Joan Miró (Barcelona, 1893 - Palma de Mallorca, 1983) has always been considered a painter, despite his extensive and diverse artistic output. The impact of the classes he receives from the painter Francesc Galí are key to his approaches to sculpture via the notion of the object; this point of reference, predominant in his work (also his pictorial output) is also subjected to distortions, changes in meaning and the introduction of new contexts.
Julio González (Barcelona, 1876 - Paris, 1942) is one of the preeminent Spanish sculptors, laying the foundations for the wave of modern sculpture from the Thirties onwards. Based on Assemblage and construction through lines, layers and empty spaces, the movement started by González is in contrast to the work of other sculptors such as Brancusi, a key figure in Modernism, whose work is based on the principle of construction by the composition of masses and expression through moulding.
The meeting of the curator Germano Celant, the architect Frank O. Gehry (Toronto, 1929) and the artists Coosje van Bruggen (Groningen, 1942 - Los Angeles, 2009) and Claes Oldenburg (Stockholm, 1929) transpired in a large-scale sculpture called Knife Ship. Il corso del Coltello (in its original Italian name) - a boat with twenty-four metre long oars and knife blades measuring nine metres when folded out as well as a corkscrew in an upright position. This piece arrived in the Venetian Arsenale on 6 September 1985 to become the backdrop for three days of diverse artistic activity and a performance that involved the dramatisation of the 'alter ego' of each one: Oldenburg as “Doctor Coltello”, a souvenir salesman with secret ambitions to become a painter, van Bruggen as “Georgia Sanda”, a modern version of Georges Sand, an individualist and adventurer, and the architect Gehry as “Franky Toronto”, a modern Piranesi.
This exhibition is the public presentation of the Edificio Sabatini restoration project, previously the Madrid Hospital building, and its conversion into the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. The remodelling process, started in 1980 under the supervision of the architect Antonio Fernández Alba (Salamanca, 1927), was prolonged until 1986 when it began to house exhibition activities, although in actual fact the history of the building dates back to the eighteenth century.
Among the three exhibitions to open the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in 1986, Procesos brings together a compendium of works that use the cutting-edge tools and technological supports, applying them to the world of creation.
This celebratory exhibition of the opening of the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía amalgamates three internationally renowned Spaniards: Eduardo Chillida, Antonio Saura and Antoni Tàpies beside three of the finest artistsom the second half of the twentieth century: Georg Baselitz, Cy Twombly and Richard Serra. The lack of historical and stylistic common ground that joins them here as well as the origins and diverse time periods of each has led the art critic, Francisco Calvo Serraller, to call the confluence an “eccentric encounter” in the exhibition notes. Having said that, is is in fact possible to consider the convergence of some of them in terms of the purpose and intent of their work. For instance, Saura clearly shares certain Expressionist references with Baselitz; the poetic and gestural nature of the material and the presence of calligraphy are also common in Tàpies and Twombly, and the preponderance of three-dimensions in Chillida's and Serra's work gives rise to analogical origins of their way of conceiving artistic creation.