The Palacio de Velázquez is the venue for the exhibition organised by Grupo 16 in collaboration with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. El Salón de los 16 is an initiative by the editorial group to promote the dissemination of Contemporary Art. In its first editions this annual conference focuses on bringing together the work of new generations of artists from Madrid though, as time moves on, the El Salón de los 16 broadens its plan to incorporate the whole of Spain. This, the eleventh exhibition, displays foreign artists' work alongside preeminent figures in Spanish art in what is considered an overview of the best exhibitions from 1990-1991.
The Spanish artists selected here include Esteban Vicente, with five oil on canvas paintings produced in 1989, Gabriel Halevi with five works from the series Catón (1991) and Antoni Llena, with five pieces from 1990 using a mixed media technique combining collage and painting that belongs to the series Epifanía. Manolo Quejido is another of the chosen artists with his five acrylic on canvas pieces from the series Tabique, created between 1990 and 1991. Chema Cobo presents the sculpture Draw a Blank (1990) and four paintings that include Historia (1990) and Destino (1990).
The previous generation is represented by the painters Xosé Artiaga, with five canvases from the series Presencias (1991-92); Ricardo Cadenas with works such as Mapamundi (1991) and Autorretrato (1991) and Jesús Mari Lazkano with five acrylic pieces produced between 1990 and 1991, which include I. K. Brunel (1990) and Two cities as one III (1991). These are joined by works from the sculptor Jaume Plensa with Nuage (1991) and Fleuve (1991) and two large-scale works on paper from the series Continents (1991).
The international artists that feature in the exhibition include Francisco Infante from Russia who presents three gouache pieces entitled Projects for the Reconstruction of The Starry Sky (1965-67) and a collection of fourteen photographs from the series Supremacist Games, Complements, The Life of a Triangle, Peregrinación de cuadrado (Square Pilgrimage), Hearth of Deformed Space, Combinatoria and Disappearance of the Shadow and Land Art, produced between 1968 and 1984. The Italian artist Valerio Adami also exhibits six works, four acrylic on canvas pieces, which include Hamlet (1989) and Paysage Héroïque (1989) and two works with black stone on wallpaper. The Austrian artist Arnulf Rainer (Baden, Austria, 1929) presents ten mixed media technique works from the Goya Faces (1983-84), accompanied by six works painted with his hands.
Furthermore, the US is represented by Sol Hewitt, who exhibits two large drawings realised in situ from the Wall Drawings (1991) series; five works from 1990 by Joseph Kosuth: four photographs on methacrylate and a silk screen print on glass with text and neon. These include Este atlas es inútil (This Atlas is Useless) and De todos los demás (From all the Rest). Finally, Julian Schnabel exhibits five painted bronze sculptures, realised in 1989 that form part of the series Epitaph (Tomb Panel) and the series Ajax the Lesser.
The combination of these artists reflects the diversity of Spanish painting as it oscillates between such diverse forms of expression such as Abstraction, Pictorial Realism and New Figuration, demonstrating how it takes on international trends such as Pop Art and American Abstract Expressionism. The particular interest in selecting and exhibiting the latest work by the participating artists enables the exhibition to provide a global vision of current art spheres.