In the nineties critical art starts to take centre stage in the exploits of a generation that are undoubtedly moving away from the constraints of genre, medium and media, continuing the trend started in the sixties by artists such as Joseph Beuys (questioning traditional artistic materials) and Andy Warhol (who established the direct relationship between art, consumption and assembly line production); moreover, there are numerous cases in which critical value ends up as an aesthetic category. Rosemarie Trockel (Schwerte, Germany, 1952) is one of the forerunners of this generation. Intent on questioning images, signs and messages commonly agreed upon by culture and tradition, Trockel's works aim to reflect on the possible alternatives locked in signs, bearing witness to meaning not as an inherent factor, but as something unstable, an historical and contextually conditioned attribute.
Following Artistas Españoles. Obras de los años 80 y 90 en las colecciones del Museo (Spanish Artists. Works from the 80s and 90s in the Museo collections), a complementary exhibition is presented, joining thirty-two works by international artists incorporated in the last three years into the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía's Collection through acquisition, dation or donation. The common denominator of these works, bar the six pieces by Lucio Fontana and one by Barnett Newman, is that they have been produced either in the Eighties or the Nineties; therefore, the exhibition looks to consider these points of contact and connection with the international movements that link Spanish artists.
Unlike other collections such as the Guggenheim, Nasher, Beyeler, Panza di Biumo, Gelman and Sonnabend collections, all of which have been exhibited in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Grothe Collection is remarkable in that is focuses on a very specific number of artists yet forms a complete and representative selection of the artistic career of each and every one.
Atlas is a proposal to put the frame of thought introduced by German art historian Aby Warburg (1866-1929) into the context of historical knowledge and images. This is not a monographic exhibition on Warburg, but a journey through the history of images from 1914 until the present day, where warburgism constitutes the genius loci.