The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales present in the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin this exhibition of sixteen artists belonging to the emerging Spanish art scene. The exhibited works mostly come from the Museo Reina Sofía collection and include some pieces made specifically for this occasion, as is the case of installations by Jesús Palomino and Alberto Peral.
The title of the show Big Sur. Neue Spanische Kunst / Arte nuevo español refers to the ninth novel written by American author Jack Kerouac and published in 1962. Big Sur is the name of the place where the star retreats to find spiritual balance and solitude. Closer to a literary or mental space, Big Sur becomes a metaphor for areas of reflection created by artists and for those that transport spectators of his works.
To emphasise the variety of registers that current contemporary art has, different ones have been included in the exhibition: videos, photographs, installations, sculptures, ceramics, painting, drawing and computer works; as proof of an agreement to various artistic techniques by younger artists. Formal diversity and visibility of women artists -seven of the sixteen participants in this exhibition- are some of the more salient features of this exhibition. The recurrent use of paradox as an expressive resource, references to other languages such as film, advertising or music, and cosmopolitanism, understood as global awareness and the ability to receive external influences all stand out in the exhibited pieces.
Enrique Juncosa, the curator of the exhibition, puts the artists on display in four different groups. The first group consists of those artists who already have plenty of experience by the Eighties. These include Antoni Abad who presents a projection entitled Ego (1999); Victoria Civera who exhibits three paintings - Saliendo del paisaje (2000), Bosque de corazones (1991) and Juegos de azar (1991) -and two objects Alacrán I y Alacrán II (2000)- and Darío Urzay with his piece A Negative View-observator virtual (2002).
The second group consists of those artists from the Nineties, such as Ana Laura Aláez who has four videos in the exhibition entitled: Flying myself, Mercurio, Rain and Make-up Sequencies, all made in 2001. In addition, Daniel Canogar participates in the exhibition with the installation Teratologías (2001), Susy Gómez exhibits two photographs and a sculptural installation titled Viento en los dedos (1999-2000), and Marina Núñez presents a series installation La locura (1997). Lastly, Montserrat Soto participates with a polyptych consisting of seven photographs entitled La valla (1997) and Eulàlia Valldosera with the video installation Les Demoiselles de Valence (1999).
The third group consists of two painters who create figuration from its most conceptual. They are Matthew Angel Charris who exhibits three paintings produced in 2002 -September Son, Barca en Colliure and La materia de los sueños- and the painter and photographer José Manuel Ballester who has on display three canvases -New Tate (2000), Terraza de verano (2000) and Sala 4 (1999)- and two photographs, Túnel rojo (2001) and Oficina (2000).
Finally, the fourth group is composed of five artists who have become known during the second half of the Nineties. This group includes: Pilar Albarracín with three videos: Tortilla a la española (1998), La Cabra (2000) and Prohibido el cante (2000); Carles Congost with his installation Popcorn Love (2001), exhibited this year in Espacio Uno of the Museo Reina Sofia, Jesus Palomino with an installation consisting of twenty-four drawings and waste materials, Alberto Peral, also with a sculptural installation consisting of carpets and exotic references and Javier Pérez exhibiting his sound installation La torre del sonido (1999).