On 23 September 1999 the Joan Miro Foundation will be starting off the new seasons programme of temporary exhibitions with Reality and Desire, containing 40 works by 15 different artists. The curator is Enrique Juncosa.
Reality and Desire, the title of the edition of the complete works of the Spanish poet Luis Cernuda (1902-63), has been taken by the curator as the pretext for a look at the new figurative art of the 1990s and the subject of figuration and abstraction in the world of art in general. The neo-conceptual currents of the 1 980s put an end to the predominance of neo-expressionism, to the benefit of photography and installations. However, in recent years, an international group of leading artists has discovered in figuration - as seen from an analytical and conceptual point of view and in the traditional media used in painting and sculpture, an effective vehicle for their ideas.
The exhibition begins with works by Gerhard Richter (Germany) and Vija Celmins, Alex Katz and Malcolm Morley (all three from the USA), influential artists who have made figuration a rigorous form of reflection on art. These are followed by pieces by Francis Alÿs (Mexico), Stephan Balkenhol (Germany), Marlene Dumas (Netherlands), Susy Gomez (Spain), Anthony Gormley (United Kingdom), Guillermo Kuitca (Argentina), Marina Nunez (Spain), Perejaume (Spain), Thomas Schütte (Germany), Kiki Smith (USA) and Mark Tansey (USA), who demonstrate the diversity that is one of the characteristic features of what is known as post-modern art. These are artists who always, or very frequently, use a kind of neutral figuration, though one that is nonetheless imbued with meaning, in order to address the subjects of identity, sexuality, reality and even art itself.
This exhibition can be considered as the second part of The new abstractions, which was shown in various museums in Spain and Germany in 1996 and was also curated by Enrique Juncosa. Through this cycle, which is to be continued, the curator aims to define aspects of present-day art from an undogmatic perspective that sees today's plurality as a radicalisation of certain ideals of Modernity. There is no one single way of interpreting the world, just as there is no single valid medium through which to express it.
A catalogue of the exhibition will be published, containing an article by Enrique Juncosa and biographical notes on all the artists by Frederic Montornès.
Three approaches to landscape
The Joan Miro Foundation, with the sponsorship of the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya, will be presenting Klee, Tanguy, Miro. Three approaches to landscape, an exhibition of around one hundred paintings and drawings by Paul Klee, Yves Tanguy and Joan Miro, three of the major artists of the twentieth century.
Landscape has always been one of the traditional genres of painting, but contemporary landscape cannot, however, be considered as a vision of our surroundings in the manner of a stage set. After the Impressionists, landscape was transformed into an artful artistic construction that uses Nature merely as a stimulus for the formal arrangement of the picture. The exhibition focuses on those landscapes considered metaphorically as visions of the artists' inner world.
Paul Klee (München-Buchsee, Berne, 1879 - Locarno, 1940) stands as a lone figure in the panorama of twentieth-century painting.. A member of the Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter, he was also a teacher at the Bauhaus. In the 1920s he began to take an interest in Freud's and Jung's theories on the subconscious, which had a large following among the Surrealists.
Yves Tanguy (Paris, 1900 - Woodbury, Connecticut, 1955)
is the only one of the three who can be considered to have really
belonged to an artistic movement:
Joan Miro (Barcelona, 1893 - Palma de Mallorca, 1983).
His early figurative phase developed into a personal language
of signs that was basically defined during the time he spent
in Paris, when he came in contact with the Surrealists and their
theories. However, Miro was to always remain independent of any
Three approaches to landscape is a reflection on the differences and the points of contact in the work of these three artists, as seen through such a classic genre as landscape.
A catalogue will be published of Klee, Tanguy, Miro. Three approaches to landscape containing colour reproductions of all the works on show and an article on each of the artists: Hideo Nishida will be writing on Paul klee, Dawn Ades on Yves Tanguy, and Vicenç Altaio on Joan Miro.
The Joan Miro Foundation will next year be presenting Sigmar Polke. On Goya, an exhibition of over fifty works, mainly from private collections, that will comprise paintings, photographs and objects produced from 1982 to 1997 by this major German artist of worldwide renown.
Sigmar Polke (Oels, Germany, 1941) began his career in the 1960s in the Capitalist Realism movement - a contraction of Consumer Capitalism, close to Pop Art, and Socialist Realism. In the ~970s, however, he moved towards a more personal style of painting that was difficult to interpret on a critical level. His work shows an inexhaustible inventiveness, a profound knowledge of the history of art and artistic techniques, and an enduring interest in experimentation through the use of new pigments or old-fashioned pigments of chemical or mineral origin.
The exhibition focuses on works that in some way or another have a connection with Francisco de Goya - a painter much admired by Polke - and in particular with one of his paintings, Las Viejas (The Old Women) (1812, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille), also known as Time, which shows two old women looking at themselves in a mirror bearing the inscription Qué tal? (How do I look?). Behind is the figure of Time preparing to sweep away all human vanity.
During the 19805 Polke examined this picture in minute detail, observing it from every angle and even going so far as to use x-rays in order to discover its secrets. Goya's work revealed traces of pentimento, the appearance of another scene beneath the paint. On the basis of these tell-tale signs, Polke tried to bring the underworld of the picture to the surface, teasing out its vague, uncertain figures.
This research into the Las Viejas was to have an effect on the Polke's later work, and is an example of how the artist interprets and experiences the painting, as the exhibition will show.
A new look
As part of the seventh edition of Barcelona's Spring Photographic Festival, the Joan Miro Foundation will be presenting an exhibition of the work of Francesc Català-Roca (Valls, 1922 - Barcelona, 1998), considered one of the major photographers in Catalonia not only for his role as a pioneer in the field of avant-garde photography but also as a direct witness of the huge changes in our society.
The exhibition, curated by Luis Revenga, consists of over 150 photographs and is designed virtually as an anthology, ranging from photographs taken at the age of fifteen, when working as an assistant to his father Pere Català i Pic, to his very last pictures.
Català-Roca. A new look is divided into five sections:
The first is by way of a prologue, placing the artist within his context, through books, journals, articles, interviews and manifestos, along with pictures of Català-Roca and other contemporary photographers.
The second section is devoted to the framing of a shot. The angle of vision chosen by the photographer is what determines the aesthetics of the image - a very important question for him that was a consequence of his admiration for the avant-gardes.
The next section deals with lighting, and shows how strong contrasts of light and shade can be used to achieve maximum elegance.
The fourth analyses Català-Roca's personal interpretation of space and mass.
And the final section shows his work in colour from 1973 onwards,
based on the results of his own experience and experiments.