Nacho Criado. Pieces of water and glass

6 march, 1991 - 1 may, 1991 /
Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro, Madrid
Exhibition view. Nacho Criado. Pieces of water and glass, 1991
Exhibition view. Nacho Criado. Pieces of water and glass, 1991

In this exhibition at the Crystal Palace, Nacho Criado (Mengíbar, 1943 - Madrid, 2010) submitted eight new projects under the theme Pieces of water and glass, where the pieces merge with the materiality of architecture and the enclave of the building, in front of a small lake in Retiro Park. In this way, glass is the common element in all the presented pieces, which he emphasises as visual antimatter (in the Duchampesque sense of the term) and in which he also explores their sensual, symbolic and especially metaphorical loads. The pieces that make up the exhibition have been chosen especially for the exhibition but - as indicated by the exhibition curator, Simon Marchan - it must be noted that there are certain recurrences in them "as they reflect a dilated time, almost untimely, to creations that reject nomadism and ooze manifestations of the present." In that way, within an artistic career influenced by his forays into Land Art, Conceptual Art, Arte Povera and even the Minimal, without categorically ascribing to any of them, Nacho Criado uses glass to set up games of transparency and reflection, and for this he also alludes to and envokes, explicitly or implicitly, water.

The piece Ellos no pueden venir esta noche…(1990) is composed of a large rectangular framework made of glass surrounded by an iron structure which supports a range of extended fishing rods, creating a sort of architectural structure. The same goes for his review of ¿Por qué no? Bésale el culo al mono performance created in 1980 which is now shown on glass. Other examples, such as the piece Umbra Zenobia, are site specific works based on the idea of veiling - shadowing -the northern part of the palace, covering its windows and promoting the development of microorganisms (fungi). Even if glass is the most common material in his works, this glass occurs in various different forms. In Trasvase, he uses black and transparent bottles arranged in "quasi-military form that emphasises the possibility of an almost infinite, virtual occupation of space"; In Imágenes húmedas he introduces mirrors, which, covering the glass that make up the walls of the building, set up inversion locations and reveal the ambiguity between interior and exterior space.

Being a glass palace and with La herida alpina Nacho Criado pays homage to the writer Paul Scheerbart and architect Bruno Taut for their glass architectures, firstly theorising it and secondly projecting it. Architecture plays an important role in this exhibition, as the reason and argument of many of his works: Cúpula monogótica and Epílogo irrealizado, basing the last one on the reflection of Crystal Palace on the lake, but transferred to a glass plate. The economy of means, the mathematical precision in the conception and the perfect and clean execution are constant and visible values present in all the pieces in this exhibition.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Simón Marchán Fiz