March 8, 2009 - Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea (CGAC) - Two new exhibitions
March 8, 2009

Two new exhibitions

Mark Ritchie / CGAC

The CGAC delves into its Collection Funds with two new exhibitions

CGAC (Galician Center for Contemporary Art)
Valle Inclán s/n
15704 Santiago de Compostela
A Coruña (Spain)
Telephone: 981 546619
Fax: 981 546625

www.cgac.org

A MANCHA HUMANA / THE HUMAN STAIN
CONCEPTUAL ART IN THE CGAC COLLECTION
12 March – 31 May 2009
Curated by: Ellen Blumenstein

When describing the crucial years in the genesis of Minimal and Conceptual Art, the American art critic Lucy Lippard stated that there was a “cult of neutrality” in 1960′s Minimalism, while Conceptual Art, around the same time, was focusing on the clarity of the idea. Taking this as a reference, the exhibition A mancha humana is based on the opposite extreme: the presumption that not only was this supposed purity and neutrality exceeded by the neo-conceptual artists of the eighties and nineties, but that a ‘human stain’ (a reference taken from the title of a book by the novelist Philip Roth) was always a constituent element of Conceptual Art from its very beginnings.

German curator Ellen Blumenstein has delved into the CGAC and Fundación ARCO collections focusing on the common rather than the dividing aspects of the relationship between Conceptual and non-Conceptual Art. The main aim of her curatorial project is to demonstrate that the notion of ‘idea’ is not necessarily opposed to ‘subjectivity’, ‘poetry’ or ‘politics’, but that a productive tension may arise from the relationships established between these diverse elements which run through a work of art.

A mancha humana begins with one of the most important –and recently acquired– works in the collection, the early Conceptual work by Joseph Kosuth, Clear, Square, Glass, Leaning (1965), in which he introduces a dialogue with other artistic positions of the same period in time: Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt and Joseph Beuys, among others. It also considers a unique group of feminist artists such as Martha Rosler, Ana Mendieta, Helena Almeida or Anna Maria Maiolino; and politically-committed positions, as shown by the eastern European artists Július Koller or Mladen Stilinonovic. Finally, it contrasts these more historical positions with exponents of neo-Conceptualism such as Liam Gillick, Jac Leirner or Iñaki Bonillas.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY
12 March – 3 May
Curated by: Manuel Segade

A Little History of Photography is about revision, collection and photographic practices. With works from the CGAC and from the ARCO and Ordóñez-Falcón collections, held at the centre, the curator Manuel Segade puts forward a personal reflection on contemporary photography through the review of different genres as interpretative frames. Portraits, still lifes, landscape and abstract photographs, drawing from classical Western painting, take on a political value which forces the spectator to resituate his preconceptions as he enjoys being drawn in by the quality and beauty with which the images play.

The portrait is thus transformed from a social document into a political agent of an image which has become a body or which is capable of referring physically to the body of the viewer through taboos such as death or old age. The still life finds itself somewhere between the neo-Baroque tradition and the experiences of everyday life in all its monumental and totemic possibilities. The landscape shows the world built by man, a cloned reality and never reality itself. Lastly, abstract photography emphasises the lack of confidence in the language of photography itself through technical refinement.

The exhibition shows the importance of the photographs contained in the museum’s collection, among which are to be found works by Wolfgang Tillmans, Pierre Gonnord, Tacita Dean, Andres Serrano, Douglas Gordon, Manuel Vilariño or Virxilio Viéitez. Renowned figures in the history of photography in recent decades, works which appeared on the covers of magazines, or were used as posters advertising international art events or which were the subject of well-known essays on contemporary aesthetics, make up a heterogeneous, privileged and versatile collection, the foundation of this Little History of Photography.

CGAC (Galician Center for Contemporary Art)

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