press release

85 works by 50 artists from around the world dealing with experience, time and conflict from 1959 to the present.

A museum collection is not only one of its main working areas, but also what configures that museum’s identity. With a twenty-year history and more than 5,000 works, the MACBA Collection wants to be open to the present and reflect it in a manner that responds to the changes in today’s world. Built as a network around different discourses, on this occasion MACBA Collection 31 offers some artistic itineraries through three main areas: experience, time and conflict. The exhibition includes 85 works by 50 artists of various generations from around the world, representing a chronological period of over five decades, from 1959 to 2014.

MACBA Collection 31

In the 1960s, many artists were interested in the condition of the artwork itself, as well as in natural processes, their perception and the possibilities they offered for experimentation. During this period when artistic norms were being questioned and the barriers between disciplines broken down, artists began to adopt a more political stand in their practice and embraced the new technologies of the time.

The General System Theory, a treatise by Ludwig von Bertalanffy that provided an interdisciplinary approach to looking at systems, had a great influence on artists such as Hans Haacke. This is the starting point for this exhibition, featuring artists such as Haacke, Cildo Meireles, Muntadas and Àngels Ribé, with works that focus on perception and the role of the senses. The manner in which individuals can affect natural cycles and the incorporation of the body as raw material open multiple possibilities for artistic expression, giving way to action and performance. The works by Fina Miralles, Jordi Benito and Francesc Abad are prime examples of this. Video, which was by then starting to be used as a document and a new language, was the medium adopted by pioneering artists such as Joan Jonas and Dan Graham, for whom art was the experience of movement and time. Duration and the perception of the time factor are at the centre of the installations of David Lamelas and Hans-Peter Feldmann.

While working with one’s own body implies perception of movement and time, when we focus on the presence of others a new thematic arises associated to the idea of community and conflict that is at the forefront of this exhibition. Borders, working conditions and the forms of State violence are present in the works of Krzysztof Wodiczko and Andreas Siekmann, among others.

MACBA Collection 31 aims to show that we are facing a global world that perpetuates forms of labour associated with inequality and geopolitical conflict. A world challenged by an artistic practice that no longer understands the position of art if not as a critical agent. With this exhibition we set out to emphasise the ability of art to delve into some of the cracks upon which the story of the present is built.