La Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales (SECC) (The State Society for Cultural Commemorations) and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía celebrate the centenary of the birth of Rafael Alberti (Puerto de Santa Maria, 1902-1999) with this major exhibition on one of the most universal Spanish poets. The exhibition is the largest project among the scheduled to commemorate the centenary of the poet’s birth, being the first exhibition on the writer that completely defines his life and his art. Peeking into the life of Rafael Alberti is to participate in the turbulent twentieth century that influenced the life course and literary career of one of the most prominent members of the Generation of 27. To recreate this scenario, close to a thousand pieces have been selected, including manuscripts, first editions and translations of his books, personal objects and photographs, as well as correspondence with Pablo Neruda, Federico García Lorca and Manuel Altolaguirre.
The exhibition chronologically gathers the personal and professional career of the artist, through several sections. The exhibition starts with his childhood and adolescence, which takes place between the port of Santa Maria and Madrid, where he moves with his family at age 15. It was in the capital where Alberti discovered the wonders of the Prado Museum, which marked him deeply and led him to express himself artistically. This encounter led him to "paint up a frenzy," but -as acknowledged by Alberti himself- "at age 20, a little late for a poet, I discovered poetry."
In the prolific 20s he dedicated most of his creative effort to painting, close to Maruja Mallo and the first avant-gardes. Subsequently, during his 30 something years are marked by the tense atmosphere that preceded the outbreak of the Civil War and conflict but he spends them with his wife María Teresa León, who accompanies him along his long poetic and personal life. During this decade his work with the group from the magazine Octubre stands out. Later he was to exile in Paris, Rome and Buenos Aires, and he would return to Spain in 1977.
Painting and sculpture, so close to Alberti, are widely represented in this exhibition at the Museo Reina Sofía with his drawings and prints, in addition to the works of some of the artists around him, such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Maruja Mallo, Benjamín Palencia, Díaz Caneja or Vázquez Díaz. This global perspective on the life and work of the poet is completed with the screening of two documentaries which show the close relationship Alberti had with film, in addition to recounting the artist's life through the testimony of several people related to the poet.
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