Next Friday, June 24, the Reina Sofía Museum Library will open the Chronicles of a Speech exhibition. The Juana Mordó Gallery in post-Francoist art, which portrays the Spanish art scene during the democratic transition in the country through three thematic axes: political art and the politics of art, its international diffusion and its relationship with the market.
The sample, which can visit until October 14collects various material from the gallery’s archive (photographs, catalogues, exhibition brochures and invitations, correspondence, etc.) to illustrate the aesthetic and ideological paradigm shift that Spain experienced in that context and the active role played by the gallery , being the scene of the disputes between the different discourses on the role of Spanish art in society.
During the Franco regime, the Mordó Gallery (1964-1994) represented some of the most recognized artists of the time -such as those who belonged to the El Paso group- and already in the transition it became a space open to proposals counterhegemonic, as exemplified by the presence of the ZAJ group and the Crónica Team. His openly anti-Franco political stance was, at times, a conflict for the gallery, which suffered two attacks throughout the 1970s, the first at the opening of the Antonio Saura exhibition in 1972.
That same year, Juan Manuel Bonet, Ángel González and Francisco Rivas declared political art obsolete in the 1980 exhibition. Contrary to previous speeches, this group show presented at the gallery reflected the will to overcome political art in favor of a sensualist art. and complacent with his own discipline. It included some representatives of the new abstraction, such as Miguel Ángel Campano and Pancho Ortuño, and of the new figuration from Madrid, including Chema Cobo and Guillermo Pérez Villalta. The internationalization of Spanish art is another of the thematic axes present in this exhibition, since curators, critics and gallery owners tried to redefine during this stage the idea of Spanish art abroad.
These purposes are evidenced through different international meetings – the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) in Paris or exhibitions abroad, such as Contemporary Spanish Art (1984) at the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York. Mordó was one of the main figures dedicated to promoting Spanish art internationally with artists such as Darío Villalba, Manuel Millares and Carmen Laffón. It also showed the work of exiles from the dictatorship such as Eduardo Arroyo.
The third and last axis of the exhibition -carried out by students of the university master’s degree in History of Contemporary Art and Visual Culture, organized by the Autonomous University of Madrid, the Complutense University of Madrid and the Reina Sofía Museum- deals with the art market as a of the main ways of updating after the aesthetic stagnation suffered during the Franco regime, which was another turning point in the image of Spanish art. The desire to internationalize art motivated, for example, the appearance of fairs such as ARCO.
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