Pepe Espaliú (Cordoba, 1955 - Madrid, 1993) is one of the leading artists of the Spanish generation of the Eighties. Painter, sculptor, illustrator and writer, he develops a coherent and meaningful work very closely associated to his reflections on his own identity. His work is thanks to one of the most profound conceptualisations of living with AIDS, which caused his death and which he boldly accepted on an artistic level and where he produced some of his most important works.
The painter Jorge Oramas (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1911 - Tafira, 1935) is an example of artist whose short life was an obstacle to continuing a promising work already noted for its innovation in its infancy. In 2001 the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía exhibited Alfonso Ponce de León’s work, also a painter and whose untimely death cut short the development of his interesting work. Despite the differences -not only biographical, but also stylistic- the paintings of these artists deserves to be firmly placed in the Spanish art scene in the early decades of the twentieth century.
The sisters Claudia Müller (Basel, Switzerland, 1964) and Julia Müller (Basel, Switzerland, 1965) turn adolescent ideals into the main theme and debate of their works. Identity issues and questions about love and personal relationships in youth are made manifest from cultural criticism.
The career of artist Olafur Eliasson (Copenhagen, 1967) is one of the most consolidated in today's artistic panorama. Despite his age, the Danish artist realises projects for the most important museums in the world and his work is exhibited in numerous countries. His productions incorporate scientific principles to create certain effects that encompass natural elements such as light, water, ice and lava. Eliasson has a penchant for landscape and the environment, architecture and utopian philosophies; therefore, he frequently creates sculptures and installations, some large-scale, that are located in public spaces.
Swiss art finds kudos between the Thirties and Forties as numerous artists from various disciplines come together under one common denominator - “the integration of the arts” - conceptualised by the previous experience of the German Bauhaus. The Constructivist motto, “Art should shape and organise daily life, not decorate it”, gives rise to a mentality that is inspired by avant-garde movements and which acquires strong experimental components. Thus movements emerge that go down in history within diverse fields, for instance Concrete Art, Objective Photography and New Typography as well as functional architecture and furniture, all present in this extensive exhibition.
Guillermo Kuitca (Buenos Aires, 1961) is one of the most internationally renowned, contemporary Argentine artists. When he was only thirteen years old he held his first solo exhibition at the Lirolay Gallery in Buenos Aires, although his artistic maturity begins in the Eighties.
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.
Fernando Zóbel (Manilla, 1924 - Rome, 1984) is a key figure in Spanish Art in the second half of the 20th century. Zóbel does not only stand out for his contribution to pictorial Abstraction, but also for his interest and patronage, which leads him to begin a collection that includes names such as Gerardo Rueda, Gustavo Torner, Luis Feito, Eusebio Sempere, Antonio Saura, Manuel Millares, Martín Chirino and José Guerrero. In 1966, this collection gives rise to the Museum of Abstract Spanish Art in Cuenca, a reference point for Spanish Abstraction in the Fifties and Sixties.
Susana Solano (Barcelona, 1946) is one of the protagonists of the new Spanish sculpture who gained international acclaim during the late eighties and early nineties together with names like Juan Muñoz, Cristina Iglesias and Jaume Plensa. The coherence and interest in her work began to be appreciated after her exhibition at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona in 1980, an exhibition that marks the beginning of a career that leads her to participate during the Eighties in artistic events on the world stage, such as the Documenta in Kassel or the São Paulo and Venice Biennial. In 1988 she was awarded the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas and four years later the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía exhibits her work at the Palacio de Velázquez.
With the exhibition Romantic landscapes with missing elements, Nedko Solakov (Cherven Briag, Bulgaria, 1957) carries out an idea which demonstrates the relativity of the binomial "representation and truth" leaning on art history to do so. In this way, he uses art history to draw examples that the public may be largely familiar with and which allow him to unfold the ironies associated with the narrative of the pieces. The twelve paintings that make up this exhibition, all the same size, take as a starting point and maximum reference German romantic paintings from the first decades of the nineteenth century, specifically the work and the pictorial and compositional elements from Caspar David Friedrich (1774 - 1840).
La Spagna dipinge il Novecento (Spain Paints the 20th Century) is the title chosen for this exhibition, which contemplates the existence of an artistic panorama that contributes significantly to Art History, despite certain historical vicissitudes. It comprises sixty works by forty-two artists from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Collection and gives an overview, via key works, of the events in 20th century art in Spain. Furthermore, the exhibit unfolds in chronological order, beginning with a first section articulated by Pablo Picasso, one of the most universal Spanish artists.
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.
This retrospective exhibition of Ramón Gaya (Huerto del Conde, 1910 - Valencia, 2005) takes place at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía on the occasion of the awarding of I Premio Velázquez 2002 to this painter and writer. Like other Spanish artists honoured by the Museo Reina Sofia -Jacinto Salvadó or Cristino de Vera- Gaya's work has transcended over the years thanks to the recovery of its historical importance that was not initially valued as much as it should have been.
The artist, dancer and choreographer La Ribot (María José Ribot) (Madrid, 1966) was honoured in 2000 with the Premio Nacional de Danza (National Dance Prize), in recognition of a career that included dance, performing arts and visual arts. Her best known work is the Series Distinguidas (1993-2003), a collection of short pieces created as a reflection on the body and from the body.
Albert Ràfols Casamada (Barcelona, 1923-2009) is one of the central figures of Spanish lyrical abstraction. Son of the painter Albert Ràfols, he starts drawing at a young age. He comes into contact with the developments of Noucentisme, the Catalan art revival movement, and with the first avant-gardes, especially with the work of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Joan Miró through various publications and trains himself in poetry, beginning with the poets from the Generación del 27.