The Schizos of Madrid

Madrid’s Figurative Movement in the 1970s

3 june, 2009 - 14 september, 2009 /
Sabatini Building, Floor 1

The exhibition Los Esquizos de Madrid. Figuración madrileña de los 70 (The Schizos of Madrid. Madrid’s Figurative Movement in the 1970s) looks at Madrid's complex cultural environment during the last years of Franco's regime and the first period of democracy. The retrospective coordinates the activities and work of a group of painters known as “Los Esquizos de Madrid” (The Schizos of Madrid), whose exploits as a group span from 1970 to 1985, a period in which they decided to embrace figurative painting as they operated on the margins of the dominant aesthetic and political conventions at the end of the dictatorship.

The group of painters made up of Carlos Alcolea, Chema Cobo, Carlos Franco, Luis Gordillo, Sigfrido Martín Begué, Herminio Molero, Rafael Pérez-Mínguez, Luis Pérez-Mínguez, Guillermo Pérez Villalta and Manolo Quejido, was neither homogenous nor pragmatic; they shared concerns and desires, backed by a growing number of art galleries and encouraged by a new generation of critics in Madrid, with whom they found shared interests and ambitions.

Across the exhibition, different influences, confluences and the path taken by each artist along these fifteen years of artistic production can be appreciated. Amidst the different traits they have in common, the return to painting stands out; a narrative painting in which the use of colour predominates, with a discernible influence from English and American Pop Art, Walt Disney films, comics, as well as David Bowie and the experimental composer John Cage. Among this group of artists there is the desire to emphasise the conceptual content of the work and include their own experiences and contradictions. References to aspects of Art History, their full awareness of the crisis in the philosophy and art of the time, together with an angle of perversion in their paintings, form common ground and points of convergence in addition to other connections, such as the study of Javier Utray, the theorist and driving force behind the group.

The term “Schizos” was given to this group of figurative painters that invented a certain lifestyle in the unique climate in Seventies Spain. They began their careers in this multi-cultural capital and gained recognition in the Eighties when they had barely reached thirty, many of them signing up with large galleries. In actual fact, “schizos” was coined ironically by the strict-abstract painters (Broto, Grau, Tena) from Barcelona, who labelled the figurative artists from Madrid with the term. At the time, both sides signed a kind of pact of generational mutual support that allowed them to share determined spaces, galleries, platforms, magazines and exhibition projects.

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
María Escribano, Iván López Munuera and Juan Pablo Wert
Exhibition Tour: 

Fundació Suñol, Barcelona (October 15, 2009 - January 06, 2010); Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo CAAC, Sevilla (January 21 - May 16, 2010)