In furtive time. Approaching Nacho Criado

14 june, 2012 - 6 p.m.
Sabatini Building, Auditorium
Nacho Criado. Trasvase, 1991. (Detail) Particular Collection
Nacho Criado. Trasvase, 1991. (Detail) Particular Collection

Ever tried? Ever fail? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. The four-decade career of Nacho Criado (1943-2010) seems to engage in a muted dialogue with this phrase by Samuel Beckett, in which the persistence of error shows scepticism to be a revealing working method.

The early disappearance of the artist, not long ago, and the current exhibition taking place at both Palacio de Velázquez and Palacio de Cristal (site already occupied by the artist on two previous occasions) offer an excellent opportunity to once again analyse his irreducible and singular work.

Long considered a reflection of an isolated and idiosyncratic artistic context (that of Spain in the 1960s and onwards), Criado shows that crisis can be a method and escape a plan of action based on the renunciation of dogma at a moment of questionable truths, when, as the artist himself wrote, time is furtive. Thus, to debate the work of Nacho Criado means to speak of an artist as historical as he is contemporary, in which all the masks that compulsively succeed one another in his work (the allusions to Marcel Duchamp, to Raymond Roussel, to arte povera, to minimalism, to conceptual art, to Fluxus or to theatrical happenings and performance art) are not there for what they represent, but rather for what they transform, to paraphrase Levi-Strauss. If on the one hand the Pamplona Encounters have been interpreted as the end of the experimental as an objective, Criado's work, so closely linked to the Encounters, seems to propose the beginning of the experimental as a resource.

This seminar brings together Juan Manuel Bonet, Fernando Castro Flórez and José Díaz Cuyás, with the idea of questioning the construction of the recent narrations of the last few decades of art in Spain, many of which are derived from readings of Criado's work. The seminar engages in a critique of the interpretations of Criado as an example of the anxiety of influence, as an eclectic and narcissistic artist, to instead suggest that he was an artist focused on the idea of the collapse of language and on the idea of art, whatever mask is displayed, as the ultimate allegory of such collapse.


Manuel Borja-Villel. Presentation
Juan Manuel Bonet. Barcelona, 60s, minimal, Rothko, Sen, conceptual, Amadis, Cuenca, Pamplona, Buades, Propac: categories surrounding the first Nacho Criado
José Díaz Cuyás. Hunting for images in the media
Fernando Castro Flórez. (Wrong)Time(s) of the furtive hunter
Round table with the participants



Manuel Borja-Villel. Director of Museo Reina Sofía, former director of the Fundació Tàpies (1990-1998) and of MACBA (1998-2007). 
Juan Manuel Bonet. Art writer, curator and critic. Former director of IVAM (1995-2000) and of Museo Reina Sofía (2000-2004).
Fernando Castro Flórez. Professor of art history at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Author of the publication Nacho Criado. La voz que clama en el desierto (Fundación Argentaria, 1998) and of other projects and articles about the artist. 
José Díaz Cuyás. Professor of Aesthetics at the Universidad de La Laguna, in Tenerife. Curator of Pamplona Encounter 1972: The End of the Party for Experimental Art (Museo Reina Sofía, 2009-2010).