Pedro Laín Entralgo’s statment, "There is a Generación del 27, the one of poets, and another Generación del 27, those of the "reformers” -the creators rather- of contemporary humour" is a reflection that frames this exhibition on those artists who devoted their creative efforts to what Ramón Gómez de la Serna -intellectual father of this generation and protagonist of an exhibition dedicated to him at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía- calls "humourism".
The Twenties and Thirties were the golden age of Spanish humour. The atmosphere seemed to proliferate it, humorous manifestations began to reproduce in different media and formats. In his essay La Deshumanización del Arte (The Dehumanisation of Art) Ortega y Gasset described humour as an inherent quality of youth inspiration and a feature of the new aesthetic. Indeed, humour is not kept to the margins of avant-garde movements; it knew how to reinterpret it on a different level.
This tribute to the "other generation" focuses on eight key names on the Spanish humour scene during the Twenties and Thirties: Antoniorrobles, Bon, Enrique Jardiel Poncela, K-Hito, José López Rubio, Miguel Mihura, Edgar Neville and Tono. The desire of all of them to reach the public and ensure as much exposure as possible led them to choose cinema, newspapers and magazines, the mass media of the time, as fundamental vehicles of expression. Their wit was initially transmitted through the magazine Buen Humor, first published in 1921.
Newsstand magazines were booming and many of them chose humour as editorial lines. The artists in this exhibition had a close relationship with some of the more notable publications from these years. José López Rubio was editor of the illustrated Semanario Satírico. K-Hito was director of the Semanario español de humorismo and of Macaco a children's newspaper. Antoniorrobles managed El perro, el ratón y el gato, Semanario de las niñas, los chicos, los bichos y las muñecas. Miguel Miura was in charge of the Semanario de los soldados and created and directed the legendary humour magazine La Codorniz from 1941 to 1944.
Theatre, film and narrative were successfully carried out by many of them. Poncela and Mihura excelled in theatre of the absurd. López Rubio had a busy career as a playwright and was deeply immersed in the world of cinema for over a decade in Hollywood, an industry that Poncela and Neville also worked in. Antoniorrobles’ dedication to teaching led him to revive the children's book, trying to find an active insertion of children into the real world without relinquishing fantasy. During the Twenties Neville published various stories and novels as well as a play written jointly with López Rubio. There was an extensive artistic dimension by Bon and K-Hito, expert caricaturists and by Tono whose geometric designs caught the attention of the French press.
This exhibition presents a comprehensive overview of the activities of these multidisciplinary artists through a collection of magazines, posters, books, drawings, scenery and diverse objects with the aim of bringing the public close to the creative genius of these eight artists, masters of Spanish humour.