The Task of the Painter
This retrospective exhibition devoted to the work of Jörg Immendorff (Bleckede, Germany, 1945 –Düsseldorf, Germany, 2007) surveys a career spanning more than four decades, setting forth the key stages and transformations in the artist’s work: from the sociopolitical and political upheaval works he conceived between the 1960s and early 1980s, to the encoded paintings in the latter stages of his output.
Time Is Mute
This retrospective on the work of Mario Merz (Milan, Italy, 1925 – Milan, Italy, 2003) surveys the provenance of a body of work suspended in a kind of pre-historic time, at odds with the discourse of modern-era history. This anachronistic perspective, apparent in the choice of materials and iconography, stems from the ideological and committed stance of an artist and his relation to the political and intellectual climate in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s, in addition to his rejection of pervasive capitalism and the American way of life after the Second World War.
The search for mythology distinguished Merz’s work from his kindred contemporaries, for his archaism bore no relation to a melancholic yearning for the past, but instead was related to a razor-sharp critique of industrial and consumerist modernity.
Delphine Seyrig and the Feminist Video Collectives in France in the 1970s and 1980s
Delphine Seyrig (1932-1990) is best known for the roles she played in French auteur cinema, most notably in Alain Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad, directed by Alain Resnais. However, during the 1970s, she became indeed an activist working collaboratively within the framework of the feminist movement. Around 1975, together with activist video maker Carole Roussopoulos and translator Ioana Wieder, she produced a series of videos under the collective name “Les Insoumuses” (Defiant Muses). This exhibition explores the intersection between the histories of cinema, video and feminism in France.
Focusing on the emergence of video collectives in the 1970s, the exhibition proposes to reconsider the history of the feminist movement in France through a set of media practices and looks at a network of creative alliances that emerged in a time of political turmoil.
History Keeps Me Awake at Night
From the late 1970s until his untimely death in 1992 through AIDS-related complications, David Wojnarowicz (New Jersey, USA, 1954 — New York, USA, 1992) produced a body of work that was as conceptually rigorous as it was stylistically diverse. His artistic career fused a broad array of forms, mediums and devices, for instance the use of photography as a narrative tool; collage as a resource for critique and political statements, stressed through the poverty of the medium; painting adopted to explore different allegorical processes; and photomontage and text employed as an approach to the queer and identity politics that also shaped his role as an activist.
Self-portrait of Other
The work of Japanese artist Tetsuya Ishida (Yaizu, Shizuoka, 1973 – Tokyo, 2005) gives the experience of the contemporary subject a face as it explores the uncertainty and desolation of Japanese society, drastically altered by the technological advances and successive crises that have affected economies and politics the world over. More specifically, Ishida portrays, with descriptive precision, the mood of his generation, defined by the bursting bubble of finance and real estate and the mass lay-offs that plunged the country into a deep recession in 1991.
Rogelio López Cuenca
Keep Reading, Giving Rise
Keep Reading, Giving Rise is the first retrospective of the artist Rogelio López Cuenca (Nerja, 1959). He has worked at the crossroads between the visual arts and the mass media. Taking writing off the page, he has exercised his own visual poetry that operates inside the tradition of institutional critique and the offshoots of Pop through multiple mediums such as painting, installation, urban interventions and publishing.
The Avant-garde Networks of Amauta
Argentina, Mexico, and Peru in the 1920s
The Peruvian journal Amauta (1926–1930), founded and directed by José Carlos Mariátegui (Moquegua, Peru, 1894 – Lima, Peru, 1930), was one of the most influential publications in twentieth-century art. Conceived as a platform for the core debates on modernity, and in contrast to other avant-garde publications, Amauta was not the expression of one group, nor did it seek to impose one sole aesthetic or political programme. Rather, it aspired to become a medium with which to explore and discuss different movements of social transformation.
H. C. Westermann
American artist Horace Clifford Westermann (Los Angeles, 1922 – Danbury, 1981) assembled a distinctive and singular body of sculptures. His works were predominantly made from wood through his masterly command of carpentry and cabinetmaking, yet he also used other techniques and materials such as metal, glass and enamelling with incredible precision. In this retrospective presented by the Museo Reina Sofía, a concern with going back to shelter would soon emerge, be it in the home or the body —and blighted by the threat of confinement and death. Also, stubborn or helpless figures would recur through Westermann’s oeuvre.
Westermann: Memorial to the Idea of Man If He Was An Idea
A documentary film by Pentimenti Productions
Westermann: Memorial to the Idea of Man If He Was an Idea is a 3-D documentary film that explores the art and life of sculptor and printmaker H.C. Westermann. Directed by Leslie Buchbinder, executive produced by international art icon KAWS, and featuring interviews with Ed Ruscha, Frank Gehry, and others, the film's narrative is driven by Westermann's prolific and wide-ranging letters that reveal a dramatic personal history reflected in his beguiling, surreal artworks. A veteran of WWII & the Korean War who struggled with the ramifications of modern warfare, and an acrobat who viewed his life as a constant balancing act, Westermann forged a life of art from the crucible of chaos and death. Pentimenti's use of 3-D technology immerses the viewer within the beauty, mystery, comedy, and pain of Westermann’s work and life. For more information please visit the Pentimenti Productions website.
The Poetics of Democracy
Images and Counter-Images from the Spanish Transition
The Poetics of Democracy: Images and Counter-Images from the Spanish Transition originates from research undertaken in 2008 by the Museo Reina Sofía’s Department of Collections, the objective being to vindicate the artistic experiences excluded from the institutional discourses of the history of Spanish art of the 1970s. In this video, Manuel Borja-Villel (director of the Museum) and Rosario Peiró (Head of Collections) explain this research process —which was carried out over a decade— to recall a period when, alongside civil demands for democratic liberties, social justice, and self-government, there arose a new aesthetic linked to innovative cultural practices that sought to subvert the order of Franco’s regime and the institutional schemes attempting to inherit it.
Lost, Loose and Loved
Foreign Artists in Paris 1944-1968
This show explores the contribution of foreign artists who, after the Second World War, were working in Paris, a city which still preserved a certain aura surrounding its mythical modern embodiment as a “City of Light” in the 19th century. The broad collective exhibition reflects the vitality and vivacity of the art scene in all its complexity, displaying the different creative trends which took hold in the city inside and outside the School of Paris at a time of fervent political debate, held to the backdrop of the new global stage opened by the Cold War. From a broad array of artistic fields — from painting and sculpture to jazz, literature and film — foreign artists dealt with mounting tension by bringing their approaches and hopes to the Parisian milieu in an attempt to connect with the tradition of international modernism but without losing a grip on their own cultural identity.
Throughout his career as a sculptor, Jaume Plensa (Barcelona, 1955), who has recived the the prestigious Velázquez Award for the Arts in 2013, has drawn on spirituality, the body and collective memory as the primary sources which tie together his visual artwork. Literature, psychology, biology, language and history become strategic tools in the creation of his work, and, through a broad spectrum of materials — steel, cast iron, resin, glass, water, sound — Plensa lends weight and physical volume to the components of the human condition and the ephemeral. In this instance, the invisible forms the essence of his intervention in the Palacio de Cristal: a group of steel mesh sculptures which take the space to draw the incomplete faces of figures hanging in the air, intersected by light and suspended in time.
Luis Camnitzer. Hospice of Failed Utopias
This retrospective offers a global, contextualised view of the Uruguayan artist Luis Camnitzer’s multi-faceted work, spanning nearly sixty years. As an essayist, art critic, curator, teacher, lecturer and a creator of objects, actions and musical compositions, Camnitzer focuses on art’s transformative capacity, viewing it essentially as a product of reflection. His practice, whether it be artistic, or through his essays or teaching, is defined by its approach to the controversial issues of our times: the criticism of art-commodity, the demystification and obsolescence of the role of the artist in consumer society, or the capacity of neoliberal societies to turn education into an instrument of propaganda.
Dorothea Tanning. Behind the Door, Another Invisible Door
This exhibition collects Tanning's extensive, exhaustive and expressive body of work between the USA and France, producing paintings, drawings, costume and set designs for ballets, “soft” sculptures, novels and poems. The exhibition revolves around themed rooms drifting through the periods which were integral to Tanning’s career — spanning childhood and family scenes, girls dressed in Victorian clothing, baroque and bucolic nudes, red-rock deserts, and representations of flowers, highly pertinent in her mature work. Moreover, her installations include Chambre 202, Hôtel du Pavot [Poppy Hotel, Room 202] (1970–1973), with amorphous sculptures inviting visitors to see, feel and be part of the surreal world she inhabits.
An Approach to Afal
The Autric-Tamayo Donation
The collective of photographers which operated under the name AFAL Group hailed from the publication AFAL, a magazine specialised in film and photography, published over a six-year period, from 1956 to 1963, and coordinated from Almería by José María Artero García (Almería, 1928–1991) and Carlos Pérez Siquier (Almería, 1930). Its independent approach and fresh tone soon attracted inquiring photographers from all over Spain, thus turning the magazine into a force driving behind the renewal of post-war Spanish photography.
Russian Dada 1914–1924
This exhibition explores Russian avant-garde art through the perspective of the Anti-art canons associated with the international Dada movement. The anti-academic work of Kazimir Malevich to eclipse classical art and the transrational language experiments (zaum) of Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksei Kruchenykh are just some of the early contributions which substantiate the reasoning behind this show.
The Museo Reina Sofía presents a retrospective on Eusebio Sempere (Onil, Alicante, 1923–1985), one of the foremost figures in twentieth-century Spanish art who shared the platforms and ideas of Kinetic Art and whose work was set apart through its light- and colour-based poetics.
The exhibition brings together around 170 pieces, including watercolours, gouaches, luminous reliefs, collages, paintings, mobiles, sculptures and interdisciplinary projects, in addition to a documentary section on the period stretching from 1949 to the early 1980s.
Dora García. Second Time Around
Dedicated to the artist Dora García (Valladolid, 1965), this exhibition embarking on an open journey around a broad array of her works in diverse formats and mediums — film, performance, texts, drawings — and punctuating some of the constants running through her career. The title, Second Time Around, originates from Julio Cortázar’s homonymous story, written in 1974, which recounts the climate of psychosis and uncertainty caused by the trauma of disappearances in Argentina. Second Time is also the name of García’s most recent project, which orbits the figure of Oscar Masotta, a contemporary of Cortázar’s and a pivotal theorist in the Argentinian avant-garde from the 1950s to the 1970s.
The exhibition is accompanied by a specific programme of performances by the artist.
The work of Beatriz González (Bucaramanga, 1938), widely regarded as one of the seminal artists from the Colombian art scene, occupies a unique place in the history of Latin American art — not only is she a pioneer of Pop Art, but also, almost without calculation, an incisive and coherent chronicler of recent Colombian history. Setting out from the anonymous quote “art relates what history cannot” — used frequently by the artist — her work orbits around memory; memory not as a pretext for nostalgia, but, on the other end of the scale, something tightly bound to the present. González draws inspiration from the mass media, engaging in dialogue with popular narratives and formal painting, or appropriating press photographs, reinterpreting them through drawing, painting, graphic art and sculpture.
Pessoa. All Art Is a Form of Literature
The exhibition Pessoa. All Art Is a Form of Literature takes its title from a quote by Álvaro de Campos, one of the most avant-garde heteronyms created by Fernando Pessoa (Lisbon, 1888–1935), and published in the influential Portuguese magazine presença.
Paulism, Intersectionism, Sensacionism are just some of the terms coined by the poet in his scores of texts, and underpin the idiosyncrasies of Portuguese modernity. This exhibition, therefore, draws on these isms to put in place a visual account of the Portuguese scene, bringing together a selection of works by figures such as José de Almada Negreiros, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, Eduardo Viana, Sarah Affonso and Júlio, among others, to focus on the first aesthetic currents in Portugal from the turn of the 20th century to 1935.
Telefónica Collection. Cubism(s) and Experiences of Modernity
The union of the Telefónica Cubist Collection and the cubist holdings at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia supports this plural conception of the cubist experience. The union of the two collections also brings the work of Juan Gris to the fore in both the exhibition and the narrative. Thinking about the cubist experience inevitably means thinking about the pervasiveness of the work of Picasso and Braque. But at this point in time, it is not only legitimate and possible to reconsider the cubist experience from the perspective of the formulations of Juan Gris, it is also desirable, because it means recognising the complexity of the true nature of Cubism.
William Kentridge, Ubu and the Truth Commission
Ubú y la Comisión para la verdad
Grabación de la obra de teatro
Color, sonido, 103’
Dirección y animación: William Kentridge
Asistentes de animación: Suzie Gable y Tau Qwelane
Guion: Jane Taylor
Coreografía: Robin Orlin
Diseño y dirección de marionetas: Adrian Kohler
Vestuario y escenografía: Adrian Kohler
Música: Brendan Jury y Warrick Sony
Diseño de iluminación: Wesley France
Diseño de sonido: Wilbert Schübel
Edición: Catherine Meyburgh
Reparto: Basil Jones, Adrian Kohler, Dawid Minnaar, Louis Seboko y Busi Zokufa
Producción: Handspring Puppet Company, Mannie Manim Productions y
William Kentridge, Woyzeck on the Highveld
Woyzeck en el Alto Veld
Grabación de la obra de teatro
Color, sonido, 180’
Dirección: William Kentridge
Diseño: William Kentridge y Adrian Kohler
Vestuario y escenografía: Adrian Kohler
Animación: William Kentridge
Asistente de animación: Erica Elk
Música: Steve Cooks y Edward Jordan
Diseño de sonido: Wilbert Schübel; Cello: Clara Hooyberg
Diseño de iluminación: Mannie Manim
Actores / Manipuladores: Basil Jones, Adrian Kohler, Tale Motsepe, Louis Seboko y Busi Zokufa
Producción: Handspring Puppet Company
Basado en el texto Woyzeck, de Georg Büchner, 1879
William Kentridge, Il ritorno d’Ulisse
El retorno de Ulises
Grabación de la obra de teatro
Color, sonido, 106’
Dirección: William Kentridge
Dirección musical: Philippe Pierlot
Diseño de vestuario, marionetas y set: Adrian Kohler
Edición: Angus Gibson y Catherine Meyburgh
Cantantes: Wilke Te Brummelstroete, Stephen van Dyck, Peter Evans, Guilemette Laurens, Margarida Natividade Vincent Pavesi y Scot Weir
Reparto: Basil Jones, Adrian Kohler, Tau Qwelane, Louis Seboko y Busi Zokufa
Música: Claudio Monteverdi, Il Retorno d'Ulisse in Patria
Libreto: Giacomo Baodaro
Producción: The Handspring Puppet Company, Mannie Manim Productions, Wiener Festwochen, La Monnaie/De Munt Kunsten FESTIVAL-desArts
William Kentridge, I am not me, the horse is not mine
Yo no soy yo, el caballo no es mío
Grabación de la conferencia-performance, DVcam y HDV transferida a DVD
Color, sonido, 48' aprox.
Dirección, animación y fotografía: William Kentridge
Edición de vídeo: Catherine Meyburgh
Dirección de escena: Sue Pam-Grant
Asistentes de animación: Gerhard Marx, Naomi van Niekerk y Catherine Walker
Música: Philip Miller, Galop y Ngilahlekelelwe Ikhala Lami, con música y letra de Thulani Manana y Richard Siluma
Coro: Abanizaki Bomkhalanga y Thulani Manana
Bailarín: Thato Motlhaolwa