press release

Opens: 5 June 2008, 7.30 pm

Da capo is a term placed at the end of a piece of music to tell musicians to repeat the music “from the beginning.” MACBA dedicates this retrospective exhibition to the work of Francesc Torres. Its title makes reference to a vision of the human condition related both to history and time, and which questions the nature of evolution. At the very least, it questions the idea of improvement so present in our concept of the modern by investigating the folds and wanderings that let us glimpse the animal that civilization has still not been able to domesticate.

Francesc Torres (Barcelona, 1948) is the author of a very vast and varied body of work that fundamentally runs in opposition to the humanist vision of society. His multimedia installations representing speed, competition and machismo as sources and expressions of violence are well-known. Equally present in his work are war as a sophisticated and cultured expression of this violence and the fragility of historical memory in the face of political manipulation. Torres lived in Paris from 1967 to 1969, in the United States between 1972 and 2002 and in Berlin from 1986 to 1988, where he finished an essential part of his work that is still unknown to us. Neither the retrospective which the Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Centre dedicated to him in 1991, nor the creation of specific works in Barcelona or in Valencia between 1991 and 1996 were respectively able to give a complete vision of the artist. The exhibition the MACBA now dedicates to him represents a reading of the artist's work in museum tones, and also includes a "response" from the artist to the museum's reading in the form of new works created specifically for this occasion.

The exhibition includes a recompilation of Torres' works created from late 1960s up to the present day in which the influence of poetry –which the artist has developed through extensive written work over the years– can be appreciated, alongside his cultivation of artwork centred on the search for objectivity. Interested in the nature of the object, Torres has evolved toward an analysis of biological systems where the use of natural elements (water, air, earth, etc.) appears. In the mid-1970s, performances and actions that translated into installations gave way to investigation into new media in the creation of impacting and theatrical large-format works. Largely created as in situ works, they cannot be re-contextualised. However, the exhibition at the MACBA puts emphasis on unknown or little known aspects of his work, such as, for example, the importance of drawing, or the artist's work in connection with the excavations of a mass grave from the Spanish Civil War by a team from the Autonomous University of Madrid and the Association for the Recuperation of Historical Memory. This work consists of a series of large-format black and white photographs recently presented at the ICP in New York.

The exhibition will be rounded off with the publication of a monographic work bringing together a selection of texts written and published by Francesc Torres from the 1970s up to the present. Selected and edited by Iria Candela, these texts clearly show Torres' committed and combative spirit relating to collective memory, the "black holes" of the Spanish political transition to democracy, a chaotic art world and the role of the artist in relation to society, political discourse and institutions. The publication also includes texts by Antonio Monegal, Francesc Torres and Bartomeu Marí, curator of the exhibition. Lastly, Da capo clearly shows the figure of the artist as a polemicist of his times, as an integral and active intellectual building a public sphere that goes beyond purely aesthetic questions without forgetting the power of sense and sensibility to make art relevant.

Curator: Bartomeu Marí Produced by: Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

only in german

Francesc Torres. Da capo
Kuratoren: Manuel Borja-Villel, Bartomeu Mari