Carta(s). Libidinal Economy of the Transition

With the participation of Manuel Borja-Villel, Amador Fernández-Savater, Concha Jerez and Germán Labrador Méndez

Tuesday, 29 January 2019 - 7pm
Free until full capacity is reached
Sabatini Building, Auditorium
Organized by
Museo Reina Sofía
New series of publications under the title Carta(s)
New series of publications under the title Carta(s)

The Museo Reina Sofía presents a new series of publications under the title Carta(s) which seeks to broaden the editorial format of the debates that unfold in the institution and beyond. Carta(s), the result of a joint project between the Museo’s Editorial Activities and Public Activities Departments, looks to draw attention to the reverberations between initiatives driven and welcomed by the Museo’s different lines of research and artistic and critical production. The first three recently published volumes include content that was intended for the journal carta, now transformed into this series.

The first, Exile/Refuge, includes the texts: “The Long Time of History”, by Manuel Borja-Villel; “Republican Exile: Constructing from Absence”, by Mari Paz Balibrea; “Not Letting Live and Letting Die”,  by Judith Revel; “Visualising Climate Refugees”, by T. J. Demos; “Visualising Scarcity and Loss: Contemporary Art and the Representation of Capital and its Failures”, by Simon Sheikh; and the visual essay “À tous les clandestins”, by Patricia Gómez and María Jesús González.

Pop vs the Popular constitutes the second and includes a lecture by given by Diedrich Diederichsen at the Museo in 2014 concerning the dynamics of cultural legitimacy, together with a selection of images from the series Exercises on Abstraction (2007-2015), by artist Erlea Maneros Zabala, and included in the Museo Reina Sofía Collection.

In dialogue with the exhibition The Poetics of Democracy. Images and Counter-Images from the Transition, the presentation of the new editorial series focuses sharply on the third volume, Libidinal Economy of the Transition, which publishes a conversation between Amador Fernández-Savater and Germán Labrador Méndez on the latter’s Culpables por la literatura (imaginación política y contracultura, 1968-1986) [Guilt of Literature (Political Imagination and Counterculture, 1968–1986)]. Furthermore, this edition reproduces Concha Jerez’s Seguimiento de una noticia (Following a Piece of News, 1977), a series which records the appearance and progressive disappearance in the media of the death of five workmen, killed by the police during a workers’ protest in Vitoria in 1976. This work was published for the first time in an artist’s book format and is also part of the Museo Reina Sofía Collection.


Amador Fernández-Savater is an independent researcher, editor of Acuarela Libros, head of the blog Interferencias in and a long-standing participant in social movements in Madrid.

Concha Jerez is an artist. During the 1960s she worked with conceptual practices that probed the political context in Spain during the Transition, addressing issues like censorship, self-censorship and State violence. In 2015 she was awarded the National Plastic Arts Award and in 2017 the Velázquez Award. 

Germán Labrador Méndez is head professor in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at Princeton University. His research in the field of cultural history specialises in the relationship between aesthetics and politics, citizenship and memory in a contemporary Iberian context. He is the author of Letras arrebatadas. Poesía y química en la transición española (Devenir, 2009) and Culpables por la literatura. Imaginación política y contracultura en la transición española (1968-1986) (Akal, 2017). He is also one of the curators of the exhibition The Poetics of Democracy. Images and Counter-Images from the Spanish Transition.

Manuel Borja-Villel is director of the Museo Reina Sofía.