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.
The retrospective devoted to Ulises Carrión (San Andrés Tuxtla, Veracruz, Mexico, 1941 – Amsterdam, 1989) explores his multifaceted artistic and intellectual work. It spans his beginnings as a young, successful and well-respected writer in Mexico, his spells in France, Germany and England between 1964 and 1972, when he sharpens his resolve to innovate in language, ending at the time he definitively settles in Amsterdam, the place where he realises a wide array of artistic, literary and cultural activation activities.
Alexandre Estrela (Lisbon, 1971) uses film and video as the core mediums in his artistic practice, which questions the materiality of the image, dialoguing with a history of experimental film, video and photography, which finds some of its symbolic evidence in the films of Marcel Duchamp, in photographs by Man Ray or cut-up narratives from Burroughs, for example.
The work of Juan Giralt (Madrid, 1940–2007) was initially self-taught in the Informalism that predominated the 1950s. During 1970s and 1980s his new interpretation of figurative painting, turning him into a reference point of New Figuration in Madrid.
Andrzej Wróblewski (1927–1957) is, despite his short life, one of the most important Polish artists of the 20th century. This exhibition, the first retrospective held outside his country, enables his work to be contemplated in a way that goes beyond the reductionist clichés of socialist realism.
Regarded as one of the most relevant contemporary artists in the field of Video art, Hito Steyerl (Munich, 1966) approaches current themes in her work, for instance the impact the proliferation of images and the use of the Internet and technology have on our lives.
In October the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía will present an exhibition devoted to Ignasi Aballí (Barcelona 1958). The output of this Catalan artist offers a conceptual reflection on the representation and perception of mediums such as painting, the object or photography.
Constant (Constant Anton Nieuwenhuys, Amsterdam, 1920 – Utrecht, 2005) realised scale models, paintings, drawings and collages displaying his concept of a nomad city of the future – New Babylon – a complex and expansive labyrinth that transformed the whole world into one sole network.
The catalogue-boxes of the Museum Abteiberg-Mönchengladbach (1967-1978)
By virtue of the renewed conceptions of art which developed in the 1960s and 1970s, museums were forced to renovate their way of presenting art works, and also their idea of what art publications could be.
Danh Vō’s (Bà Ria, Vietnam, 1975) art work subverts and plays with classic appropriation and opportunistic strategies of Western art in its approach to other cultures. His installations, sculptures, photographs and works on paper, particularly his early work, often calls on his origins and experiences, interspersing them with cultural, social, and historical references.
Nasreen Mohamedi (Karachi, 1937 – Baroda, 1990) was one of the first Indian artists to embrace abstraction, moving away from the more conventional doctrines of Indian modern art in the early decades of the 20th century. She chose non-figuration, an artistic practice marginalised at that time by independent India, which was essentially dominated by an anthropomorphous aesthetic and academic realism determined by art schools from the colonial period.
The work of Ree Morton (Ossining, NY, 1936 – Chicago, 1977) can be found in the specific art scene in the USA around 1970, characterised by a strong reaction to Abstract Expressionism, in what Lucy Lippard defined as “Eccentric Abstraction”.
The exhibition I call them simply books, devoted to the «book as book», can be seen as part two of the previous one It is not new, it is a book, that it was a purely conceptual approach to the book. The title is a quotation by Peter Downsbrough, an American artist who has published numerous «books» since 1972.
Biblioteca y Centro de Documentación
May 5 - October 12, 2015 Palacio de Velázquez. Parque del Retiro
Carl Andre. Sculpture as Place, 1958-2010 offers an in-depth study of a crucial period in contemporary art by virtue of the work of Carl Andre. The artist’s oeuvre falls under the categories of Minimalism, Land Art and Conceptual Art, reflecting the formal concerns of his epoch.
Actively working since the mid 1980s, Federico Guzmán (Seville, 1964) has always viewed artistic practice as a commitment to his environment. His spells in New York and Bogotá at the end of the 1990s lead him to lay great emphasis on this idea as he became particularly aware of art as a tool for social change, as well as understanding the figure of the artist and seeing his work as something inextricably linked to the context he lived in.
The Kunstmuseum Basel is considered one of the finest public municipal museums in the world. The two cornerstones of its collection are the works dating from the 15th and 16th centuries, on one side, and artworks from the 19th century to the 21st , on the other, with the ensemble of the latter making it one of the most significant collections of contemporary art in Europe.
Two Case Studies: The Im Obersteg and Rudolf Staechelin Collections
It was not the work of artists, critics and curators alone that made the development of modern and contemporary art possible. Another factor related to both economic and social concerns intervened as a catalyst in the process. This was art collecting.
On the Reinvention of Documentary and the Critique of Modernism
Not Yet. On the Reinvention of Documentary and the Critique of Modernism sets out from the re-discovery of the Worker-photography movement of the 1920s and 1930, but within the social and intellectual context after 1968 and the new urban struggles.
Through interventions in public space and a critical use of digital media and the communication strategies of the corporations connected to it, the theoretical and artistic work developed by Daniel G. Andújar (Almoradí, Alicante, 1966) oscillates between territories that are real (the city) and virtual (the Net). He sets out from the premise that when displaying/dissecting the connections found between both, the inequalities that generate social and power relations are envisaged in a context like the current one.
This exhibition, the first retrospective devoted to the artist since his death, assembles over fifty works that reflect the audacity, strength and complexity of Fabro's work; a body of work that is key to gaining an understanding of the new roads contemporary sculpture has travelled down.
Through the critical and experimental use of sound and voices combined with diverse narrative, scenic and visual elements, Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller create engulfing, multi-sensorial installations that explore how our perception of reality is shaped and obstructed.
Atomic-Circus is the first retrospective devoted to the work of artist Patricia Gadea (Madrid, 1960 – Palencia 2006), a key figure in the revival of Spanish painting in the 1980s and 1990s. Her painting emerged at a time of experimentation with freedom, sheltered by the movida cultural movement in Madrid and an atmosphere of euphoria brought about by democratic change.
The exhibition endeavours to position the notion of critical pedagogy as a crucial element in collective struggles, and explore the tension between individual and social emancipation through education with examples that are both historical and current.