To mark Antoni Gaudí’s (Reus, 1852 - Barcelona, 1926) 150th anniversary the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona are recreating in this extensive exhibition the universe of the central figure in Catalan Modernism and architect of international prestige. This exhibition is a journey through the influences, history, creative works and impact of Gaudí's work on a wide outlook built through more than four hundred works ranging from the early nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth century.
This exhibition compiles a selection of forty-six Spanish artists belonging to the Telefónica España Collection of Contemporary and Avant-garde Art, loaned to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in 1997. The artists present in the exhibit work with Abstraction from 1950 to 2000 and are linked to both Informalism and geometry. The El Paso, Parpalló and Pórtico groups, Basque sculptors, and “Spaniards in New York” predominate the development of quality abstraction that, by and large, is prevalent in second half of the 20th century in Spain.
Jacinto Salvado (Mont-Roig del Camp, 1892 - Le Castellet, 1983) is one of the Spanish painters who participated in the avant-garde movements attached to the School of Paris, however, his poor relationship with Spanish artists in the Parisian capital has caused an undeserved historiographical absence. The value of his work in the context of the trends of renewal among the European avant-garde has now been revised for this exhibition at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía exhibiting some of the most emblematic pieces of his career.
Jean Nouvel (Fumel, France, 1945) is one of the most renowned architects worldwide. He is the winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2008 which he shares with other contemporary experts in the field of architecture such as Canadian Frank Gehry, the Briton Norman Foster, the Spaniard Rafael Moneo, the Italian Renzo Piano and the Japanese Tadao Ando among many others. Nouvel began working for architects Claude Parent and Paul Virilio until he decided to start his own firm.
Cristino de Vera (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1931) began his career in Spain in the Fifties. He first exhibits his work at a group exhibition at the Xagra Gallery in Madrid in 1952, a solo exhibition does not come until 1957 when he exhibits his latest work in Sala Alfil.
Señores de la danza (Lords of the Dance) is a video installation adapted onto two screens for this exhibition. Two films are shown in a loop, and after a succession of images in the form of a prelude two characters appear wearing helmets, dressed only in a swimming costume and painted gold.
Edward Ruscha’s (Omaha, United States, 1937) work is an obligatory reference when addressing the art scene of the Sixties on the United States West Coast. Influenced by the aesthetics and intentions of Pop Art, Ruscha follows the path woven by artists such as Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. It was specifically the intention that was exhibited in their works -that they knew what they were going to paint before painting it- that made Ruscha interested in the work of these other artists.
Elliott Erwitt (Paris, 1928) is one of the great photographers belonging to the legendary Magnum agency founded by David Saymour, George Rodger, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa in 1947. His optimistic view on life and sense of humour reflected widely in his numerous productions distance him from the work of other photographers at the agency. His main objective is not to denounce social injustice, but it seems that Erwitt is more interested in revealing a paradoxical human nature through the contrast of situations and sarcasm.
Francisco Pérez Mateo (Barcelona, 1903 - Madrid, 1936) is the only sculptor, known until now, whose work you can attach to the new realism or the new objectivity and one of the few who develops a sporting-themed sculpture. These features together with the fact that most of his work is missing and that his artistic career was cut short by an early death, fighting at the Carabanchel Bajo front on the 6th or 7th of November 1936, make Pérez Mateo a unique sculptor.
Bhupen Khakhar (Bombay, 1934 - Baroda, India, 2003) is one of the most internationally renowned Indian artists and the central figure in the School of Baroda. His first solo exhibition was in 1965 at a gallery in his hometown. He continued to exhibit in Paris, Amsterdam, London, Berlin and New Delhi among other cities where his paintings received well-deserved recognition. He also produces literary work where the distinctive narrative so characteristic of his paintings stands out.
Ramón Gomez de la Serna (Madrid, 1988 - Buenos Aires, 1963) is one of the artists who introduce the avant-garde to Spain. At the same time he is a pioneer of a trend characterised by humour, which the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía pays tribute to in Los humoristas del 27. This exhibition is held a few months before this one, which presents the character of this prolific writer, inventor of the universal greguerías.
Eva Lootz (Vienna, 1940) has developed her artistic career in Spain since the Seventies. In her beginnings the use of materials such as canvas, felt, wax, paraffin and other humble materials led her practice to the field of sculpture, drawing and installation. Her pieces have a strong poetic and symbolic load, a defining characteristic of her personal style.
The artist Luis Feito (Madrid, 1929) is a pioneer of abstraction in the early Fifties, a time when he is member of the group El Paso and lays the foundations of his work. Following exhibitions held previously by Antonio Saura, Gerardo Rueda, Lucio Muñoz, Rafael Canogar and Antoni Tàpies, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía presents another extensive and critical tour of Spanish art in the second half of the twentieth century. This major retrospective of Feito gathers ninety-four canvasses and a hundred works on paper in eight chronological blocks, which gives visitors an overview of the contribution by the artist from Madrid.
This exhibition comes from a group of exhibitions collected under the title Arte para un siglo, a selection of Spanish art from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía that has travelled through more than a dozen Autonomous regions in Spain. This project, organised by the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks, is divided into three exhibitions whose chronological limits are marked by artistic or historical changes determined by Spanish art in the twentieth century.