23-27 February 2022
The time in which we live radically modifies our relationship with representations. Images and subjectivity, both at an individual and collective level, have overturned, among other things, the historical Western distinction between figuration and abstraction established by modern art. Our proposal for ARCOmadrid 2022 explores the pictorial, in this difficult task of delving into painting and the meaning of art, as well as the presentation devices that accompany it. The work “Before the law there is a guardian”, by Lluís Hortalà (Olot, 1959), an oil on canvas of capital dimensions, 3.75 meters high by 3 meters wide, turns the wall into an empty museum. This fictional scenario is the one that transfers, in an intertextual gesture, to contemporary reality; with a critique of the policies of inclusion and exclusion that regulate art institutions.
Oriol Vilapuig (Sabadell, 1964) brings together in a polyptych four images that are direct quotes from pre-existing works of the Art tradition and that oscillate between different temporalities. From a 16th century carving to a photograph by Francesca Woodman, through Eduard Munch and a sculpture by Alberto Giacometti. But the direct references to their authors hardly matter here, but rather their movements and turns, those other uses in their assembly operation. In the three videos by Marina Núñez (Palencia, 1966) present at our stand, which were part of her recent individual exhibition Vanitas, at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the artist recovers and reinterprets the traditional still life, vanitas or still life, a genre considered minor and relegated in the past to female painters, to address our current relationship with nature from a post-human, environmentalist and feminist point of view. By Miquel Mont (Barcelona, 1963) we present a selection of works made to be exhibited at the last edition of BGW 2021. Mont’s painting has always been concerned with questioning abstraction, the abstractions that make up painting. In this series of “abstract portraits”, it is through the multiplicity of materials, techniques and formats, that the elusive nature of the affections that bind him to each of the people portrayed has naturally been imposed, in the face of complexity.
In 2020, Gonzalo Elvira (Patagonia, Argentina, 1971) also uses the portrait to establish a correspondence with the Marxist politician and thinker Rosa Luxemburg on the 100th anniversary of her murder. On sheets taken from books on botany and ornithology, Elvira dots with a felt-tip pen portraits of the activist, also known for her profound knowledge of these sciences, as well as geology. By Gonzalo Elvira we also present 12 Concrete Songs, a work that commemorates the centenary of the Monument to the Dead of March designed by Walter Gropius in 1922 and destroyed in 1936 by the Nazi government. This work appropriates the architectural design of the monument and breaks it down into musical notes, creating scores. This interest in volume dialogues with the photograph of Colita (Barcelona, 1970) of the Mies van der Rohe Foundation of large dimensions (100cm x 143cm), as well as with the reflections on architecture in the works of Jean Denant (Sète, Francia, 1979). In his work Constellation, in a gesture similar to that of Elvira when she makes her 12 Concrete Songs, Denant builds vases as offerings composed of remains from the Spanish Civil War refugee camp opened in 1939 in Rivesaltes. Three years earlier, in August 1936, Antoni Campañà (Arbucias, Gerona, 1906) made a series of photographs of the trains painted by the Cartoonists Union with anti-fascist motifs. We expose the original vintage triages, which remained hidden since 1939, with great artistic value, in addition to the documentary. Our proposal closes with the short film, El Sembrador de Estrellas, by Lois Patiño recently presented and awarded at the Berlinale 2022.