, television or computer, both as a support, and as a medium. The exhibition brings together a wide and varied set of works that are involved in some way with the term "image in movement" in its most extensive sense.
Organised into three main areas (drawing, painting and sculpture) related to Alberto Giacometti's productions (Borgonovo, Switzerland, 1901 - Chur, Switzerland, 1966), the Alberto Giacometti exhibition is the first retrospective exhibition of this artist in Spain. This exhibition was proposed in order to contextualise his work and highlight his attachments and positioning from events and names that mark his artistic and life career, which not only impacted on his work but also allowed him to move outside of the tightly defined limits in art. For this reason the reciprocity between his artistic biography and his work, among which includes literature (notes, writings on his work and dairies), is focused on. On the other hand, and in addition to the previous premise, the exhibition develops a line of reading material that seeks to highlight the idea of the artist’s trade present in Giacometti, where drawing as a fundamental means stands out.
The purpose of this retrospective exhibition is to contextualise Antoni Tàpies' (Barcelona, 1923-2012) vast productions of sculptures and objects throughout his career, insisting on the unity and insolubility of all his work. For this, all works have been collected that were produced between 1946 and 1990 and which have as a common denominator the assemblage (assembly) as a process and technique, something which serves to support the three objectives of the exhibition, in the words of Gloria Moure, curator of the exhibition: "It highlights the radical, the compactness and the contemporaneity of Tàpies' work."
In the context of critical readings from art history, Memory of the future. Italian art from early avant-garde to post-war shows the approach to the first sixty years of twentieth century Italian art, under the premise that its continual renewal is rooted in tradition. The exhibition does not consider memory and the future as interchangeable terms, comparable or opposed, but defends the idea that modern Italian art arises from their mutual contamination and friction. Thus, Memory of the future breaks the chronologically linear art history story and allows more recent artistic and cultural memories to play a more active role. In this feedback of Italian art, the art of the future is assumed to be a tradition which is yet to be completed.
This Antonio Saura (Huesca, 1930 - Cuenca, 1998) exhibition, organised by the Musée Rath and Museum of Art and History in Geneva, is held to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the presentation of Museo del Prado collections in Geneva in 1939.
This exhibition is one of the most extensive on Latin American art seen to date in Spain. At the Palacio de Velázquez over four hundred works have been displayed showcasing the artistic wealth in Latin American regions starting from the Wars of Independence against Spain (c. 1800-1821) until 1980.
La Asociación de Amigos del Reina Sofía was established in 1987 as the result of a group of entrepreneurs coming together to create a collection. The acquisitions of pieces is done as an individual initiative, but the character of the collection is public, it cooperates with institutions and is made available to as many citizens as possible.
Miquel Navarro (Mislata, 1945) is one of the predominant figures in what is known as “New Spanish Sculpture”. He begins his career in the Sixties with a pictorial style that he himself classifies as Expressionist and in 1974 he creates his first Ciudad (City), a collection of modular, repetitive and geometric forms grouped together in compositions that simulate urban networks and create cityscapes that are spatially positioned like a sculptural installation.
The Irish-born American painter Sean Scully (Dublin, 1945) starts to work with Abstraction at the beginning of the Seventies. He becomes interested in the humanisation of painting in opposition to formalist parameters; according to Scully his work can be summed up in the move “from the object line to the subject line”. The directions, represented by horizontal and vertical lines and the tensions they create, are at the heart of his production. This new geometrical approach, which moves away from the idea of purity and appropriates errors, reflects the troublesome relationship between the individual and the collective and opens up a new field of reflection, previously unknown to abstract painting.
The aesthetic approaches of the Equipo Crónica (Chronicle Team) (1964-1981) evoke the visual atmosphere of an era. The group materialises as one of the most coherent ideas from the figurative movement, which, at the beginning of the Sixties, attempts to leave informalist Spanish painting behind.
The Centro de Arte Reina Sofía has been chosen by Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bonemisza as the venue for displaying one of his latest acquisitions: the painting Mata Mua (Autrefois) by Paul Gauguin(Paris, 1848 - Atuona, French Polynesia 1903).
A selection of the best works from the Beyeler Collection is presented for the first time in public. The exhibition in the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía brings together previous exhibits devoted to private collections, for instance the Panza di Biumo, Nasher, Sonnabend and Phillips collections.
In this exhibition sixty-two works by Ferran García Sevilla (Palma de Mallorca, 1949) are presented under the title La torre de papel (The Tower of Paper). His artistic career gets underway in the Sixties with his initial work being linked to Conceptual Art; it later moves into the pictorial sphere at the beginning of the Eighties.
Ulrich Rückriem (Düsseldorf, Germany, 1938) begins working as a sculptor in the Sixties after an intensive education in a stonemasons workshop where he learns the profession and stone cutting techniques - filing, splitting, smoothing and polishing. His experience in this craft forms the base from which he begins to formulate his own sculptures.
Dada and Constructivism, two art movements characterised by having emerged at critical moments in history: World War I and the Russian Revolution. Nevertheless, despite these similarities, they have often been considered by historians as counter-posed given that the first focuses on intuitive thought and the transrational while Constructivism delves into objective beauty and pure forms.
The body of work by Philip Guston (Montreal, Canada, 1913 - New York, USA, 1980) is on display in Europe for the first time, although his later work was previously exhibited in Whitechapel in London. Following the initial waves of surrealist and metaphysical language, Guston becomes one of the preeminent figures of Abstract Expressionism in the Fifties.
This exhibition recaptures the artistic atmosphere of Berlin, considered one of the hubs of modern art during the first three decades of the century, between 1900 and 1933. The exhibition displays not only works produced in the city by Berlin artists, but also others that have appeared via other exhibitions or channels.
Richard Artschwager (Washington, 1923 - Albany, 2013) has dedicated his output to exploring the construction of meaning in works of art. By challenging conventional painting and sculpture, and operating outside stylistic classification, Artschwager's artistic output is primarily made up of: furniture sculptures made from wood and Formica as an imitation of wood as well as pictures painted on industrial material called celotex and sculptural forms painted or covered in rubber that he calls “blps”.
Disappointed by the reaction to his work and in an act that questions the mechanisms of access to contemporary art, in 1970 John Baldessari (National City, USA, 1931) burns his pictorial work, produced between 1953 and 1966, giving rise to the Cremation Project. From then on the American artist uses words and photography as his mediums of expression, considering them ideal for an easy and direct public reception.
Russia is the first country to begin importing works by Henri Matisse (Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France, 1869 - Nice, France, 1954). Following the significant success of his paintings at the Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1905, the works of the young artist begin to reach Russia, although the collector Sergei Ivanovich Shchukin - who also purchases works by Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin and other young avant-garde artists such as Pablo Picasso, André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck and Kees Van Dongen - becomes interested in Matisse's work even before his first exhibition is held in 1904 at the Parisian gallery Vollard.
Duncan Phillips, the grandson of a steel magnate and son of a businessman, shows an interest in art from an early age, which is encouraged by his family via a modest annual fund dedicated exclusively to acquiring works of art. The sudden death of his father and brother causes him to honour them by publicly exhibiting acquired works in one area of their mansion. Duncan Phillips acquires around three hundred paintings and adds them to the two dozen or so works already in his possession to open the Phillips Memorial Gallery in 1921, thus turning the collection into the first modern art museum in the USA.
The premature death of Werner Bischof (Zurich, Switzerland, 1916 - Trujillo, Peru, 1954), at the age of just thirty eight, after his jeep falls off a cliff with two other passengers in the Andes Mountains, cuts a promising career short that had already shown signs of great potential during its eighteen years of development.
Them symbolic and ceremonial nature of the medal means that it is the form chosen by the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre (The Royal Mint of Spain) to commemorate the bicentenary of Carlos III, whose reign was a particularly productive period for Spanish numismatics. Emblematic pieces minted in the Royal Mints around the Peninsula and overseas have been arriving; however, it is the field of medals that marks a more prominent period, as, in contrast to the rigidity of coins, medals embody the spirit of Illustration and reflect the creative freedom of engraving artists.
Rufino Tamayo (Oaxaca, Mexico, 1899 - Mexico City, 1991) is one of the preeminent figures in twentieth-century pictorial movements in Mexico. A tireless worker and incessant traveller, Tamayo's influences from a wide range of cultures is reflected in his paintings and makes them universal in the process. Furthermore, his artistic oeuvre also encompasses movements such as Impressionism, Cubism, Futurism and metaphysical painting.
Christian Boltanski (Paris, 1944) defines himself as a painter, though from 1967 onwards he stops working on purely pictorial material and instead focuses on creating varied technical pieces in which content plays a key role. In some ways he considers his pictorial strategy through other mediums, but still retains his fictional and figurative approach.
In 1919 the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar (State Bauhaus in Weimar) is established through the merge of the Weimar Academy of Fine Art and the Grand Ducal School of Arts and Crafts. It is founded by Walter Gropius, who applies his simultaneous experiences from the art schools and also has illustrious precedents such as the Deutscher Werkbund German association. In April 1919 its first manifesto is published, and the following year Bauhaus has more than one hundred and thirty pupils under its roof, equal in the number of men and women.
José María Sicilia (Madrid, 1954) is one of the most preeminent representatives of Spanish painting in the Eighties. He embarks upon his artistic career in the San Fernando Fine Arts School in Madrid and then subsequently moves to Paris, in 1980, where he meets two other equally important Spanish artists of the time, Miquel Barceló and Miguel Ángel Campano, along with José Manuel Broto and Ferrán García Sevilla.
The photography of Joel-Peter Witkin (New York, 1939) does not go by unnoticed since his core themes of sex, pain and death are explored with great intensity and sordidness. Teeming with pornographic nudity and references to Art History, for the artist his work is a medium through which he sees and re-enacts fantasies not found in everyday life.
Contemporary sculpture is characterised by a variety of unprecedented styles, themes and mediums. The Nasher Collection is one of the most representative and complete private sculpture collections in the twentieth century that faithfully reflects this diversity. The pieces, amassed by Raymond Nasher since the Sixties, are spread out in Dallas between his house and NorthPark, an office complex and shopping centre created by Nasher himself.
During the first half of the Seventies, a series of American artists develop a set of aesthetic approaches that aim to free art from its function of representation - associated with figurative tradition - as well as its ideological content. Thus, with the use of related volumes, materials and mediums that identify a work of art solely with itself, Minimalism is born.
When Marcel Odenbach (Cologne, Germany, 1953) begins to exhibit his work in West Germany in the Seventies the art scene is dominated by American art, apart from the work of a handful of artists such as Joseph Beuys. Yet the work of Odenbach is based on different principles and has more experimental leanings with its use performance and audiovisual materials.