press release

The exhibition is a brief selection from the reserves of the Museum of Contemporary Art which incidentally accompany the exhibition dedicated to Ajoblanco, as part of the Conde Duque Cultural Centre exhibition programme dedicated to this magazine, which represented a unique moment in the Spanish counter-culture of the mid-seventies.

Virtual view of the exhibition (memoriademadrid Digital Library)

The exhibition shows works by thirty five artists from the museum’s collection, mainly paintings, covering an extensive time span: from the end of the sixties to the nineties inclusive, in parallel with the life of the first two periods -(1974/1980) and (1987/1999)- of the magazine, but completely independent of it, a production in its own right, which can also be seen at the same time both as an independent collection and as a specific part of the artistic visual culture of this historic time.

In an institutional collection, time is crystallised, the past and the present always active in each of the works on show, but it also shows the productive relationship and fruitful dialogue established between the works and the artists which it represents. This is what gives meaning and value to an institutional collection -that of possible readings of an infinity of paths-, beyond the simple showing of works together with others.

Nevertheless, however controversial it may appear, it has not been our intention to impose any concrete interpretation nor to condition a specific narrative or tale, so in fashion nowadays in the predominant visual culture of contemporary art museums.

The basic premise we have followed is that the works on show should speak for themselves -a clear reference to its independence-, relate to each other and promote such elective relationships that the spectator may discover openly in his or her own way, in parallel with the aesthetic sense expressed by Marcel Proust: “All value is in the eyes of the painter. Style is not a question of technique but of vision.”

Without, of course, scorning technique, which is very apparent in the post-modernist movements of the post-industrial era, we feel that the artists and works selected are significant to this extensive historic period which we can break down into three sectors: one, the alternatives to the language styles of informalism (represented here, of course, outside the proposed time scale, by a work by Antonio Saura), presented by figurative representation in its various and fertile versions (Eduardo Arroyo, José Luis Alexanco, Ángel Orcajo, Juan Genovés, Amalia Avia, Manolo Quejido or Carlos Alcolea, amongst others); two, the return to the painting of the eighties within the wide movement called neoexpressionism (following the proliferation of the conceptual and post-minimalist practices of the seventies) and the production of new sculptured forms as an alternative to the established genres (within this framework we find the works of Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Eva Lootz, Santiago Serrano, Menchu Lamas, Luis Claramunt, Juan Muñoz or Dis Berlin, amongst others); and finally, three, in the nineties,the proliferation, not resolved as a continuation of the above, of heterogeneous practices associated with trajectories characterised by a high degree of subjectivity (as exemplified in the works of Darío Villalba, Ferrán García Sevilla, Pelayo Ortega, Javier Utray, Fernando Bellver, Sigfrido Martín Begué or Javier de Juan, amongst others).