A Painter, sculptor and engraver, Pablo Palazuelo (Madrid, 1916) has had one of the most noteworthy artistic careers within Spanish Abstraction. Palazuelo studies architecture in Madrid and at the Royal Institute of British Architects in Oxford, but from 1939 onwards he focuses exclusively on painting. He is awarded a grant by the French Government and moves to Paris in 1948, where he comes into contact with other Spanish artists.
The exhibition El arte sucede. Origen de las prácticas conceptuales en España (1965-1980) (Art Happens: The Origin of Conceptual Practices in Spain 1965-1980) takes its title from James Whistler's saying “Art happens”. Whistler was an habitué to Stéphane Mallarmé's circle and worked in close proximity to his line of thought, the reflections of which contributed to establishing the basis of the interdisciplinary and supranational conception of art. The exhibition explores the appearance and development of Conceptual Art in Spain, bringing together an anthology of works realised by diverse artists with their own traits, linked by their experiences and interests whilst also sharing approaches with their international counterparts. These traits are defined by the multifarious relationship with popular culture, the social, the political, the subjective and the body itself.
Tobias Rehberger (Esslingen, Germany, 1966) is one of the most internationally renowned German artists to come out of the art scene in the Nineties. A descendent of German sculptural tradition in the Eighties, which can be seen in the exhibition Raumbilder: cinco escultores alemanes en Madrid (Raumbilder: Five German Sculptors in Madrid), Rehberger is part of the evolution of contemporary sculpture and the hybridisation of architecture and design. Moreover, his works often portray pictorial components through detailed studies of colour and geometry.
This exhibition, organised by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, is dedicated to Manuel Millares (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1926 - Madrid, 1972), a key reference point for understanding Spanish art in the second half of the 20th Century. It follows on from the retrospective dedicated to the artist in 1992. From 1949 onwards Millares begins to work with abstract painting, using sacking, sack-cloth and rope that he sticks objects to, materials that are later covered with layers of dripping paint. In 1955 he moves to Madrid, and is one of the co-founders of the El Paso group in 1957.
Jordi Colomer (Barcelona, 1962) learns design and Art History before moving on to study architecture in 1986, the year in which his first individual exhibition is held in the Juan Miró Foundation in Barcelona. His first artistic ventures revolve around pictorial abstraction, an approach he gradually leaves behind in favour of sculpture, drawing and collage. In all of his work Colomer establishes the link between objects in space and the three-dimensional role of the materials. Between 1991 and 1995 he lives in Paris, where his architectural resolution of space gains intensity, with references to the domestic environment. From 1996 onwards he works with photography and video.
Artist Amy Globus (New York, USA, 1976) presents the video installation Electronic Sheep (2003-2004) in Espacio Uno of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. The title of the work alludes to Phillip K. Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? widely considered a science fiction classic and the book that gave rise to equally renowned film Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott in 1982.
This exhibition is the public presentation of sixty-one works byAntonioSaura (Huesca, 1930 - Cuenca, 1998), thirty-eight drawings and twenty-three paintings, loaned to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía by the heirs of Saura's work. The works journey through the whole of Saura's career, from his early surrealist pieces, a period that starts with Constelaciones (1948), to his final compositions, such as the oil painting Cuatro caras (1996), taking in the main themes running through his oeuvre in the process. This exhibit is in addition to Antonio Saura. Pinturas 1959-1985 (Antonio Saura. Paintings 1959-1985), held in the Museo in 1989.
The exhibition the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía dedicates to Juan Gris (Madrid, 1887 - Boulogne-sur-Seine, France, 1927) bears witness to the diverse approaches in his output. It highlights those aspects that have remained in the background, for instance his colourist painting, his early years within Cubism and his drawings, considered by the artist himself to be equal to his paintings. This exhibit is in addition to two previous ones dedicated to the artist by the Museo; one, in 2001 Juan Gris 1887-1927 and the other in 2003, Juan Gris dibujante de prensa (Juan Gris the Illustrator).
Pablo Siquier (Buenos Aires, 1961) is one of the most renowned Argentinian artists to come out of the Eighties. His exhibition in the Palacio de Velázquez in Madrid brings together forty paintings along with various murals the artist has painted on the walls of the Palacio over a two-week period. Through the installation Siquier gives visibility to specific and personal experiences of his native city with a discourse that ranges from identifiable local architecture to pure abstractions that can be related to landscape, topography and the forms of representation of the city. By virtue of this exhibition Siquier reaffirms his experience of the city, not as an evocation or memory of the physical space and its construction, but as a result of the diverse political and cultural practices that unfurl and are inscribed within a determined parameter. He concentrates on the exploration of formal and constructive structures, on decorative motifs and abstract representations of the urban fabric, and on the exploration of the language of signs developed by the medium of design.
A reflection on art and space has been the common thread with which the artist Montserrat Soto (Barcelona, 1961) has fashioned in one of the most coherent and imaginative careers in Spanish art throughout the last decade. Soto studies in the Escuela Massana in Barcelona and the School of Fine Arts in Grenoble (France), whilst experimenting with photography, the predominant medium in her artistic expression, as well as video installation and stage design.
Joan Massanet (L’Armentera, 1899 - L´Escala, 1969) becomes involved with the circle of Catalan Surrealist artists, for instance Àngel Planells, Esteban Francés and Remedios Varo from his adopted cuty of Girona, that appropriate an artistic language influenced by Salvador Dalí.
The work of Regina Silveira (Porto Alegre, Brazil, 1939) has palpable associations with concrete poetry and experiments with the impact of Minimalism and Pop Art. That said, by and large Silveira is concerned with the interplay between light and shade, systems of visual representation, the problems of perspective and the illusion of volumes. Her work, influenced by Iberê Camargo and Marcel Duchamp, focuses on the critique and dismantling of traditional codes of representation as well as the ironic interplay between conceptual deviations and the solemnity and anachronism of classical canons. Furthermore, Silveira is interested in the exploration of common three-dimensional objects and architectural vacuums that are able to work as spaces that mesmerise. These spectrums are reflected in the huge shadow patterns originating from sources of imaginary light - sometimes paradoxical - to indicate absence; thus the viewer has limited mental references with which to place these architectural elements of space, walls, furniture and objects.
Cántico espiritual (Spiritual Chant) is the title of the Eduardo Chillida (San Sebastián, 1924-2002) exhibition, held in the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos. It features works related to the monk, mystic and Castillian poet San Juan de la Cruz (1524-1591), the subject of over 30 works by Chillida, who began the series in honour of the saint in 1991, the year that marked the 400th anniversary of his death. An expert on his poetry, Chillida considered himself a religious man with a profound faith in God and mankind, establishing a link between matters of faith and the problems faced by artist. His conception of space has a spiritual and philosophical dimension, and he also tirelessly wrote verses in drawings and on cards; many of his drawings show the landscapes described by the poet. Johann Sebastian Bach is the other central figure in Chillida's image of the world as his spaces take on musical and spiritual dimensions references to both figures.
The painting of Juan Manuel Díaz-Caneja (Palencia, 1905 - Madrid, 1988) has close ties to the landscapes of Castilla, portrayed from an acute awareness of avant-garde perspectives. After assimilating the teachings of Cubism, Díaz-Caneja formulates a new and intimate landscape through the use of persistent and subtle variations. To mark the hundredth anniversary since the artist's birth, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía dedicates this restrospective exhibition to a broad range of Díaz-Caneja's finest works.
Dennis Oppenheim (Electric City, USA, 1938), educated at the California School of Arts and Crafts, moves to New York in 1967 where he becomes one of the forerunners of Conceptual Art and a pioneer in performance. He gains public recognition at the end of the Sixties as he forms part of a generation of artists that disseminate Land Art, though his penchant for experimentation also leads him to explore Body Art, photography and video installation, among other artistic languages.
The career of artist Abraham Lacalle (Almería, 1962) begins at the end of the Eighties, and to date he has had numerous collective and individual exhibitions, mainly in Madrid and New York. In his work constant - ironic and sarcastic - references to the most important art and literary movements that emerge throughout the 20th century can be strongly discerned.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía exhibition dedicated to Manuel Rivera (Granada, 1927 - Madrid, 1995), in the Benedictine Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, acknowledges the poetic dimensions of his metallic fabrics and the lyricism manifested in the mysterious geometry of light and colour. It can also be added to the exhibit dedicated to Rivera in 1997.
Born to a Spanish father and Mexican mother, Germán Gutiérrez Cueto (Mexico City 1893-1975) is one of the first modern sculptors on the American continent. This exhibition, held in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, features a series of individual exhibitions devoted to Mexican artists: Vicente Rojo, José Luis Cuevas and Francisco Toledo, among others.
Jorge Oteiza (Orio, 1908 - San Sebastián, 2003) is one of the most relevant Spanish artists of the 20th century with his highly personal work. Oteiza's sculptures examine the relationship between volume and space brought about by early avant-garde movements, particularly Constructivism, whilst also sharing a distinct penchant for abstraction, spirituality and humanism with other artists. His career begins in the Escuela de Artes y Oficios de Madrid (The Madrid School of Arts and Crafts) where he produces and exhibits his first sculptures, influenced by Jacob Epstein, Dimitry Tsaplin and Alberto Sánchez. In 1935 he travels to Latin America, where he exhibits in various cities while also working as a teacher and carrying out research into Pre-Columbian sculpture. This period also sees him write some of the essays that are key to understanding his artistic output.
The paintings, drawings and photographs of José Manuel Ballester (Madrid, 1960) stand out for their unique interpretation of architectural space and light. Ballester begins his career with painting, paying particular attention to the techniques of Italian and Flemish art from the 15th and 18th centuries. In 1990 he starts to blend painting and photography in order to focus on architectural photography. The maturity of his artistic output has also seen him win the Premio Nacional de Grabado (National Etching Award) on three occasions.
Alfred Stieglitz (New York, United States, 1864-1946) captures in his photographs the vitality and energy of New York in the early twentieth century. This city, with its skyscrapers and its fast pace of life, looked, to many European artists, the very image of modernity. If, in the past, traveling to Europe was a rite of passage for American artists, New York would later become the destiny for European artists.
Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco (Jalapa, Mexico, 1962) is internationally recognised as a leading innovator of conceptual art. His work has been exhibited at the most important events of contemporary art over the last decade. Trained at the UNAM National School of Arts in Mexico City, Orozco lives between Paris, New York and Mexico where, since the early nineties, his work responds to different contexts, materials and situations in public spaces around the world. The artist reflects on movement and gravity through various objects, a ball of clay or a pendulum on a pool table. He expresses the actions of everyday life with common objects that are somehow being reviewed from an abstract point of view.
The exhibition Eco: arte contemporáneo mexicano shows the art scene in Mexico over the last fifteen years. Far from being the result of a representative selection of current Mexican art, the exhibition aims to expose the artistic discourse design that is present in Mexico beyond the exoticism shown so often by American and European centralism. The collection explores the echoes and subtle relationships established between the pieces that are sometimes critical, but always fascinating.
Painting is at the core of the artistic output of Victoria Civera (Puerto de Sagunto, 1955), that also includes a command of other artistic languages. She begins her work in the School of Fine Arts of San Carlos, in Valencia, where she collaborates with the artist Juan Uslé, experimenting with photography, photomontage and Happening art. Later she focuses on producing Neo-Expressionist style paintings as the Eighties see her visibly enlarge the scale of her works. Following a period dubbed Abstract Symbolism, she settles in New York in 1987 with her husband, Juan Uslé, who she occasionally works with on compositions that alternate between photography, photomontage and painting.
Throughout her career, artist Elizabeth Aro (Buenos Aires, 1961) has participated in numerous collective and individual exhibitions around the world. Among the first of these, the most noteworthy include the one held in 2000 in the Instituto de América (Santa Fe, Granada), the exhibition in the Spazio Erasmus Brera (Milan, Italy), in 2002, and the one in the Centro Cultural de España (San José, Costa Rica), in 2003.
Daniel Vázquez Díaz (Nerva, 1882 - Madrid, 1969) is one of the key figures of the artistic culture that develops in Spain in mid-twentieth century. Vázquez Díaz was the direct master and reference for many of the artists who made up the avant-garde and the renewal movement of the Twenties and was the paradigmatic example of those who, between 1920 and 1970, fought for a compact alliance between modernity and tradition in Spanish art. Between the late 1910s and the early 1920s Vázquez Díaz was one of the artistic creators associated with the most radical early avant-garde movements in Spain. In the early twenties, along with Gabriel García Maroto and Aurelio Arteta he lays the groundwork for an alternative construction of a "modern social realism". "Neocubism", developed from this triple sharing of experiences, begins to be spread by Vázquez Díaz in 1924, and who, in 1925, signs the Iberian Artists Society manifesto. From that point onwards his painting was erected in the very centre of aesthetic gravity for this group of artists. An expert portrait and landscape artist, he painted portraits of the most well-known personalities of the time. In 1929, Vázquez Díaz paints his most famous work, the frescoes of the "Poem of Discovery" at the monastery of La Rabida. The Franco regime would often take these paintings as an example for the consolidation of a "national aesthetic", however this work is actually in harmony with the aesthetics of the Italian Novecento and the epic realism of the Hispanic social muralism. Vázquez Díaz’s painting continues to develop a streak of measured modernity after the war. Now his painting would exist with the phobias the Franco regime manifested towards the radical avant-gardes and from the Fifties he gives himself entirely to the role of mentor and guide of a new horizon of artistic regeneration.
This exhibition commemorates the Velázquez Visual Arts Prize awarded to Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona, 1923-2012) in 2003 and is added to the exhibitions that the museum has dedicated to him in 1990 Antoni Tàpies. Extensiones de la realidad and in 2000, Tàpies en Silos. This time we present Tàpies’ work in ceramic, an artist best known for his pictorial role.
Artist Javier Pérez (Bilbao, 1968) trains in the Basque Country and in Paris and produces his first works in the early nineties, when he breaks into the art scene with a special twist on the trend from those days: the aesthetics of the body.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía presents a representative selection of art works from the collection of German publisher Benedikt Taschen that he has gathered over the past two decades. Such a private collection as this one allows for an overview of art at a historic moment from an unprecedented point of view, given the very nature of personal choice which the collector himself has conducted as a general artistic overview. Thus a more institutional and objective vision on art proper to the museum itself is extended upon showing the public other aspects that allows them to amplify their diversity.
Martin Kippenberger (Dortmund, Germany 1953 - Vienna, 1997) is one of the most unruly and significant German artists. He made a mark in the Eighties by challenging the most serious artistic conventions by using his devastating irony. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía presents hundreds of his works at the first solo exhibition of this artist in a Spanish museum.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía unveils the photographic work of architect José Manuel Aizpúrua (San Sebastian, 1902-1936). Despite his short life, Aizpurua is one of the most representative figures of Spanish architecture in the interwar period. A good example of his work is the building of the Real Club Náutico de San Sebastián (1928), considered one of the few good examples of the rationalist movement in Spain and which has been studied from its construction until the present.
Sergio Belinchón (Valencia, 1971) is the first photographer to have participated in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía’s exhibition project at the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos. Belinchón is one of the most important young photographers on the Spanish art scene. After training at the School of Fine Arts in Valencia and studying on a scholarship at the School of Spain of in Paris, the artist has worked for the architect Santiago Calatrava and later received another scholarship from the Academy of Spain in Rome. Belinchón’s work has developed in successive series such as Metropolis around Paris or the series Roma. In Ciudades Efímeras, he approaches the chaotic development of the Spanish Levante coast, while in Desierto de Atacama constructions and other elements are the waste of a rural landscape uninhabited from a long time ago.
Vicente Blanco (Santiago de Compostela, 1974), featured artist in the field of videocreation, presents his latest work entitled Alguna vez pasa cuando estáis dormidos, specifically conceived for Espacio Uno. Since his first exhibition in 1995, Blanco participates in various projects, among which the collective exhibition Monocanal stands out, organised at the Museum in 2003.
Thirty-nine photographs from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía collection, produced during the Eighties and Nineties, are displayed at the exhibition Nueva Tecnología, Nueva Iconografía, Nueva Fotografía which is presented by the Juan March Foundation at the Museu d’Art Espanyol Contemporani in Palma and will afterwards exhibit at Museo de Arte Abstracto Español in Cuenca. A total of thirty-six artists are present due of the diversity coming from a single medium: photography.
Cecily Brown’s (London, 1969) paintings revisit some of the great moments of universal artistic tradition with references to and influences of well-known artists such as Francisco de Goya, Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, and Francis Bacon. In this way, Brown shares with André Masson an interest in the ferocity of the sexual instinct and the tragedies inherent in nature as well as the representation of genitalia as natural ornaments. With an expressionistic appearance, they are pieces in which desire seems like something that is uncontrollable, or which has its own orders and laws. However, on other occasions Brown paints small animals or figures that appear to come from comics, where humour becomes the dominant tone. This mixture of pop with expressionism places the artist’s work in the realm of the fantastic. In Brown’s landscapes illusion disappears and there is no perspective: in them everything happens on the surface. It is a world made up of the history of painting, the indescribable engine of desire and artistic language itself, transformed into an authentic hedonist garden, in which images and brushstrokes merge without any hierarchical criteria. In the last ten years, Cecily Brown has exhibited her work at major galleries and museums in Europe and America.
The exhibition Huellas Dalinianas reflects Salvador Dalí’s (Figueras, 1904-1989) influence on the Spanish avant-garde, from 1929 until after the Civil War. This exhibition is part of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía’s programme celebrating the centenary of the birth of Catalan artist, which is accompanied by another almost simultaneous exhibition at the Museum, Dalí. cultura de masas.
In the early twentieth century art expresses a rejection of the rules on which Western mimetic representation had been built while also absorbing the techniques and themes that arose with the advances of the Industrial Revolution. These two trends are developed in parallel; they intertwined and influenced each other.
The fascination which Roy Lichtenstein (New York, USA, 1923-1997) felt during his whole life for the image is the focus of this retrospective exhibition on the artist. Lichtenstein was, along with Andy Warhol, the most prominent representative of Pop Art, he captivated the American art scene in the early sixties which grew out of, to a certain extent, a reaction against Abstract Expressionism.
Far from the conventional chronological order, the works in the exhibition Monocromos: de Malevich al presente are installed for this installation in series corresponding to colour environment. The dual-origin of monochrome art (the mystical and the specific) in its evolution during the twentieth century illustrates the division between the spiritual quest of a transcendental experience and the desire to emphasise the physical presence of the object as a concrete reality and not an illusion. The two opposite meanings -the specific object and mystical icon- blend into the first monochrome paintings of Kasimir Malevich, created on the eve of the Russian revolution.
Over fifty paintings by Julian Schnabel (New York, United States, 1951) make up the exhibition at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía dedicated to this creative American. A Czech immigrant father and a mother from New York, in 1965 the Schnabel family moves to Brownsville (Texas, United States), a town near the Mexican border. His life as a teenager in this city is replete with violence, weapons and drugs, which strongly shapes the artist’s character and psychology. After studying Fine Arts at the University of Houston, Schnabel returns to New York in 1973 and studies a “critique and curator of museums” programme at the Whitney Museum. During 1976 he spends several months in Europe, visiting Italy and the work of Giotto, Fra Angelico and Caravaggio.
Sergi Aguilar (Barcelona, 1946) is a leading Spanish sculptor from the last few generations. His creations, rooted in Minimalism, marked a milestone for Spanish sculpture during the transition years. Bought up in a family with a strong tradition of arts and crafts, a trip to Paris in 1965 brought him into contact with the work of Brancusi, Julio González and the Russian Constructivists. This experience orientates him towards sculpture, to which he gives himself up to completely in 1972.
Javier Campano (Madrid 1950) teaches himself photography and begins professionally in 1975. His beginnings are linked to the magazine Nueva Lente, a publication that sought to break with the previous vision of clear and documentary photography, to approach a more conceptual one. Both the magazine and the school Photocentro, were the seed from which a new generation of photographers in Madrid sprouted, including, apart from Campano, Alberto García-Alix and Ouka Leele, with marked stylistic differences between them, but with a common interest to portray nearby worlds. In this way this group of photographers reflects on all the figures and scenes in the open Madrid they lived, in a close, friendly and creative relationship with other artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians.
The projects presented by Isidro Blasco (Madrid, 1962) at Espacio Uno in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, are based on photographs from rooms in which he has lived or worked. The artist creates a process of reflection or intimate conversation with the empty architectural space. From this exhibition an installation emerges which reflects the energy and dynamics of the site.