Ramón Gomez de la Serna (Madrid, 1988 - Buenos Aires, 1963) is one of the artists who introduce the avant-garde to Spain. At the same time he is a pioneer of a trend characterised by humour, which the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía pays tribute to in Los humoristas del 27. This exhibition is held a few months before this one, which presents the character of this prolific writer, inventor of the universal greguerías.
This exhibition is dedicated to Ismos (1931), where Gómez de la Serna makes a comprehensive review of the aesthetic currents that, in his personal opinion, are most influential on the creative scene during that period. Contact with the French capital and his participation in the intellectual circle of Madrid, especially in gatherings at the café Pombo turn him into the privileged reporter of the day. Gómez de la Serna experiences first-hand the glory years of the great -isms and senses their end around 1931.
This exhibition brings together paintings, sculptures, engravings, drawings, objects, posters, film stills, etc., with the purpose of illustrating the contents from the twenty chapters in Ismos.
The section Apollinerism is dedicated to the inventor of the ideogram and the calligram, it includes some of his books and Max Jacob’s gouache titled Guillaume Apollinaire et sa muse (1910). Following that is Picassism dedicated to the cubist Pablo Picasso; here there are eight of his works among which are the oil painting Le compotier (1910), from the Museo Reina Sofía Collection, Guitare sur un table (1921) and Buste de femme (1926), along with the covers and interior which he designs for Le chef d’oeuvre inconnu by Honoré de Balzac.
Futurism displays works by Benedetta Marinetti along with La proclama futurista a los españoles published by Ramón Gómez de la Serna in 1910 in the magazine Prometeo. The chapter Negrism is exemplified by thirteen figures of black art, many present in Gómez de la Serna’s office. The Luminism refers to new designs such as Sillón Weissenhof (1927) by Mies van der Rohe. Klaxism refers to the Brazilian magazine Klaxon and the automotive world, with objects relating to the Michelin man or an Austin Seven.
The article El hijo de los muebles nuevos (1928) illustrating Estantifermism, is followed by Toulouselautrecism, with lithographs such as Divan Japonais (1892) that recall the French creator. Stuffed animals belonging to the chapter Monstruosism, about Dr. L. Chaveau. In Archipenkism there are six pieces such as Femme drapée (1911) and Torso in space (1935) by sculptor Alexander Archipenko.
The latest developments come together in Maquinism, like the Pathé portable gramophone, along with photographs from the Thirties of Ladislav Emil Berka and Horacio Coppola, among others. Lhotenism is dedicated to works by André Lhote; there are seven on display, including Les Baigneuses (1935) and Le 14 juillet en Avignon (1923). The Delaunay couple appear in Simultanism, followed by the series of lithographs Le tumulte noir (1927) by Paul Colin, along with posters and vinyl covers as proof of Jazzbandism.
Humorism -which is not a genre but an attitude towards life- is shown in books by Gómez de la Serna: Caprichos, Ramonismo, El incongruente and several editions of his greguerías, among others. Lipchitzmo, Tubularism and Ninfism are sections devoted to Jacques Lipchitz, Fernand Léger and Marie Laurencin. Dadaism pays tribute to Man Ray and Francis Picabia and Charlotism does so with the character of Chaplin. In Suprarrealism André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Jean Arp, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí come together.Botellism features compositions by Amédée Ozenfant. Riverism presents the portrait: Retrato de Ramón Gómez de la Serna (1915) by Diego Rivera and other works, drawings by Luis Bagaría and paintings by María Blanchard. Novelism is a tribute to the short story and Serafism is dedicated to Jean Cocteau and includes the portrait by Lipchitz from 1920.
The exhibition concludes with the circus-like appendix reminiscent of Gómez de la Serna pleasure in the world of clowns, which is reflected in his work El Circo (1917).
Ismos is the epitome of all these trends -some very well-known and others named for the first time by Gómez de la Serna’s ingenuity- and a reference reading that reflects the great blossoming European culture of his generation, and that this exhibition helps display.