This exhibition makes up part of the season Plataformas de la Vanguardia en España (Avant-garde Platforms in Spain), organised by the Centro de Documentación of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, with the aim of re-examining galleries and the most salient names in the study and dissemination of contemporary Spanish art. On this occasion, a large number of documents (photographs, journals, catalogues, etc.) have been brought together to facilitate the reconstruction of the undertakings of the Madrid gallery Multitud (1974-1978) and the exhibitions it housed.
According to the art critic, Eugenio Carmona, the gallery was designed to “unmask the falseness of the approaches surrounding Spanish art and recover a lost consciousness”. Orígenes de la vanguardia española (1920-1936), the gallery's first exhibition, held in 1974, was defined by the members of the Multitud outfit (Paco Rocha, Miguel Ángel Fernández, María Paz Pérez Piñán) as being “like the corner of a street, or the clock tower in a plaza, that with everyone's help can reconstruct forgotten encounters.” The gallery's interest in recognising the culture of the República must also be mentioned. The exhibitions Crónica de la pintura española de postguerra: 1940-1960 (October-November, 1976), Carlos Sáez de Tejada. Exposición antológica 1897-1958 (November, 1977) and Ramón Gaya (May, 1978) represent the organisers' and collaborators' determination to turn the gallery into a meeting place for people and two periods of recent history, as well as their efforts to ensure their projects were not politicised.
The Multitud gallery's explosion on the Spanish art scene had an impact on the sphere of art criticism, historiography and institution, thus explaining Carmona's claims that it “surpassed the typology of an art gallery” after becoming an exhibition centre and alternative space, even “constituting a platform for demanding a new awareness of twentieth-century cultural traditions in Spain's plastic arts.”
The origins of the Multitud spirit can be traced back to Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, the teacher of the majority of the gallery's creators who opened their eyes to mostly obscure artists and books. Without prejudice, and with a significant critical determination, they put forward highly lucid re-readings of diverse artistic trends and set out to recover movements such as Surrealism and Cubism, or artists such as Maruja Mallo and Leandre Cristòfol.
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