Interview with Luis Camnitzer
The work and thinking of Luis Camnitzer (Lübeck, Germany, 1937) is anchored in a comprehensive ethical awareness, which for this US-based Uruguayan artist gives meaning to artistic creation in his social context.
In his 1987 essay “Access to the Mainstream”, Camnitzer writes: “We’re primarily ethical beings who can tell right from wrong, fair from unfair, not only as individuals but in community contexts (…) Art becomes the instrument of choice for implementing these strategies.”
This interview looks over Camnitzer’s main ideas of Conceptualism, going back to the radicalism of his early work with the New York Graphic Workshop (NYGW) collective – grounded in ephemeral, word-based works – and elicits general reflections on his artistic mediums and the concepts of ethics and education that are patently linked to his creative activity. A special section is devoted to the idea of violence and a key work, Puerto Montt Massacre (1969), which belongs to the Museo’s Collection. In the work, Camnitzer approaches political content through signs, words and geometry, placing the spectator inside the work so that, rather than passively consuming it, they are forced to experiment in the “field of knowledge”.
Interview with Lotty Rosenfeld
Lotty Rosenfeld, a visual artist and founder of the group C.A.D.A. (Art Actions Collective), along with artist Juan Castillo, sociologist Fernando Balcells, poet Raúl Zurita and novelist Diamela Eltit, discusses the group’s origins and its development during the years of Pinochet’s military dictatorship. Its works were based on the reformulation of the mechanisms of artistic production and framed inside counter-institutional practice, while the use of direct action in public space as a tool for redefining the conditions of its creative participation defined the group and the individual work of some of its members. Emblematic works such as Para no morir de hambre en el arte (Not to Die of Hunger in Art, 1979) and No + (No More, 1983–1989) went beyond the artistic sphere, coming to form part of the collective imaginary in Latin America. Rosenfeld also analyses the notion of archive and her solo work, both individually and as part of feminist groups in Chile.
Interview with Dora García
In this interview, Dora García (Valladolid, Spain, 1965) draws from different works in the Museo Reina Sofía Collection to reflect on her work from its starting point, with themes such as narrative, infinite writing, performance and psychoanalysis shaping a coherent and continuous world. The artist analyses her use of the book as an object and repository of stories, and, by way of literary and psychoanalytical references, from James Joyce and Freud to Lacan, she discusses the transformation of reading and text production into collective actions. Similarly, she explores the key strands running through debates on performance: how to document and transmit it and questioning the classical idea of impossibility associated with its repetition, present in her approach to the works and writings of Allan Kaprow and Óscar Masotta. She also focuses on the damned artist, the notion of the anti-hero and the inappropriate to define a way of approaching reality through fiction.
Rethinking Guernica is a website based on over two years’ research and compiles and presents materials related to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, the painting, which currently hangs in the Museo Reina Sofía, the artist produced for the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair of 1937.
Envisaged as an archive of archives and made up of more than 2,000 documents from 120 public and private archives and national and international agencies, the website is a tool of open knowledge that is constantly evolving. Holding a prominent place on Rethinking Guernica is the Gigapixel study of the work. By applying cutting-edge technology to the knowledge, analysis and conservation of artistic heritage, the study groups together and arranges a broad number of images of the picture.
Interview with Rosa Barba
Rosa Barba (Agrigento, Italy, 1972) uses the medium of the cinema, from its devices and materiality to the temporalities it summons up, to explore the mechanisms that articulate our era, when any possibility of rupture can stem only from the recognition of a society where the difference between productive work and creativity is non-existent, and where our dependence on technology and gadgets is almost absolute. Through misadjustments, paradoxes and displacements, the artist reveals the composition of narratives and the apparatuses which make them possible. Her films and installations destabilize grand narratives and propose other perceptions of the real where framing and ciphering technologies –that is, apparatuses– are revealed as an essential part of the organization of our subjectivities, emotions and experiences.
Territories and Fictions
Thinking a New Way of the World
This presentation of holdings from the Museo Reina Sofía Collection, largely made up of recent acquisitions, approaches the languages and artistic practices that defined the period between the end of the 1990s and 2007 – both in Spain and internationally - by way of a series of shared questions that heralded the start of the century and run up to the present time.
Val del Omar
Piluca Baquero, coordinator of the Val del Omar Archive and Cristina Cámara, Head of the Department of Film and Video in the Collections Department and curator of the exhibition, discuss the review of the work of filmmaker José Val del Omar (Granada, 1904 - Madrid, 1982) in recent years, has coexisted alongside the Museo Reina Sofía from the very beginning, from the time it opened as an Art Centre in 1986, although it wasn’t until November 2009 that they were seen for the first time within the context of the Museo’s collection. The screening of Triptych elemental de España (Elementary Triptych of Spain) reflected a declaration of intent regarding the recovery of his work that after the restoration and digitization of the vast majority of the film work produced by the artist, has joined the Museum collection by deposit.
Val del Omar - In Process
Through the retrospective : VAL DEL OMAR overflow the challenge of transferring this PLAT laboratory, this space of creation found in the Barrio del Pilar district in Madrid, to the Museo was undertaken. In 2012, the Museo devoted six rooms of the Collection to the presentation of a significant part of the ensemble. The revised selection is the one currently travelling between three Spanish art institutions on account of the invaluable support of the “la Caixa” Banking Foundation, whose social and education project places citizens’ access to culture among its main priorities.
Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #47, 1970 Interview with Rosario Peiró
The Wall Drawing concept was the best medium for giving expression to LeWitt’s radical ideas, and these works would become the most characteristic in his output. In a 1970 text under the same name, Wall Drawings, the artist explained that his approach consisted of making a work “as two-dimensional as possible”. In accordance with his minimalist, and therefore reductionist, thinking, LeWitt felt the most natural way to work was directly on the wall, rather than on a “construction” which would later be hung on the wall. This enabled him to create works with a minimum of materials, allowing the drawing to become an intrinsic part of the architecture of the gallery and causing the viewer to interact spatially given that they would only make sense of the work through experiencing the actual exhibition space.
Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #47, 1970
The first installation of Wall Drawing #47 was drawn in June 1970 by Kazuko Miyamoto, at the Philippe-Guy Wood Residence in Vasenaz, Geneva. The Museo Reina Sofía acquired the piece in 2009 and the first installation was in 2011. The current installation, carried out between 3 November and 10 December 2014, is on a wall 5 metres high and 15.8 metres wide. The draughtspersons are Roland Lusk and Andrew Colbert, under the direction of John Hogan, with the participation of six assistants. Wall Drawing #47 requires meticulous work to ensure uniform pressure of the pencil on the support. It is finished with a water-based varnish applied by a specialist from the Sol LeWitt Studio and an assistant.
A study of the work Portrait of Joella by Salvador Dalí
After the intervention project that has been taken in the work Portrait of Joella by Salvador Dali, this important surrealist object returns to the Collection galleries.
Portrait of Joella, is a pictorial intervention of Salvador Dalí on a portrait of the gallerist´s wife, Joella Bayer in 1933. It is a work in full development of his paranoiac-critical method, a proposal to allow associations of images with their hidden meanings, often related to sexuality and death.
This video, produced by the Museum, collects the interesting conservation process carried out, in which those responsible for the intervention explain the study's findings.
Modernity after modernity
An interview with T.J.Clark
Produced on the occasion of the master lectures of 2011, this video offers a comprehensive theoretical introduction to modernism with the art historian TJ Clark. The author of Picasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica (2013) and Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism (1999), among other seminal studies, TJ Clark discusses the ideas that shaped modernism (the process of secularization, the loss of the aura or the disenchantment with the world) and how these notions survive or have been transformed throughout history, placing special emphasis on the Museum's Collection.
Set up and display. Collection 3. From Revolt to Postmodernity (1962-1982)
This video looks at Museo Reina Sofía's Collection 3, giving special attention to the set up of the exhibition and to the contributions made by Manuel Borja-Villel, the director of the Museum, Rosario Peiró, the head of the Collections Department, and Jesús Carrillo, the head of Cultural Programs. Learning about the set-up process helps expand visitors' vision and enriches their understanding of this section of the newly arranged Collection, starting with the projection of works in the exhibition rooms where the stories are told, with commentary by the people directly involved.