The global financial crisis, caused by the housing bubble bursting in 2008, abruptly halted the expansion the Spanish economy had enjoyed since the 1980s, sparking a rise in inequality and instability. The occupy movements taking over squares in 2011 constituted a critical moment in the social response to class difference and the impoverishment of much of the population. These multiple and transversal forms of resistance were inscribed in a cycle of interconnected global uprisings that introduced a logic of the commons in the struggle to rebuild society. Those that camped out in the streets became a metaphor of community, a new form of occupying public space that followed on from the carnival aesthetic of the anti-globalisation cycle. An affirmative form of resistance that set out to collectively rethink the world in which we live.
The current geological era is characterised by the far-reaching human impact on the Earth, activity which has engendered sweeping changes to the landscape stemming from the climate crisis, the pandemic and the avaricious consumption of available resources: a reality that debunks the linear time of progress and the need for an interconnected and counter-apocalyptic future; a post-human condition, as Rosi Braidotti interprets it, that incorporates not only other species, but nature as a whole.
The works selected in these rooms pinpoint the Mediterranean as a complex geopolitical space, one of the planet’s hot spots and the stage for some of the main conflicts devastating Europe over the past 25 years: the crisis of civilisations, wars and displacements. Exodus and Communal Life is the last chapter in the new presentation of the Museo Reina Sofía Collection, which, in its different bifurcations, works as a visual essay that re-examines the disarray of the twentieth century, to which the material conditions inside of which artworks are produced are not alien. Understood as a symptom and a contextual element of their historical juncture, these works can also serve as a tool to question and overcome it.