Presented in the context of the master’s degree course in History of Contemporary Art and Visual Culture offered at the Study Center of the Museo Reina Sofía in collaboration with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Recreational and political resistances in Madrid during the 90’s is an academic and expository exercise conducted by students following the art theory and criticism track.
On the basis of materials from various archives held by the museum, this exhibition presents various collectives who experimented with different modes of intervention in the public space of late twentieth-century Madrid. The exhibition is organized around play as a strategy that redefines the relations of art and politics, proposing a redistribution of places, positions, identities, bodies, and discourses. The exhibition space, in turn, is structured around three axes that show the social effects of the activities of the different collectives: articulation, interruption, and overflow.
The 1990s in Spain were characterized by a reaction to the ongoing institutionalization of culture and a greater participation of civil society in that field. Events like the 1992 Olympic Games, Expo ’92 in Seville, and Madrid’s designation as European Cultural Capital set the pace for developmentalist policies that favored the neoliberalization and spectacularization of culture, depriving it of critical sense.
In this context, there appeared artistic collectives and initiatives that embraced institutional sabotage, the dissolution of the concept of authorship, and the strengthening of community participation. Rendered invisible by the dominant discourses, agents, and centers, these groups encompassed various fields of action, from neighborhood resistance movements to gentrification (La Fiambrera), to gender politics (La Radical Gai, LSD), institutional critique (Estrujenbank, Preiswert), or the sabotaging of neoliberalism (SCCPP, Industrias Mikuerpo).
Bars, nightclubs, squares, streets, or squats then became the centers of an effervescent cultural activity that gave rise to processes of empowerment and self-affirmation. These collectives took over public space with posters, billboards, monuments, magazines, fanzines, and pamphlets, and they also exploited the potentialities of their own bodies in public performances or festivities, which they used to try out modes of political activism and social communion.
This survey is intended not only as a review of the activism of the Madrid collectives of the 1990s but also as a reflection on the concerns that left their mark on that alternative scene. That heterogeneous, revindicating, and vibrant experience helps us to construct and define the social movements of today. The network of multiple identities present in this exhibition was aware of the scope and power of “the collective skin,” and so turned the public space into its artwork, its exhibition gallery, and its center of action.
María Paula Ángel, Marina Arranz Bombín, Paula María Arribas, Maite Dávila Mata, José Ángel Escribano, Soledad García Pariente, Alicia González Alonso, Leticia Denise Hani Schajris, Rodrigo Herrera Conde, Javier Jiménez Leciñena, Javier Leñador González-Páez, Laida Mendia Vicente, Julia Micó, Rodrigo Montaño, Leandro Navarro Cabanas, David Pérez Pérez, José Antonio Roch, Esther Romero Sáez, Fernando Sánchez Morote, Sandra Sevilla Ortiz, Laura Tapia.
Máster de Historia del Arte Contemporáneo y Cultura Visual impartido en el Centro de Estudios del Museo Reina Sofía en colaboración con la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) y la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM).
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