Eisenman explores issues with ethical and disciplinary significance, elucidating a critical standpoint and acknowledging the ideological ties that join somewhat distant pasts to the present we inhabit.
Now! We Are All Black
Santiago Álvarez, NOW!, Cuba, 1965, original version with Spanish subtitles, b/n, 35mm, 6’
We wholeheartedly condemn all forms of racism and we hope that, in the aftermath sparked by the tragic death of George Floyd, this implacable wave of protests and demonstrations can produce irrevocable change towards a more just and equal society.
In modern and contemporary art museums we experience art and its ideas as agents of social transformation, as actively being part of a framework of relationships on multiple scales. We do not want to stay on the margins. We want to be spheres that resonate and take a stance, which is why we stand with all people affected by politics underpinned by racism and discrimination across the world.
We join the myriad voices which, from streets and institutions, demand that black lives matter, now and always. With that in mind, we wish to share the work NOW! by Cuban director Santiago Álvarez (Havana, Cuba, 1919–1998). Conceived as a news broadcast to be screened in cinemas in 1965, the film constitutes one of the most emphatic condemnations of US police brutality against African Americans. Álvarez, one of the inventors of montage documentary — “give me two photos, a song, a novel and a moviola and I’ll give you a film”, he claimed — shows a series of photographs of anti-racism protests and their brutal suppression in the 1960s. Sadly, these images could have been taken on the streets of any American city this week. The backdrop to the film is the voice of jazz singer, actress and activist Lena Horne (New York, USA, 1917–2010), in a song with words we make our own: “Now is the moment / Now is the moment / Come on, we’ve put it off long enough / Now, no more waiting / No hesitating / Now, now”.
We associate the overwhelming and current uprising in this short film with the graphic art campaign Argentinian artist Juan Carlos Romero (1931–2017) propelled with the Southern Conceptualisms Network in 2009. “We Are All Black” was the slogan that confronted the fatuous celebration of the bicentenary of independence in Mexico, Argentina and other Latin American countries, and which ignored the memory of an earlier anti-colonial uprising: the Haitian Revolution. That campaign recovered a passage from the first constitution of Haiti written by Toussaint L'Ouverture, a black liberator, which proclaimed that: “all Haitian citizens, hereinafter, shall be known under the generic name of blacks”, explicitly including white women, Germans and Polish, and excluding those who were or would be slave owners. At the beginning of the 19th century, the status of “black” was put forward as a political and cultural denomination, thus disobeying racial or biological categorisation.
Related project: Red de Conceptualismos del Sur and Museo Reina Sofía
Juan Carlos Romero. Ahora todos somos negros [Now! We Are All Black]. Intervention, 2007-2011
There Is Nothing to Understand Here
A documentary on Elena Asins
The Museo Reina Sofía premieres an internally produced online documentary on the artist Elena Asins, resulting from research into the artist’s archive conducted over a two-year period, and assembling unpublished documents and unprecedented interpretations around one of the key figures in geometric abstraction and art as research since 1960.
Directed by Javi Álvarez and Olga Sevillano, the piece also features the participation of Gorka Alda, José Luis Alexanco, Sofía Barroso, Manuel Borja-Villel, Capi Corrales, Ignacio Gómez de Liaño, Luis Gordillo, Juan José Lasarte, Javier Maderuelo, Soledad Sevilla and Ian Triay.
Udlot, Udlot, by José Maceda
In March 2019, the Museo opened a call to participate in the performance of the piece Udlot Udlot (1975), by Philippine composer José Maceda, whose work combined his interest in traditional music from Southeast Asia and Europe. The performance of the piece required no prior musical knowledge, simply attendance at a workshop organised by the Museo, in collaboration with the Escuela Municipal de Música y Danza del Distrito Centro María Dolores Pradera. Some one hundred people learnt the score together and kept in time with its rhythms. During the current pandemic, the experience reminds us of something essential: the power of union and respectful co-existence, not only between humans but with all other living organisms on the planet.
Interview with Eszter Salamon
About MONUMENT 0.7: M/OTHERSChoreographer Eszter Salamon explores in depth the creative process of the piece MONUMENT 0.7: M/OTHERS (2019), made with Erzsébet Gyarmati, surveying the mother-daughter binomial from a commitment to producing intersubjective temporalities.
For the third year running, the programme Archipelago encourages an understanding of the complexity of the contemporary world through listening, exploring what is understood by experimental music and the relation it bears to popular culture by way of different narratives and geographies.
The present edition explores the concept of tradition: a term predominantly associated with conservatism and regression in the face of change, but with a meaning that implies the transfer of knowledge from one person to another and from one generation to the next.
Interview to Bouchra Ouizguen
As part of the performing arts series staged in collaboration with the Community of Madrid’s Teatros del Canal, the Museo Reina Sofía presents, over two sessions, Corbeaux (Crows), by choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen.
Corbeaux is a kind of “living sculpture” with no contrivance, comprising raw elements, gestures, silences and, at times, the cries of a group of women dressed in black, their bodies creating figures and forms in the space they share with spectators. As the piece evolves, pre-conceived notions of time and space vanish, making way for a hard-to-classify lived experience intended to be both intimate and universal.
From Art, Despite Art
Interview with Lucy Lippard
Lucy Lippard (1937) is one of the foremost critics and creators in the conception and history of contemporary art. Her writing, exhibitions and biography have been the subject of far-reaching studies and shows, for instance the recent Materializing “Six Years”: Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of the Conceptual Art (Brooklyn Art Museum, 2012–2013) and From Conceptualism to Feminism. Lucy Lippard’s Numbers Shows 1969–74 (Afterall, 2012). Lippard was a guest at the opening of the Juan Antonio Ramírez Chair, which explores different approaches to art history – understanding it as a constantly evolving discourse – and signalled the start of activities in the Museo Reina Sofía’s Study Centre. Therefore, on the occasion of her visit, a master lecture, workshop and interview were all conducted, the latter of which looked over, for the first time, her career as a whole, for example the landmark exhibition Eccentric Abstraction (1966), representing a feminist and organic critique of Minimalism, a key term in the “dematerialisation of art” (1972), or the displacement of the institutional systems of art by community- and territorial-based aesthetic practices.
Archipelago 2018. Concert series
In its second edition, Archipelago asserts its approach to listening as a form of both knowledge and aesthetic pleasure. Attendants are encouraged to approach the complexities of the cotemporary world not only through the ear, but also through the body, by absorbing sound with all their organs and bones.
Participants: Janneke van der Putten, Agnès Pe, Hashigakari, Tutu, Clara de Asís, Cedrick Fermont, Toukadime, Sofyann Ben, Youssef (Ammar 808), Áine O’Dwyer, Tarawangsawelas + Rabih Beaini, Nadah El Shazly, Errorsmith and Dj Lag.
The Words of Others by León Ferrari
A Theatre of the Present
This video assembles a series of interviews, carried out in conjunction with the presentation of León Ferrari's literary collage The Words of Others, which explore the Argentinean artist's approaches to his work and the challenges and research entailed in staging this theatre piece in the Museo Reina Sofía.
Ruth Estévez. Independent researcher. In charge of direction and mise en scène.
Ana Longoni. Director of Public Activities, Museo Reina Sofía.
Javier del Olmo. Representative of the León Ferrari Foundation.
José Antonio Sánchez. Researcher. In charge of dramaturgy and mise en scène.
Isabel de Naverán. Dance advisor, Museo Reina Sofía.
Adam Curtis, Without a Mirror
How do we explain a time of excessive and overwhelming information overload? Film-maker Adam Curtis proposes narration as a mechanism for unravelling the present, his documentaries connecting occurrences, people, events and ideas randomly and temporarily, shaping a tightly packed network of connections which explain and confront, in a way few cultural productions do, contemporary reality. How can we add images to this narration? Or, similarly, through film how can we represent the way in which power operates? In this interview, conducted exclusively by Soy Cámara online (CCCB’s video essay channel), and in conjunction with the retrospective on the film-maker in the Museo Reina Sofía, Curtis reflects on these questions and his own concept of film.
Archipelago 2017. Éliane Radigue by Emmanuel Holterbach + Agnès Pe
Archipelago is a new series of concerts that views listening at once as a form of knowledge and aesthetic enjoyment. In this, the first edition, Archipelago is enveloped in drone and minimalist music, exploring its influences and unexpected offshoots.
In this session, Emmanuel Holterbach performs the full version of Trilogy on Death, by the French composer Éliane Radigue. Agnès Pe, a self-taught and multidisciplinary musicologist and researcher, performs her own interpretation of the concept of Archipelago, approaching a musical theme via different styles and places.