Dennis Oppenheim (Electric City, USA, 1938), educated at the California School of Arts and Crafts, moves to New York in 1967 where he becomes one of the forerunners of Conceptual Art and a pioneer in performance. He gains public recognition at the end of the Sixties as he forms part of a generation of artists that disseminate Land Art, though his penchant for experimentation also leads him to explore Body Art, photography and video installation, among other artistic languages.
The exhibition, entitled Dennis Oppenheim. Taller de investigación sobre fondos del Museo Reina Sofía (Research Workshop on the content of the Museo Reina Sofía), includes three photographs and four installations corresponding to the different stages of his expansive career and ventures into divergent artistic perspectives. These seven pieces by Oppenheim, belonging to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Collection, form part of the innovative project “Preserving and re-installation of installation Art (2004-2007)”, promoted by the European Commission and The Instituut Collectie Nederland (ICN). The Museo Reina Sofía is the co-organiser of the project together with other important European museums, and is also the coordinator of the Spanish group, made up of the Museo Guggenheim in Bilbao, MACBA, Fundación La Caixa, IVAM, CAAC and ARTIUM-Vitoria. One of the aims of the project is the participation of the artist in forming a criteria that is unified by the conservation and assembly of contemporary art installations. To this end, the artist has been present in the Museo, along with the Department of Restoration and Conservation, which has spent one week assembling his pieces. Furthermore, in addition to the photographs and installations, the exhibition also includes a video documenting the intensive days he spent working with the staff from the Museo.
The interest and significance of the project stem from the characteristics and specific nature of the installations. The production process of these installations and the relationship between the artist and his work within a context of creation and exhibition, pose new challenges in terms of the conservation, maintenance, restoration, re-installation and dissemination of the work within a museum environment and in terms of the artist being able to transmit his experience and the original meaning for future generations.