Categories such as collective, attitude, movement and even network are of questionable value when defining Fluxus, the identity of which has been the subject of debate since its first public appearance at the Festival of Wiesbaden fifty years ago. The uncertainty has led to numerous contemporary art practices, such as relational and collaborative art, being traced back to Fluxus, although not much attention is paid to Fluxus in the more orthodox and habitual genealogies of contemporary art (minimalism, conceptual art and pop art).
The inauguration of the Documentation Centre and Library's new exhibition area will feature an exhibition of some of the pieces of experimental art created – outside of official cultural channels – in the mid sixties. These works of art represent a renovation of poetic language and a transgression of established limits. The frontiers between genres become blurred and poets decide to apply their avant-garde spirit to painting, music and theatre.
This exhibition features a selection of magazines acquired on the occasion of the exhibition A Hard, Merciless Light. The Worker-Photography Movement, 1926-1939. The magazines show the link between documentary expression and working-class consciousness, exploring the importance of images in the founding of a new political and social ideal and suggesting that the struggle for power begins with the struggle for representation.
The exhibition Galería Cadaqués (1973-1997) is part of the series of exhibitions dedicated to historical art galleries -the last one was dedicated to showing the Archivo de la Galería Juana Mordó in 2001- and is organised by the Documentation Centre of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. The Cadaqués gallery was founded in 1973 by architect Lanfranco Bombelli and specialised in graphic work. For its foundation, Bombelli used his close relationship with artists linked to Concrete Art, especially Max Bill, whom he knew from his student years in Zurich and with whom he had worked as an architect.
Nikolái Vasílievich Ilín (Nizhni Nòvgorod, Russia, 1894 - Moscow, 1954) is a pioneer of graphic art in Russia. His contribution to the field of editorial design is virtually unknown beyond Russia's borders. In his native country he enjoyed popularity and prestige in his later years, where he held the post of artistic director at the State Publishing House of Literature in the Soviet Union. However, his early achievements, very directly related to the avant-garde, have not been sufficiently recognised. This exhibition at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía shows a selection of his work from his childhood drawings made in 1909 to the designs produced in important editions during his Moscovite stage of the Thirties.
The book, used to disseminate written knowledge, broadens its use as a format and develops variations as it becomes an object of art. Therefore, there are differences between the livre d’artiste andartist's book - the first contains etchings, lithographs, screen prints and xylographs engraved by hand, and is published in limited, numbered editions that are intended for collectors. One of the earliest examples is Pierre Bonnard's Parallèlement (1900), containing poems by Paul Verlaine. However, the artist's book is developed later; the artist that devises it is interested in the book as a format and its access to a wider public with large print runs at a low cost. Twenty-six Gasoline Stations (1962) by Ed Ruscha is is one of the first examples of this genre.
This exhibition makes visible the historical documentation that keeps the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía on the Spanish gallery scene. Like previous exhibitions on the Galería Multitud and the Galería Sur this documentary exhibition is held in the Museum Library in one of the most important Spanish galleries of all time: the Galería Juana Mordó.
Berlin magazine Der Sturm. Wochenschrift für Kultur und die Künste (Storm. Weekly magazine of culture and art) was one of Germany’s flagship publications from the early twentieth century. Its pages helped with the emergence of Expressionism and became a means of spreading the work of a number of artists and writers who became widely recognised in the following decades.
This exhibition retrieves the enormous work by Ricardo Gutiérrez Abascal (Bilbao, 1883-Mexico, 1963), better known by the pseudonym of Juan de la Encina, in his dual role as art critic and promoter of New Art in Spain and director of the Museum of Modern Art during the Second Republic, between 1931 and 1936.
Los Encuentros de Pamplona (The Pamplona Meetings) (June 26-July 3, 1972) were the turning point in a national artistic evolution in the last years of the Franco dictatorship, in addition to noting a symbolic end to the predominance of informalist painting and abstraction, accepted and used by official cultural policy. The meetings came about from private initiative to support contemporary music creations, sponsored by the Huarte family. From the organisation of a musical event by the Alea Group (Luis de Pablo and José Luis Alexanco), the project quickly grows into an international festival where the new artistic, poetic and cinematographic forms accommodate themselves. The fact that it should be the artists themselves who create and design is insisted upon.
The writer and philosopher Eugenio d'Ors (Barcelona, 1882 - Vilanova i la Geltrú, 1954) is one of the key figures of art criticism in Spain. He is the creator of the Noucentisme concept, which includes a large group of Catalan artists who are Renaixença (Renaissance) heirs. d'Ors has a wealth of literary, critical and historiographical production. His early writings, published in 1899, are followed by the book La muerte de Isidro Nonell (1905), which marks the beginning of a fruitful career and establishes him as an indispensable reference for Spanish intellectuals in the first half of the twentieth century.
Creative, literary and artistic magazines that arose during the Spanish crisis in 1898 and at the start of the Civil War are the core theme of this exhibition that recognises their crucial role in the development of Spanish art history. They are magazines that serve as platforms from which artistic renewal springs and are the stage for the birth of modern Spanish criticism.
On July 8, 1952 the library and art gallery Sur opens its doors in Santander. From then and for the following four decades the gallery owner Manuel Arce runs one of the most prestigious contemporary Spanish art galleries. Sur exceeds its peripheral geographical position and manages to be not only a pioneer in its exhibitions, but also respected for its consistency and ability to evolve and adapt to the new directions taken by the creative context.
José Luis Fernández del Amo (Madrid, 1914 - 1995) was the first director of the new Museo de Arte Contemporáneo between 1952 and 1958, a time that represents a significant change in the definition of modern and contemporary aspects of Spanish society and culture. Now he is the focus of the second documentary exhibition series entitled Plataformas de las vanguardias en España (Avant-garde Platforms in Spain), organised by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
This exhibition makes up part of the season Plataformas de la Vanguardia en España (Avant-garde Platforms in Spain), organised by the Centro de Documentación of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, with the aim of re-examining galleries and the most salient names in the study and dissemination of contemporary Spanish art. On this occasion, a large number of documents (photographs, journals, catalogues, etc.) have been brought together to facilitate the reconstruction of the undertakings of the Madrid gallery Multitud (1974-1978) and the exhibitions it housed.
Despite the history of Surrealism being written in French, Spain's role in the movement is significant. Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, Óscar Domínguez, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso are some of the most representative artists from the Spanish side. Even though a large part of their work is produced outside of Spain, the nationality of the group is key to causing the active reception of the movement inside Spain and the development of a particular set of characteristics.
Under the stage name "Gecé" Ernesto Giménez Caballero (Madrid, 1899-1988), intellectually multifaceted and a key figure in the Madrid avant-garde scene during the Twenties and Thirties, he is also the author of a collection of over sixty literary posters, produced between 1925 and 1927. They all display his poetic, artistic and critical heritage which recognises the visual poetry imprint of Guillaume Apollinaire’s calligrammes; the transformation of the page into a scene of a collage of heterogeneous images in the same futuristic style as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s parole in libertà, and as noted by Martí Peran - curator of the exhibition - the synthesis (and play) between the textual records (verbal) and visual as proposed by Francis Picabia throughout the pages of 391.
This exhibition on Joaquin Torres-García (Montevideo, 1874-1949) highlights his "archetype of the avant-garde" character, as expressed by Miguel Logroño - curator of the exhibition along with Ángeles Dueñas - it is a recognisable quality that exists in every art project he establishes, directs and participates in throughout his career.
Spain is key to the development of Surrealism. Although the movement stands out for its artistic expression, there is also an extensive body of literary work. Surrealism is prolific in its manifestos, pamphlets and proclamations from the time André Breton publishes The First Surrealist Manifesto in 1924. In the exhibition, this particular text can be read in Spanish via the translation by Fernando Vela, a collaborator of José Ortega y Gasset, published in Revista de Occidente.
Since the beginning of the Nineties the Centro de Documentación (Documentation Centre) and Biblioteca (Library) of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía has been carrying out a series of documentary-style exhibitions inside a small exhibition space.