Val del Omar: The Mechanical Mysticism of Cinema

30 january, 2015 - 10 january, 2016

The work of José Val del Omar (Granada, 1904 – Madrid, 1982) has coexisted alongside the Museo Reina Sofía from the very beginning, from the time it opened as an Art Centre in 1986. His film Fuego en Castilla (Fire in Castilla) participated in Procesos: cultura y nuevas tecnologías (Processes: Culture and New Technology), one of the three exhibitions on view when the Centre opened to the public. His films would subsequently be shown in two audiovisual programmes, but it wasn’t until November 2009 that they were seen for the first time within the context of the Museo’s collection. The screening of Triptych elemental de España (Elementary Triptych of Spain) reflected a declaration of intent regarding the recovery of his work – representing, in its creative complexity, a connection between past avant-garde movements and the dawn of video practices in the 1960s – with the aim of incorporating it into the institution’s collections. At that time, research and the restoration of part of the archive conserved by his son-in-law, Gonzalo Sáenz de Buruaga, had already got under way for the retrospective exhibition Desbordamiento de Val del Omar (Val del Omar. Overflow), curated by Eugeni Bonet and presented in 2010, initially in the Centro José Guerrero de Granada and subsequently in the Museo Reina Sofía.

The efforts of the Museo to restore and digitise the vast majority of the film work produced by this artist from Granada, as well as disseminating it via the touring exhibition in the Palau de la Virreina, in Barcelona, and CAAM in Las Palmas, were reflected in the donation made by the Val del Omar family of his films, followed by practically the entirety of his body of work.

The Museo’s main commitment upon acquiring and accepting the donation and collection was to provide the public with access to his work via new platforms and spaces that went beyond the film theatre. In 2012, the Museo devoted six rooms of the Collection to the presentation of a significant part of the ensemble. The revised selection is the one currently travelling between three Spanish art institutions on account of the invaluable support of the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation, whose social and education project places citizens’ access to culture among its main priorities.

Exhibition organised by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and produced by “La Caixa” Obra Social (Social Benefit Programme).

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Reina Sofía and Obra Social “la Caixa”
Cristina Cámara
Exhibition Tour: 

MEIAC, Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo: January 30 - April 12, 2015
CGAC, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea: April 24 - August 30, 2015
Laboral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial: September 23, 2015 - January 10, 2016