The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales (State Society for Cultural Commemorations) are joining together to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Spanish Constitution with an exhibition dedicated to the new generation of Spanish museums of modern and contemporary art. This exhibition provides an overview of experimental changes in Spain in terms of cultural infrastructure since 1978, the year when the Spanish Constitution was adopted. For this exhibition, twenty-five museums have been chosen and are represented by models of their buildings, pieces from their collections and information about their mission and exhibition programmes.
Calder: La gravedad y la gracia, is the first retrospective exhibition that the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía dedicates to Alexander Calder (Lawnton, Pennsylvania, United States, 1898 - New York, United States, 1976). Painter, printmaker, but above all sculptor, Calder’s priority interest is the kinetic potential of art and he experiments with various materials for his pieces. The artist captures movement in a series of structures that offer radical alternatives to the languages of Abstraction and existing concepts on sculpture which, in turn, have a profound impact on the history of art in the twentieth century.
Juan Gris, pseudonym of José Victoriano González, (Madrid, 1887 - Boulogne-sur-Seine, France, 1927) is one of the most representative Spanish artists of the twentieth century. The present exhibition shows an important facet of his most unknown work which was an essential part in his later career as a painter. Accordingly, a hundred drawings made between 1904 and 1912, mainly illustrating the initial periods of the artist's production, are exhibited together with the ninety publications that they were drawn for. Along with them, other unpublished drawings, as well as general documents related to the facet of Gris as press illustrator are also exhibited.
John Uslé (Santander, 1954) is one of the leading protagonists of a generation of painters who, from the late eighties, accounts for much of the international critical attention. His work is recognised as one of the most evocative of his generation, with a very personal style linked to abstraction.
The exhibition at the Espacio Uno at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía on digital artist Jeremy Blake (Ford Still, United States, 1971 - New York, 2007) consists of two projections from his Winchester series. The keys that underpin this series work on several levels. Technology is only one facet among others that give it the possibility to play with superimposed images of diaphanous immateriality.
Among numerous solo exhibitions dedicated to Martín Chirino (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1925), the retrospective the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía dedicated to him in 1991 at the Palacio de Velázquez in Madrid stands out. Now, the Abbey de Santo Domingo de Silos is hosting an exhibition comprising of five Cangrafías, etchings especially made for the occasion, entitled Viento (2003), in addition to five wrought iron sculptures made between 1968 and 2003 and entitled: Espiral (1968), Mi patria es una roca (1987), Alfaguara III (2000), Espiral la rosa (2002) y El sueño de Canarias (2003). In these works, the Canary Islands are a common leit motiv, in addition to the theme of spiral and wind, African and Atlantic, so present in Canarian life.
This exhibition, which focuses exclusively on the critical period of sculptor Joan Rebull’s (Reus, 1899 - Barcelona, 1981) production, shows in all its conceptual and material diversity the work of a modern sculptor, demonstrating a clear political, aesthetic and artistic commitment in tune with his time. The exhibition focuses on Rebull’s production before the Civil War and there is a section dedicated to his drawings which are of a certain Abstraction linked to Surrealism.
The personal adoption of Surrealism by Joan Miró (Barcelona, 1893 - Palma de Mallorca, 1983), combined with his original conception of Abstraction, means he becomes a unique example of creativity. Despite considering himself a painter, Miró also displays his genius through his extensive output of sculptures and etchings, which in turn lead him to be classified as one of the most relevant artists of the 20th century.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía dedicates this retrospective to the photographic work of Martin Parr (Surrey, United Kingdom, 1952) produced between 1970 and 2000. It explores the ways in which the artist has revitalised social and documentary photography over three decades, which has led him to become one of its most influential and innovative figures. This exhibition displays a project that documents conclusively the changes and problems suffered by British society in the Seventies and Eighties. Additionally, you can view pictures taken during the Nineties, when Parr joins the Magnum agency and which are the best known of the artist.
In Per Barclay’s (Oslo, 1955) work the concepts of tension and in some cases drama coexist, in which the artist incorporates influences of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. After studying art history in Bergen in 1979 Barclay leaves Norway to find new artistic references in Italy where Arte Povera still dominates the art scene.
La Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales (SECC) (The State Society for Cultural Commemorations) and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía celebrate the centenary of the birth of Rafael Alberti (Puerto de Santa Maria, 1902-1999) with this major exhibition on one of the most universal Spanish poets. The exhibition is the largest project among the scheduled to commemorate the centenary of the poet’s birth, being the first exhibition on the writer that completely defines his life and his art. Peeking into the life of Rafael Alberti is to participate in the turbulent twentieth century that influenced the life course and literary career of one of the most prominent members of the Generation of 27. To recreate this scenario, close to a thousand pieces have been selected, including manuscripts, first editions and translations of his books, personal objects and photographs, as well as correspondence with Pablo Neruda, Federico García Lorca and Manuel Altolaguirre.
José Victoriano González Pérez, known as Juan Gris (Madrid, 1887 - Boulogne-sur-Seine, France, 1927) moves to Paris at the age of nineteen, and comes into contact with the pioneering Cubist circles, including figures such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob and André Salmon. His output reaches maturity between 1914 and 1918, the period he forms part of Synthetic Cubism.
This exhibition aims to publicise the work developed by a group of Spanish fashion companies and professionals working in design, materials innovation and process, production, distribution, branding and marketing of products generated by the textile industry. The symbolic values brought into play in the field of fashion make up the cultural, aesthetic and vital universe of a new era that uses technology and scientific advances to produce innovative creations. Spanish fashion in recent decades has projected a steady image of high quality and its influence extends beyond our borders, thanks to a group of brands and creators with international impact. Also, fashion is an indicator of the dynamism and the structural integrity of a society in terms of its capacity for progress, innovation and adaptation to changes and technologies.
Jusep Torres Campalans is a character invented by writer Max Aub (Paris, 1903 - Mexico City, 1972). Despite not having existed beyond fiction, Aub invents a full biography for Campalans and creates more than thirty books and several drawings by him, which have even be exhibited twice in the Excelsior gallery in Mexico in 1958 and at the Bodley Gallery in New York in 1962. Aub conceives Campalans to be a cubist painter, a son of peasants who migrate to Paris. In this city he contacts and befriends avant-garde artists such as Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani and Piet Mondrian. After the outbreak of the Great War, Campalans moves to Mexico to finish his days in a remote region in Chiapas.
The artist Jesse A. Fernández (Havana, 1925 - Paris, 1986) is internationally known for his photographs but, along with his famous portraits of various personalities, he also creates at the same time drawings, paintings and box-objects. A selection of his work is on display in this exhibition which the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía dedicates to one of the most charismatic Cuban artists.
The work of Jonathan Lasker (Jersey City, United States, 1948) was displayed in 1996 as part of the group exhibition Nuevas Abstracciones held at the Palacio de Velázquez in the Parque del Retiro. This same area has been chosen again for, on this occasion, a comprehensive exhibition of his drawings, studies and paintings made between 1977 and 2003.
Francis Alÿs (Antwerp, Belgium, 1959) is know primarily for his actions. Some of these actions include: walks around Mexico City dragging a magnetic toy dog that picks up metallic objects as it goes along, a walk around São Paulo carrying a perforated can of paint to leave a trail, moving a dune a few metres along with the help of five hundred volunteers from the Lima Biennial, or sending a peacock to represent him at the Venice Biennial; actions that turn heads towards the work of this international artist.
Rax Rinnekangas (Rovaniemi, Finland, 1954) is a writer, film director, interpretor, jazz composer and photographer, and his prolific output has been awarded in Finland with the National Photography Prize (1989) and the National Literary Prize (1992). This exhibition presents Rinnekangas' contribution to the field of photography through a piece for which he spends decades travelling around more that twenty countries in Europe.
With his images Francesc Catalá-Roca (Valls, 1922 - Barcelona, 1998) has contributed to permanently placing the peculiarities, customs and people from a number of Spanish regions in the memory of the Spanish people. The first of his photography books was published in 1952 and portrayed the works of one of the most emblematic buildings in Spain and one of the biggest creations by the international Antoni Gaudí: the Sagrada Familia.
The Colombian artist living in London, Oswaldo Maciá (Cartagena, Colombia, 1960) focuses his work on the concern for sensory processes and subliminal forms of knowledge acquisition. Two of his most common lines of research are exploring synaesthetic relationships (connections between taste, smell and hearing) and the search and creation of new analogies through sensorial paradoxical connections.
Albert Ràfols Casamada (Barcelona, 1923-2009) is one of the central figures of Spanish lyrical abstraction. Son of the painter Albert Ràfols, he starts drawing at a young age. He comes into contact with the developments of Noucentisme, the Catalan art revival movement, and with the first avant-gardes, especially with the work of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Joan Miró through various publications and trains himself in poetry, beginning with the poets from the Generación del 27.
The artist, dancer and choreographer La Ribot (María José Ribot) (Madrid, 1966) was honoured in 2000 with the Premio Nacional de Danza (National Dance Prize), in recognition of a career that included dance, performing arts and visual arts. Her best known work is the Series Distinguidas (1993-2003), a collection of short pieces created as a reflection on the body and from the body.
This retrospective exhibition of Ramón Gaya (Huerto del Conde, 1910 - Valencia, 2005) takes place at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía on the occasion of the awarding of I Premio Velázquez 2002 to this painter and writer. Like other Spanish artists honoured by the Museo Reina Sofia -Jacinto Salvadó or Cristino de Vera- Gaya's work has transcended over the years thanks to the recovery of its historical importance that was not initially valued as much as it should have been.
Nikolái Vasílievich Ilín (Nizhni Nòvgorod, Russia, 1894 - Moscow, 1954) is a pioneer of graphic art in Russia. His contribution to the field of editorial design is virtually unknown beyond Russia's borders.
La Spagna dipinge il Novecento (Spain Paints the 20th Century) is the title chosen for this exhibition, which contemplates the existence of an artistic panorama that contributes significantly to Art History, despite certain historical vicissitudes. It comprises sixty works by forty-two artists from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Collection and gives an overview, via key works, of the events in 20th century art in Spain. Furthermore, the exhibit unfolds in chronological order, beginning with a first section articulated by Pablo Picasso, one of the most universal Spanish artists.
With the exhibition Romantic landscapes with missing elements, Nedko Solakov (Cherven Briag, Bulgaria, 1957) carries out an idea which demonstrates the relativity of the binomial "representation and truth" leaning on art history to do so. In this way, he uses art history to draw examples that the public may be largely familiar with and which allow him to unfold the ironies associated with the narrative of the pieces. The twelve paintings that make up this exhibition, all the same size, take as a starting point and maximum reference German romantic paintings from the first decades of the nineteenth century, specifically the work and the pictorial and compositional elements from Caspar David Friedrich (1774 - 1840).
Susana Solano (Barcelona, 1946) is one of the protagonists of the new Spanish sculpture who gained international acclaim during the late eighties and early nineties together with names like Juan Muñoz, Cristina Iglesias and Jaume Plensa. The coherence and interest in her work began to be appreciated after her exhibition at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona in 1980, an exhibition that marks the beginning of a career that leads her to participate during the Eighties in artistic events on the world stage, such as the Documenta in Kassel or the São Paulo and Venice Biennial. In 1988 she was awarded the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas and four years later the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía exhibits her work at the Palacio de Velázquez.
Fernando Zóbel (Manilla, 1924 - Rome, 1984) is a key figure in Spanish Art in the second half of the 20th century. Zóbel does not only stand out for his contribution to pictorial Abstraction, but also for his interest and patronage, which leads him to begin a collection that includes names such as Gerardo Rueda, Gustavo Torner, Luis Feito, Eusebio Sempere, Antonio Saura, Manuel Millares, Martín Chirino and José Guerrero. In 1966, this collection gives rise to the Museum of Abstract Spanish Art in Cuenca, a reference point for Spanish Abstraction in the Fifties and Sixties.
The book, used to disseminate written knowledge, broadens its use as a format and develops variations as it becomes an object of art. Therefore, there are differences between the livre d’artiste andartist's book - the first contains etchings, lithographs, screen prints and xylographs engraved by hand, and is published in limited, numbered editions that are intended for collectors. One of the earliest examples is Pierre Bonnard's Parallèlement (1900), containing poems by Paul Verlaine. However, the artist's book is developed later; the artist that devises it is interested in the book as a format and its access to a wider public with large print runs at a low cost. Twenty-six Gasoline Stations (1962) by Ed Ruscha is is one of the first examples of this genre.