Throughout his career as a sculptor, Jaume Plensa (Barcelona, 1955) has drawn on spirituality, the body and collective memory as the primary sources which tie together his visual artwork. Literature, psychology, biology, language and history become strategic tools in the creation of his work, and, through a broad spectrum of materials — steel, cast iron, resin, glass, water, sound — Plensa lends weight and physical volume to the components of the human condition and the ephemeral.
In the context of the MA in Contemporary Art History and Visual Culture organised by the Museo Reina Sofia Study Centre in conjunction with the universities Autonomous (UAM) and Complutense (UCM) of Madrid, the Library and Documentation Centre's Espacio D presents Lost Modernities. Bauhaus and Spain, an academic exercise and exhibition arranged by a group of students from the MA's Art Theory and Critique itinerary.
The Map and the Territory is the first major Luigi Ghirri retrospective to go on show outside the artist’s native Italy. The focus of the exhibition rests on the 1970s, a key period in the expansion of the suburbs and the service economy, the emergence of conceptual art and the mainstreaming of Pop and its strategies of appropriation.
Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012) is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most important and multifaceted women artists, an association, however, which she spurned: “Women artists. There is no such thing — or person. It’s just as much a contradiction in terms as ‘man artist’ or ‘elephant artist’. You may be a woman and you may be an artist; but the one is a given and the other is you”.
Founded in Paris in 1984 by Colombian theatre and visual artists Heidi, Elizabeth and Rolf Abderhalden, Mapa Teatro moved to Bogotá in 1986. Since its inception, this artists’ laboratory has developed its own cartography in the sphere of “living arts”, in a space which is conducive to transgressing borders — geographical, linguistic, artistic — and to staging local and global concerns by way of different devices and formats.
The collective of photographers which operated under the name AFAL Group hailed from the publication AFAL, a magazine specialised in film and photography, published over a six-year period, from 1956 to 1963, and coordinated from Almería by José María Artero García (Almería, 1928–1991) and Carlos Pérez Siquier (Almería, 1930).
This exhibition explores Russian avant-garde art through the perspective of the Anti-art canons associated with the international Dada movement. The anti-academic work of Kazimir Malevich to eclipse classical art and the transrational language experiments (zaum) of Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksei Kruchenykh are just some of the early contributions which substantiate the reasoning behind this show.
The Portuguese-born Brazilian artist Artur Barrio (Porto, 1945), winner of the Velázquez Prize for Plastic Arts in 2011, has been one the foremost figures of Action Art and conceptualisms in Latin America since he burst on to the Brazilian art scene in the late 1960s, at a time fraught with political tension and mounting repression under the military dictatorship. Interventions in public spaces and the search for a place of expression outside art institutions converge in this artist as a symbol of resistance to poeticise daily life, with the body of the artist the focal point of these actions in a critique of social coercion.
The sculptures and installations of Nairy Baghramian revise inherited forms and concepts as they address notions such as functionality, abstraction and feminism. With a clear reference to Art History and modern architecture, notably Minimalism and Surrealism, the artist calls into question the strain that exists between aspects such as function and ornament, industry and craft, among others. The sculptures in this exhibition, made out of glass, zinced metal and resin, assume organic forms where visible protuberances and recesses in human physiology and subjectivity, as well as interior design and decorative objects, resound.
The exhibition Comics Revisited highlights the crossings of the comics genre and the visual arts. Born at the end of the nineteenth century after many historic precursors, it underwent various mutations with respect to its forms and publics. When Stéphane Mallarmé wrote that ‘everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book’, today it seems that everything, from the Bible to the most iconic literary masterpiece, ends up in a comic.
The exhibition Pessoa. All Art Is a Form of Literature takes its title from a quote by Álvaro de Campos, one of the most avant-garde heteronyms created by Fernando Pessoa (Lisbon, 1888–1935), and published in the influential Portuguese magazine presença.
The photography of Marc Pataut (Paris, 1952) is structured around the formulation of research projects which address those political and human issues which often stand outside art institutions’ parameters.
The work of Beatriz González (Bucaramanga, 1938), widely regarded as one of the seminal artists from the Colombian art scene, occupies a unique place in the history of Latin American art — not only is she a pioneer of Pop Art, but also, almost without calculation, an incisive and coherent chronicler of recent Colombian history.