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.
Naturalezas españolas (Spanish Nature) is an historical review of the most significant art movements in Spain spanning four decades and analysed from the monographic perspective of nature. The common thread of the exhibition is divided into the following sections: “Facing Nature”, “With Nature”, “On Nature”, “Beyond Nature”, five propositions representing the five different models between art and nature.
The exhibition El siglo de Picasso (A Century of Picasso)brings together works from the Spanish avant-garde produced among thirty-four artists between 1910 and 1970, the majority from overseas collections. The exhibit is part of the exhibition programme Five Centuries of Spanish Art, whose journey begins in Paris. It is divided into five chapters linked to important historical events and also includes two detours to take in other significant historical phenomena.
The exhibition, Masterpieces from the Guggenheim collection. From Picasso to Pollock manages to combine two unusual events: bringing together over one hundred and twenty masterpieces from the history of art in the first half of the twentieth century and bringing out the personalities of the two major collectors, on whom the foundations of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York were made. Thus, this exhibition presents the history of art interwoven between works of art and the story of a collection made up mainly by the legacies of Solomon R. Guggenheim (Philadelphia, 1861-New York, 1949) and his niece Peggy Guggenheim (New York, 1898-Padua, Italy, 1979), to which other funds and acquisitions made over the history of the institution have been added.
The exhibition Picasso, Miró, Dalí and the Origins of Contemporary Art in Spain, 1900-1936 seeks to articulate Spanish artistic production (in several and well-known cases produced outside Spain) based on the concept of "Art Nouveau". Eugenio Carmona, curator of this exhibition gives an instrumental value to this concept and explains it as a principle that underlies much of the art that is performed during the first decades of the twentieth century. In this type of art there is evidence of a desire for a renewal of artistic languages, the paradigm of which is identified by the Spanish artists in contemporary European trends. From this perspective, the exhibition proposes a debate with Spanish art in tune with the names and aesthetic and theoretical avant-garde ideas, gathered under the umbrella of Modernism, while at the same time embedded in them. In this way, Spanish artists that have as reference the various "-isms" (Cubism, Futurism, Ultraism (Ultraísmo), Surrealism and Realism) participate in the international dimension of avant-garde art. Still, as the curator points out, "Art Nouveau" was not the only option Spanish art had in the period between 1900 and 1936.
The surrealist movement, definitely visible and theoretically debated with the publication of the Manifeste du Surréalisme (1924), written by André Breton (Tinchebray, France, 1896 - Paris, 1966) is a cosmology organised by and about Breton himself. His revolutionary pretensions, which are visible in all his publications, expositions and determinations, are understood as the will of general subversion (through action) in all areas of daily life, starting from poetry and art and moving to ethics, religion and politics. Thus, Surrealism is not only an artistic and literary expression, but a stance against the traditional values of culture and the bourgeois society and against realism in art. He supports the idea of an inner model in all creative acts, of otherness, absolute automatism (applied to poetic and artistic practice) as well as the adoption of meta-artistic methods that come from psychoanalysis, such as hypnosis, which allow the release of human consciousness and a return to a primitive and primordial state of thought.
The works that make up the exhibition Visiones paralelas. Artistas modernos y arte marginal (Parallel Visions. Modern Artists and Marginal Art) encompass questions on the limits of art and the nature of artistic activity - while incorporating romantic traditions and examining the same definition of what art is, this debate looms over twentieth century culture. The studies of Sigmund Freud devoted to the artistic-therapeutic production of psychiatric patients at the beginning of the century and the publication of doctor Hans Prinzhorn's book Bildnerei der Geisteskranken (1922)(Artistry of the Mentally Ill), which includes a collection of art created by the mentally ill and serves as an introduction to their images, form the primary foundations of the search and defence of a new model and paradigm of artistic creativity throughout the first half of the century, expounded by an ongoing reinvention that is not tarnished by established or received culture and traditions. By way of a chronological journey through twentieth-century art, and through premises of dialogues on formal analogies and historical relations, this exhibition endeavours to render the close relationship and interchanges between modern art and the artistic output of marginalised, alienated, mentally ill, self-taught and compulsive visionary figures.
The exhibition entitled El surrealismo en España (Surrealism in Spain) takes a look back at the output in Spain, between 1925 and the Civil War (1936-1939), of almost fifty artists. The period is defined by, or evolves alongside, French Surrealism. Lucía García de Carpi, the exhibit's joint curator with Josefina Alix, points to two factors that cause so-called Spanish Surrealism to gain so much importance. The first being that within the revival of avant-garde art, the artists start to take an active interest in what is being disseminated by the Surrealists in Paris, going beyond the mere receptive nature of European movements. The second involves an heterogeneous style in Spain in terms of language and conception. Their theoretical, literary, exhibiting and artistic approaches bring at least four locations into the spotlight: Madrid (the residency of students and “Telluric” Surrealists Alberto Sánchez and Benjamín Palencia), Catalunya (the ADLAN Group and Logicofobista Group), Tenerife (the setting for Gaceta del Arte, Óscar Domínguez and the International Surrealist Exhibition organisation in 1935) and Zaragoza (Tomas Seral y Casas and Alfonso Buñuel).
This exhibition, focusing on the artistic and literary production of Salvador Dali (Figueras, Spain, 1904-1989) between 1918 and 1930, traces the configuration of the Dali character, from his first successful exhibitions in Figueras until his immersion into Parisian surrealism, including his move to Paris in 1929. For this, all factors (artistic and family) involved in defining his provocative personality are put on display and he finds in Surrealism the ideal setting for the launch of his "anti-artistic" aesthetic project. In this way, this exhibition is a counterweight to André Breton’s view who, in an edition of Le Surréalisme et la peinture (1928/1968), argued that "when Salvador Dali was introduced in 1929 to Surrealism, his earlier work had not announced anything rigorously personal."
Plunged into crisis, the ideas of the European avant-garde of the early twentieth century -including proposals of its own such as Ultraísmo- Spanish criticism faces the first years of the Twenties with the need for a renovation which would involve the insertion of Madrid into the international art scene. The Iberian Artists’ Society was born in late 1924 with the purpose of both renewing art as well as its relationship with the public, because, as highlighted by the signatories in the first Manifesto (Alfar, September 1924): "the horizon of artistic activity is yet to be configured. The sole possible referee is an informed public." In addition to exhibitions, conferences and many specialised magazines, they participated in the revival of Spanish art at a time when one of the main objectives is the transformation of Spanish political cultural defined under the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera (1923 - 1931)
The exhibition Últimas adquisiciones. Material Especial (Latest Acquisitions. Special Material) displays the collection of documents the Centro de Documentación (Documentation Centre) and the Biblioteca (Library) of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía have incorporated into their collections in recent years. In the words of the Museum Library's director, Miguel Valle-Inclán, the work of the centre involves, “gathering together useful research materials in the field of contemporary art with the aim of meeting the demands of museum specialists and the general public.”
When cinema is understood as a synonym of movement, a homage to Luis Buñuel (Calanda, Teruel 1900 - Mexico City, 1983) inside a museum - where static work is the overriding medium - can be seen as a “contradictory” exhibition, as the curator, Yasha David, puts it. With this in mind, the spaces of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía have been set up to create a “subliminal state” resembling the stamp Buñuel gives to his films.
The writer and philosopher Eugenio d'Ors (Barcelona, 1882 - Vilanova i la Geltrú, 1954) is one of the key figures of art criticism in Spain. He is the creator of the Noucentisme concept, which includes a large group of Catalan artists who are Renaixença (Renaissance) heirs. d'Ors has a wealth of literary, critical and historiographical production. His early writings, published in 1899, are followed by the book La muerte de Isidro Nonell (1905), which marks the beginning of a fruitful career and establishes him as an indispensable reference for Spanish intellectuals in the first half of the twentieth century.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is collaborating with the Mexican Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes -as they did in 1996 for the ¿Buñuel! The Eye of the Centuryexhibition- to present at the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City a selection of paintings, sculptures and drawings by the major Spanish artists of the twentieth century. This exhibition is a reflection of Spanish avant-garde key historical figures as well as the most celebrated artists of the second half of the twentieth century. Also present in the exhibition are the creations of artists who have achieved great relevance in the current scene. In this way, the Mexican public is invited to construct a global vision of the Spanish art scene over the last hundred years through this exhibition divided into three chapters.
Under the equation "culture + industry = design,"Diseño industrial en España tries to, on one hand, convey the importance of an industry that in addition to responding to consumer demands and market strategies, is a reflection of post-industrial society, and on the other aims to provide an overview of the evolution of industrial design on the national scene during the twentieth century.