Exhibition "Between Abstraction and Figurativeness. Poetics of Spanish Art of the 50s and 60s of the XX Century" Automatic translate
с 30 Марта
по 19 Августа
Галерея искусств Зураба Церетели
ул. Пречистенка, 19
The Cervantes Institute in Moscow and the Russian Academy of Arts, with the support of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, present the exhibition “Between Abstraction and Figurativeness. Poetics of Spanish art of the 50-60s of the XX century. ” The exposition will comprise 36 works of painting, drawing and sculpture from private collections.
Project Curators: Marisa Oropesa and María Toral
7 artists from the Madrid Realists group: Esperanza Parada, Amalia Avia, Julio López, Francisco López, María Moreno, Antonio López, Isabel Quintanilla.
10 artists from the El Paso group: Manuel Millares, Manuel Rivera, Luis Feito, Antonio Saura, Rafael Canogar, Martín Chirino, Juana Francés, Antonio Suárez, Manuel Viola, Pablo Serrano.
And the artist Lucio Muñoz - as a "link" between the two schools.
“The El Paso Group arose as an association of artists and writers who, in various ways, came to realize the ethical need to do something for their country.”
So begins the manifesto, which was signed in March 1957 by Rafael Canogar, Luis Feito, Juan Frances, Manuel Millares, Antonio Saura, Manuel Rivera, Pablo Serrano and Antonio Suarez, as well as writers Manuel Conde and Jose Aiglion. After the publication of the manifesto, the sculptor Martin Chirino and the painter Manuel Viola join the group. The manifesto is generated by the need for change, which this group of artists clearly felt. Since the end of the Civil War, Spain has been culturally isolated and art seems to have lost its significance, while Europe and the United States have experienced a cultural boom.
In the 50s, a group of young artists "El Paso" put an end to the long lethargic dream of Spanish art. They dreamed of updating the aesthetics, and since 1955 they have been gathering, discussing possible development paths and arguing about the trends and cultural situation of their time. These artists were under the general banner of informationism, and the views of the Spanish artist and writer Jose Gutierrez Solanu were fundamental to the development of the group. There were many points of contact between the artists of the group: after all, they belonged to the same generation, social environment, they all visited Paris where they saw the works of Jean Dubuffet, Jean Photrieux and Georges Mathieu.
The artists of the El Paso group managed to put an end to the dominance of academism and introduce new techniques, previously unknown in Spain. Under the influence of abstract expressionism, which destroyed the stereotypes of that time, they used dripping, used burlap or metallized fabric instead of canvas, poured sand onto paintings, glued objects to the canvas, scratched it, and painted pasto. Thus a new concept of a picturesque space was created.
At the same time, realism, pushed into the background by the revolutionary “isms” of the 20th century, has again taken leading positions thanks to American artists. At the same time, a group of Spanish artists resolutely joined in updating the artistic panorama of Spain, preferring to reflect personal experiences of a simple statement of reality, turning to topics from everyday, everyday life. Seven artists decided to return to figurativeness: Esperanza Parade, brothers Julio and Francisco Lopez, Maria Moreno, Amalia Avia, Isabel Quintanilla and Antonio Lopez. They are related not only by belonging to the same generation, friendly and family ties, but also by similar motives in creativity, close views on the very nature of art.
It is amazing how these painters and sculptors, having made figurativeness their creative language, were able to develop their own unique style. Amalia Avia tells in her memoirs: “The appearance of Antonito at the peak of abstraction was a lifeline for those who, like me, chose the path of figurativeness. Antonio’s personality and his talent, quickly gained recognition, were raised to a new level and refreshed by realistic painting, having managed to establish it at the forefront of art in the heyday of abstractionism, when realism was considered reactionary and academic. Along with Antonito, the Lopez Hernandez brothers - Julio and Paco - did something similar in sculpture. ”
It is interesting that realist artists did not consider themselves as a group, they did not have a desire to unite and follow general schemes and rules. Each of them strove for independence, but they are often called a creative group on the basis of family and friendship ties that bind them. They studied together and even worked and, of course, participated in joint exhibitions. In addition, they were all born before the Civil War and took their first creative steps in the fifties in Madrid.
In this, the realists differed from El Paso, an artistic association with an officially published manifesto, which joined the then dominant abstraction movement. The Madrid Realists became catalysts for figurativeness, updated and modernized it. However, with all the differences, they maintained a close relationship with abstract art. The figure of Lucio Munoz, a fellow practitioner of realist artists at the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando and the spouse of Amalia Avia, is important here. Munoz influenced abstractionists, including their aesthetics, which demonstrates the "material" nature of some works.
Despite the apparent contradictions between abstraction and figurativeness, their mutual influence and many points of contact are easily detected. No wonder Lucien Freud noted that "the longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and at the same time, as if on purpose, even more real." It is important to note that half of the “group” of figurative advocates were women: Esperanza Parada, Amalia Avia, Maria Moreno and Isabel Quintanilla, while El Paso included only one woman, Juan Frances, and the wife of sculptor Pablo Serrano. Another difference is that while abstractionists traveled to Paris to get acquainted with art informel trends, realist artists made a compulsory journey to Rome so that, saturated with Italian classicism, they would be revived in a new form.
But what, no doubt, connects the two groups of artists, is the struggle to return to art the role that it had in Spain in earlier times, and they managed to achieve this through creativity in styles that at first glance appear to be in opposition. In addition, the artists coincided in time and space: they took their first creative steps in Madrid in the 1950s, and it was there that they nurtured their ideas.
Artists are in amazing harmony among themselves. Although this should not surprise us, if we recall that they are all followers of the Spanish painting tradition. They absorbed the life-giving juice of those sources that determined their work: a smear of Velazquez, the severity of Zurbaran, the tension of Goya. This influence of the great masters is obvious.
All these artists have already entered the history of Spanish art as initiators and key figures in the artistic revolution. For the first time, the exhibition presents the work of all members of the El Paso group and Madrid realists. Artists are in amazing harmony among themselves. Although this should not surprise us, if we recall that they are all followers of the Spanish painting tradition. They absorbed the life-giving juice of those sources that determined their work: a smear of Velazquez, the severity of Zurbaran, the tension of Goya. This influence of the great masters is obvious.
This is a unique opportunity to travel to a key moment for Spanish art, which determined the subsequent development of artistic movements in Spain. The works of eighteen artists perfectly illustrate the thought of Albert Camus: "in order to be a revolutionary, you must still believe in something where there is nothing to believe in."
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