Throughout his career as a sculptor, Jaume Plensa (Barcelona, 1955) has drawn on spirituality, the body and collective memory as the primary sources which tie together his visual artwork. Literature, psychology, biology, language and history become strategic tools in the creation of his work, and, through a broad spectrum of materials — steel, cast iron, resin, glass, water, sound — Plensa lends weight and physical volume to the components of the human condition and the ephemeral.
Founded in Paris in 1984 by Colombian theatre and visual artists Heidi, Elizabeth and Rolf Abderhalden, Mapa Teatro moved to Bogotá in 1986. Since its inception, this artists’ laboratory has developed its own cartography in the sphere of “living arts”, in a space which is conducive to transgressing borders — geographical, linguistic, artistic — and to staging local and global concerns by way of different devices and formats.
Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012) is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most important and multifaceted women artists, an association, however, which she spurned: “Women artists. There is no such thing — or person. It’s just as much a contradiction in terms as ‘man artist’ or ‘elephant artist’. You may be a woman and you may be an artist; but the one is a given and the other is you”.
The Map and the Territory is the first major Luigi Ghirri retrospective to go on show outside the artist’s native Italy. The focus of the exhibition rests on the 1970s, a key period in the expansion of the suburbs and the service economy, the emergence of conceptual art and the mainstreaming of Pop and its strategies of appropriation.
In the context of the MA in Contemporary Art History and Visual Culture organised by the Museo Reina Sofia Study Centre in conjunction with the universities Autonomous (UAM) and Complutense (UCM) of Madrid, the Library and Documentation Centre's Espacio D presents Lost Modernities. Bauhaus and Spain, an academic exercise and exhibition arranged by a group of students from the MA's Art Theory and Critique itinerary.
The collective of photographers which operated under the name AFAL Group hailed from the publication AFAL, a magazine specialised in film and photography, published over a six-year period, from 1956 to 1963, and coordinated from Almería by José María Artero García (Almería, 1928–1991) and Carlos Pérez Siquier (Almería, 1930).
This exhibition explores Russian avant-garde art through the perspective of the Anti-art canons associated with the international Dada movement. The anti-academic work of Kazimir Malevich to eclipse classical art and the transrational language experiments (zaum) of Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksei Kruchenykh are just some of the early contributions which substantiate the reasoning behind this show.
The Portuguese-born Brazilian artist Artur Barrio (Porto, 1945), winner of the Velázquez Prize for Plastic Arts in 2011, has been one the foremost figures of Action Art and conceptualisms in Latin America since he burst on to the Brazilian art scene in the late 1960s, at a time fraught with political tension and mounting repression under the military dictatorship. Interventions in public spaces and the search for a place of expression outside art institutions converge in this artist as a symbol of resistance to poeticise daily life, with the body of the artist the focal point of these actions in a critique of social coercion.
The sculptures and installations of Nairy Baghramian revise inherited forms and concepts as they address notions such as functionality, abstraction and feminism. With a clear reference to Art History and modern architecture, notably Minimalism and Surrealism, the artist calls into question the strain that exists between aspects such as function and ornament, industry and craft, among others. Her sculptures, made of steel, resin, silicone, and leather, often assume organic forms where visible protuberances and recesses in human physiology and subjectivity, as well as interior design and decorative objects, resound.
The photography of Marc Pataut (Paris, 1952) is structured around the formulation of research projects which address those political and human issues which often stand outside art institutions’ parameters.
The work of Beatriz González (Bucaramanga, 1938), widely regarded as one of the seminal artists from the Colombian art scene, occupies a unique place in the history of Latin American art — not only is she a pioneer of Pop Art, but also, almost without calculation, an incisive and coherent chronicler of recent Colombian history.
The exhibition Comics Revisited highlights the crossings of the comics genre and the visual arts. Born at the end of the nineteenth century after many historic precursors, it underwent various mutations with respect to its forms and publics. When Stéphane Mallarmé wrote that ‘everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book’, today it seems that everything, from the Bible to the most iconic literary masterpiece, ends up in a comic.
The exhibition Pessoa. All Art Is a Form of Literature takes its title from a quote by Álvaro de Campos, one of the most avant-garde heteronyms created by Fernando Pessoa (Lisbon, 1888–1935), and published in the influential Portuguese magazine presença.
Upon finishing his degree in Politics and African Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, William Kentridge (Johannesburg, 1955) moved to Paris for a year to study theatre and mime.
Esther Ferrer (San Sebastián, 1937), a pioneer and one of the foremost representatives of performance art in Spain, began participating in the activities of the Zaj group — with Walter Marchetti, Ramon Barce and Juan Hidalgo — in 1967.
George Herriman (New Orleans, 1880 – Los Angeles, 1944), regarded as one of the foremost American cartoonists, was part of a generation of pioneering artists who developed their work in the newspapers that started to feature comic strips at the turn of the twentieth century. Herriman’s work was hugely influential among a broad array of artists, including Willem de Kooning and Öyvind Fahlström, as well as intellectuals and writers such as E. E. Cummings, T. S. Eliot and Jack Kerouac
The work of Doris Salcedo (Bogotá, 1958) is deeply rooted in the social and political circumstances of her native Colombia, although she does occasionally address problems in other contexts — a case in point being the project she has devised for the Palacio de Cristal.
September 27– November 27, 2017 and December 20, 2017 – March 5, 2018
According to a commonly repeated story, a German officer asked Pablo Picasso, pointing to a photograph of his Guernica, “Did you do that?” Picasso is said to have replied, “No, you did.” The exhibition Violence in War and Peace is about this “you,” the inhumanity done to men by men that seemingly cannot be cured, not even after the terrible experiences of the most barbaric disasters of the last decades.
In recent years, David Bestué (Barcelona, 1980) has realised a series of sculpture projects which critically review certain historical events and aesthetic/formal developments characterising last century’s avant-garde movements in the fields of art, architecture and literature.
The present exhibition is the first retrospective in Spain on the artist group NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst) [New Slovenian Art], which spearheaded one of the most important experiences in the culture that materialised in 1980s Yugoslavia, during the Cold War.
In the context of the Master’s Degree Course in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture taught at the Study Centre of the Museo Reina Sofía, Space D of the Museum’s Documentation Centre now presents Vis à vis: Quico Rivas, Archive and Prison, an academic exercise in exhibition design carried out by the group of students currently following the criticism itinerary on the Master’s course.
Throughout the 1960s, and across only twelve years, Lee Lozano (Newark, 1930–1999) developed a radically provocative body of work, actuated by the staunch questioning of each and every socially imposed structure. Her career unfolded alongside the emerging civil rights and anti-war movement and the protest, free and pacifist spirit that sprang up through the political landscape and aesthetics in America during that period.
Mário Pedrosa (Pernambuco, 1900 - Río de Janeiro, 1981) was one of the foremost 20th-century Brazilian and Latin American thinkers. A critic, politician and sociologist, Pedrosa embodied the paradigm of the public intellectual committed to the debate over the future of society, both politically and culturally, and was a spokesperson in the forming of Brazil’s modern culture.
Katarzyna Kobro (Moscow, 1898 - Lodz, 1951) and Władysław Strzemiński (Minsk, 1893 - Lodz, 1952) are two key figures from the Central European avant-garde, the creators of original artistic concepts in the fields of sculpture and painting, respectively, which at once radicalised and breached the premises of modernity.
Through the production of participatory objects, fabric sculptures and his own body, Franz Erhard Walther (Fulda, Germany, 1939) expands the definition of art and its relationship to viewers. For the artist, art bears an immaterial and performative character, manifested in the spectator’s individual, physical and mental commitment when he or she comes before artworks.
The exhibition Pity and Terror in Picasso, opening at the Museo Reina Sofía in April 2017, 80 years after Guernica’s first showing, will have the great mural at its heart. It will look again at Picasso’s depiction of modern warfare – war from the air, death from a distance, aimed at the destruction of whole populations – and the special kinds of agony, bewilderment, and terror such warfare brings with it.
Bruce Conner (1933, McPherson, Kansas - 2008, San Francisco) is one of the most pre-eminent American artists from the second half of the twentieth century. This exhibition, the first to present his work in Spain, brings together more than 250 works which span his fifty-year career.
This exhibition is the first monographic show on the activity of the Art et Liberté Group, a collective of artists working out of Cairo during World War Two. The exhibition comprises a selection of around one hundred pictorial works and a range of photographic and documentary materials.
The line is the primary formulation in the imaginary of Anne-Marie Schneider (Chauny, France, 1962), in which autobiographical activity also has a strong presence. The line refers to gestural writing and gives shape to the enigmatic world of personages whose bodies are often taken apart and fitted back together in fragments, prolonged in domestic space and projected on to the landscape.
The ship is going under, the ice is breaking through
Lothar Baumgarten has opened up new possibilities of artistic expression and reflection through an oeuvre that questions Western systems of thought and representation as well as the ways our perception of and relation to other cultures are constructed.
This presentation of holdings from the Museo Reina Sofía Collection, largely made up of recent acquisitions, approaches the languages and artistic practices that defined the period between the end of the 1990s and 2007 – both in Spain and internationally - by way of a series of shared questions that heralded the start of the century and run up to the present time.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museo Reina Sofía have organised one of the most comprehensive retrospectives devoted to Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers (1924–1976). His remarkable output in the 1960s and 1970s established him as one of the most important artists on the international scene, and one of the most influential for numerous contemporary artists from that time to the present day.
Tamar Guimarães (Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 1967) presents a project, designed specifically for the Fisuras (Fissures) programme, in the Museo Reina Sofía. The artist’s work spans the fields of installation, film and sound.
The retrospective by Basque artist Txomin Badiola (Bilbao, 1957), housed in the Palacio de Velázquez, presents a broad selection of his output – photographic works, drawings, sculptures and multimedia installations – spanning from the 1980s to the present day.
I Am Also not a Book is the title of the last part of a trilogy of exhibitions which includes It is not new, it is a book (from September, 2014 to May, 2015) and I call them simply books (from May to October, 2015). On this occasion, the title refers to the 1973 work by John M. Belis, I Am Also not a Book, which consists of a card with the sentence “Attach this card to any book-type object and it will become a genuine John M. Belis,” and which can indeed be affixed to any book-shaped object.
Damián Ortega (Mexico City, 1967) started out as a newspaper cartoonist in the 1980s, approaching the political scene with acerbic wit. His artistic concerns shifted when he joined the Taller de los Viernes (Friday Workshop) in Tlalpan (active from 1987 to 1992), a self-styled school and the place where he would come into contact with a creative community that was both diverse and an alternative to the dominant reactionary muralism in Mexico at the time. It was in this milieu that he realised his first sculptures, continuing the ironic tone from his previous profession.
The exhibition Campo Cerrado takes its name from the homonymous novel by Max Aub and looks to examine Spanish art in the complex and controversial 1940s, a decade that has received little attention and one that exists in a critical and historiographical vacuum, despite its importance in structuring modern sensibility in Spain.
The work of Erlea Maneros Zabala (Bilbao, 1977) analyses the conditions and effects of image production, addressing the contexts generated and the modes of distribution. The issues raised by her work can be found in the academisation of languages of abstraction, the notion of authorship and the relationships established between handicrafts and mass production through the use of mechanical resources in production processes.
This exhibition brings together an extensive selection of materials from the C.A.D.A. Archive and Work, recently acquired by the Museum on the basis of the dialogue with the artists who conserve the original material, Lotty Rosenfeld and Diamela Eltit, and the researches of the Red de Conceptualismos del Sur, besides other complementary materials.
The retrospective on Cuban painter Wifredo Lam (Sagua La Grande, 1902 – Paris, 1982), organised by the Centre Pompidou, Museo Reina Sofía and Tate Modern, acknowledges the common desire to consider modernity in all its complexity and endeavours to redefine Lam’s work inside a history of international art in which he stands as a key figure.