Minimalismos was the title chosen by Anatxu Zabalbeascoa and Javier Rodríguez Marcos for a small book that was published in the year 2000 by the publishing company Gustavo Gili, Barcelona. In it, his vision of the popularisation of the term "minimalism" is told as well as the story of his expansion beyond the visual arts into other areas of expression such as architecture, music and fashion. On this occasion, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía uses them as commissioners for this exhibition that traces the evolution of that historical movement started in the Sixties and which has grown to become one of the most recognisable aesthetic categories today.
It was the critic Richard Wollheim who first used the term "minimalism" in 1965 to refer to the radical reduction proposed by these new trends. Since then, its continued use has proliferated to such a point that it can be used in the plural, as different expressions that refer to a common intention.
This exhibition, structured chronologically, begins in the first rooms with a genealogy of the movement. Work by Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich or Josef Albers refer to the early twentieth century. They are followed by examples from artists who are predecessors of Minimalism: Aurélie Nemours, Ellsworth Kelly, Jorge Oteiza, Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell.
Following those rooms are Orthodox representatives of Minimal Art that determined the basic characteristics of this trend whose objective was to free art from its representational function. For this they used industrial materials and processes which allowed for serial reproduction and eliminated subjective marks so that the work of art would refer exclusively to itself. Donald Judd, Carl André, Dan Flavin, Frank Stella, Robert Morris and Sol LeWitt are present, exhibiting some of their most representative work. Its immediate influence is reflected in the post-minimalist work of Richard Serra, Robert Mangold and Agnes Martin.
However, the final expansion occurs in those contemporary designers who revise Minimalism using its very own vocabulary. The field of visual arts include, on one side sculptors and painters such as Blinky Palermo, Imi Knoebel, Eva Hesse, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Félix González-Torres, Rodney Graham and Gerhard Merz and on the other photographers such as Günter Förg, Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, Jeff Wall, Andreas Gursky and Hiroshi Sugimoto.
The jump to architecture is represented in the exhibition by John Pawson, Tadao Ando, Peter Zumthor, Herzog & De Meuron, Dominique Perrault, Luis Barragán and Rafael Moneo among others. The fashion world has also not been left on the margins of line purification and extreme simplicity. Anni Albers is present in the exhibition as predecessor of the more recent creators such as Issay Miyake, Calvin Klein or Donna Karan.
Minimalism also had a strong impact in the field of musical composition. Silence appeared as the purest musical expression, and led to an interesting debate that continues today. The Museo Reina Sofía in collaboration with the Centro de Difusión de la Música Contemporánea (Centre of Contemporary Music Outreach) has programmed, in order to coincide with the exhibition, a concert cycle that features Tom Johnson, Frédéric Lagnau, Jürg Frey as well as performer Esther Ferrer.