This celebratory exhibition of the opening of the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía amalgamates three internationally renowned Spaniards: Eduardo Chillida, Antonio Saura and Antoni Tàpies beside three of the finest artistsom the second half of the twentieth century: Georg Baselitz, Cy Twombly and Richard Serra. The lack of historical and stylistic common ground that joins them here as well as the origins and diverse time periods of each has led the art critic, Francisco Calvo Serraller, to call the confluence an “eccentric encounter” in the exhibition notes. Having said that, is is in fact possible to consider the convergence of some of them in terms of the purpose and intent of their work. For instance, Saura clearly shares certain Expressionist references with Baselitz; the poetic and gestural nature of the material and the presence of calligraphy are also common in Tàpies and Twombly, and the preponderance of three-dimensions in Chillida's and Serra's work gives rise to analogical origins of their way of conceiving artistic creation.
The basement has been set aside for this pictorial work, while the sculptures have been placed on the upper floor; therefore, Richard Serra's Equal-Parallel: Guernica-Bengasi, a piece created exclusively for this exhibition and the room it is being exhibited in, can be seen on Floor 1. This large-scale sculpture is made with corten steel, which he starts to use around this time, and is in contrast to his previous work - a paradigmatic example of the balance between the expression of the material and the elemental nature of form.
Wheras Chillida's unique conception of space is visible in this exhibition through his works realised between 1959 and 1986. Salient among these is the homage to Goethe - who died pleading for more light - and two corten steel tables, one from 1983 inspired by Omar Khayyam, the Persian mathematician and poet of wine, love and the shortness of life, and another from 1986 dedicated to Luca Paccioli, author of the Divine Proportion.
Cy Twombly's work revolves around Western classicism, using it as a poetic reflection. Among his large-scale canvases on display in the exhibition Cnidian Venus (1967) and Anabasis (1983) stand out for their connection to mythological themes.
Antoni Tàpies' works exhibited here, carried out between 1963 and 1985, are dominated by greys, blacks and ochres that contrast with other more intense tones. Collage de cabellos (1985), the most recent work in which visitors will be able to discern real hair affixed to the surface of the canvas to show the diversity of the materials commonly used by the Catalan artist.
The human face and body take centre stage in Antonio Saura's painting, with a selection spanning from 1959 to 1985. Various crucifixionsppear in the exhibition, one of which is inspired by Velázquez' Cristo Crucificado (ca. 1632). Saura also pays homage to another great as he alludes to Perro enterrado en la arena (1820) by Francisco de Goya in his piece El perro de Goya nº 1, from 1985.
The exhibition comes to a close with Baselitz's inverted figures as they employ the gesturalism characteristicc of his work, as seen in pieces such as Águila (1978) and Veronika (1983).