Isidoro Valcárcel Medina (Murcia, 1937) is one of the pre-eminent representatives of Spanish conceptual art, and the winner of the National Award for Plastic Arts in 2007 and the Velázquez Prize in 2015. His body of work, with its committed stance and removed from art’s commercial side, cannot be placed easily in customary exhibition spaces and contexts, and is developed within and uses a wide array of formats — films, sound pieces, actions, architecture projects, etc. — which are markedly multi-disciplinary and focus on building situations and circumstances, moving beyond the art object.
One of the mediums the artist has used more extensively in his investigations is the book and publishing format, understood as artistic practice. His art-making in this field has not only seen him focus on exploring its formal and material dimensions, in an attempt to cross through the limits and ideas traditionally associated with these objects, but also recognise its conceptual quality as a vehicle of ideas and knowledge.
Many of his reflections around the book concept are evinced in his work ilimit, created in 2012 for the publishing and art space Ivorypress in a nine-volume edition with two artist’s proofs. The work explores the contrast between the concepts of limited and unlimited as it sets forth a reflection around the terms seriation and exclusiveness, both frequent in the art world. Each of the volumes of ilimit is made up of 500 pages, and is unique and signed and numbered by the artist. The content of these pages is solely their ordinal numbering in a total of 58 languages; numbering that is correlative, volume after volume, from page 1 to page 4,500. The nine volumes present in this show are displayed for the first time in the Museo, and are joined by different archive documents which afford greater depth in this artistic and publishing project and in the conceptual process developed by the artist to shape the work.
This document-based exhibition is part of the exhibition programme organised by Ivorypress in 2021 and 2022 in conjunction with its twenty-fifth anniversary, culminating in different exhibitions materialising and coming into being in collaboration with international museums, libraries and universities from different countries, for instance the Neues Museum in Berlin, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, The British Library in London and the Museo de Bellas Artes in Bilbao, among others. Ivorypress was founded in London in 1996 by Elena Ochoa as a publishing house specialised in artists’ books. Since then, with numerous publishing projects, its activity has opened out to different areas related to contemporary art, and also acts as an exhibition space, specialist bookshop, contemporary art consultancy and curatorship space, as well as producing audiovisual content and its own education programme.
Monday to Friday, from 9am to 9pm
Documentary exhibitions, Library and Documentation Centre
Exhibition information sheet: ilimit. Isidoro Valcárcel Medina
21 February - 24 June 2024
The Practice of Art
1 December 2023 – 10 March 2024
Ulla von Brandenburg
29 November 2023 - 11 March 2024
15 November 2023 - 4 March 2024
The Turning Point
4 October 2023 - 26 February 2024
23 February – 7 June 2024
What They Saw
Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843-1999Library and Documentation Centre