This exhibition compiles a selection of forty-six Spanish artists belonging to the Telefónica España Collection of Contemporary and Avant-garde Art, loaned to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in 1997. The artists present in the exhibit work with Abstraction from 1950 to 2000 and are linked to both Informalism and geometry. The El Paso, Parpalló and Pórtico groups, Basque sculptors, and “Spaniards in New York” predominate the development of quality abstraction that, by and large, is prevalent in second half of the 20th century in Spain.
Martín Chirino's iron sculpture Composición (1955) opens proceedings along with the work Hierro y piedra (1956) by Pablo Serrano, another of the El Paso group sculptors. These are joined by work from other key figures such as: Rafael Canogar, Manolo Millares, Antonio Saura and Manuel Rivera. Before this collective is formed in 1957 there is already other groups of artists in Spain: the Pórtico group, founded in Zaragoza in 1947 that follows a line of Expressionist Abstraction; Fermín Aguayo, who forms part of this group, is represented with Paysage aux peupliers (1960). One year later Dau al Set emerges in Barcelona, a collective with interests in Surrealism and Dadaism; two artists belonging to the group are present here: Modest Cuixart and Antoni Tàpies.
The Parpalló group, established in Valencia in 1956, symbolises another core part of Abstraction in Spain, and the exhibition includes the painters Manuel Hernández Mompó and Eusebio Sempere and sculptor Andreu Alfaro from the group.
Equipo 57, with its stance against the commodification of art and in favour of collectivity, is represented in the exhibition via Composición (1959). The group's beginnings develop around the figure of Jorge Oteiza, while other renowned sculptors join him in the exhibition, for instance Ángel Ferrant and Eduardo Chillida.
The group from Cuenca emerges around the artist Fernando Zóbel, who funds the Museum of Abstract Art in Cuenca with his collection, is a reference point in Spain. He is joined here by Gerardo Rueda and Gustavo Torner.
The development of Abstraction in the Fifties and Sixties generates certain classifications, Material Abstraction, for instance, which includes César Manrique and Lucio Muñoz. Furthermore, Geometric Abstraction is represented by Joan Hernández Pijuán and Pablo Palazuelo, while Lyrical Abstraction is symbolised by José Guerrero, Esteban Vicente, Albert Ràfols-Casamada and Salvador Victoria, among others.
In the Eighties a kind of Abstraction materialises that takes on board previous paradigms and opens up internationally. This is reflected in the exhibition through painters such as Miguel Ángel Campano, Gerardo Delgado, Jordi Teixidor, Santiago Serrano, José Manuel Broto, Juan Uslé, José María Sicilia, and in sculpture Cristina Iglesias, Susana Solano and Sergi Aguilar.
Finally, there is Eclectic Abstraction from the last generation to feature in the exhibition. These works convey great formal freedom, embodied in the work of Ángel Guache, Daniel Verbis and Blanca Muñoz.
28 February – 1 July 2024
Olga de Soto
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Ulla von Brandenburg
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What They Saw
Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843-1999Library and Documentation Centre