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.
Using methodological and conceptual strategies drawn from spheres of discourse such as theatre, dance, anthropology, archival work and journalism, the projects of Sharon Hayes (Baltimore, Maryland, 1970) explore the sometimes tense relations between history, politics and language, and they dissect the symbolic and narrative mechanisms through which the collective imaginary is built. In her performances, videos and installations, Hayes shows how the process of documenting a historical event ends up conditioning the way we see that event. She also proposes a critical reflection on topics such as the frictions arising between the public and the private – the personal and the collective – in today's media culture and the cathartic and empowering effect of the act of using one's voice and occupying urban space.
Mateo Maté (Madrid, 1964) uses ordinary objects from daily life, in many cases even objects linked to his own domestic routine, to explore how in late modernity the spaces we inhabit are racked with tension and violence, where what is private and social, political and existential, individual and collective mix together and become blurred. Interested in the potential symbolic value of the cartographic metaphor, Maté creates sculptural and performative spaces which, although they seem familiar to us, are also profoundly unsettling, as if they were plagued with latent dangers, perturbing enigmas. In his work, the Madrid-born artist suggests that in a context such as this one, in which our most immediate surroundings have become undecipherable geographies, full of threats and uncertainties, we must rethink and reinvent the notion of living, we must be capable of surpassing our gaze and concretising once again the spaces and objects around us.
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.
Emilio Ambasz, an Argentine architect and graphic and industrial designer, strives in his projects to "give poetic form to the practical" and he is considered one of the most important forerunners of what is known today as "green architecture." Convinced that any architecture project that does not try to propose new or better forms of existence is not very ethical, Ambasz designs organic spaces that seek harmonious integration between construction and nature, between architecture and landscape, either by burying the buildings, completely or partially, or by taking vegetation to its façades and/or roofs and indoor areas.
Considered one of the pioneers of media art and conceptual art in Spain, for over four decades Antoni Muntadas (Barcelona, 1942) has been creating projects that foment critical reflection about key issues in the configuration of contemporary experience. His aim is to detect and decode the control and power mechanisms through which hegemonic ways of seeing are built, exploring the decisive role played by the mass media in this process. In his works, which always have a clear processual dimension and often make a direct call for viewer participation, Muntadas uses a number of media, languages and discursive strategies, from interventions in public space to video and photography, from the publication of printed material to the use of Internet and the new digital tools, from multimedia installations to the organisation of multidisciplinary, collaborative research projects.
Having studied primary structures at the Computing Centre in Madrid, Soledad Sevilla (1944) creates installations that transform geometry into a subtle reflection on experience, matter, colour and light, intersecting sensitive and specific elements in her sculptures. Written on the celestial bodies, her largest work to date, is a site-specific piece that reproduces the vault of the Palace itself, recreating the image of the night sky.
The exhibition Locus Solus. Impressions de Raymond Roussel is dedicated to the body of work by the French novelist and poet and its influence on modern and contemporary art. Roussel (1877-1933) was the author of a literary opus made up of rich worlds, filled with spectacle, masks and phantasmagoria and built around the mechanisms and double entendres found in language. In its consideration of Roussel, Locus Solus is also taking a furtive glance at the history of 20th century art.