September 21, 2020 - Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) - Action: A provisional history of the 90s
September 21, 2020

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

Esther Ferrer. Mallarmé révisé o Malarmado revisado, 1968/1992. 1992: Festival Polyphonix. Hommage à John Cage, Centre Pompidou, Paris. Photo: Jean-Pierre Sonolet. Courtesy of the artist.

Accidents Polipoètics reciting the poem Nenecaca at the European Surprise Poetry Festival, SAT, Barcelona, 1993. Photo: Consuelo Bautista.

Action: A provisional history of the 90s
July 10, 2020–February 7, 2021

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
Plaça dels Àngels, 1
08001 Barcelona
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Artists included in the exhibition: Accidents Polipoètics (Rafael Metlikovez and Xavier Theros), Oscar Abril Ascaso, Lluís Alabern, Marcel·lí Antúnez, Arxiu AIRE, Arxiu de l’Associació de Nous Comportaments Artístics (A.N.C.A.), Miquel Baixas, Jordi Benito, Miguel Benlloch, Pedro Bericat, Denys Blacker, Joan Brossa, C-72R (Mònica Buxó, Sònia Buxó and Marta Domínguez) Cabello/Carceller, Joan Casellas, Jordi Cerdà, Circo Interior Bruto (Jesús Acevedo, Belén Cueto, Marta de Gonzalo, Anton Ignorant, Luís Naranjo, Eduardo Navarro, Kamen Nedev, Publio Pérez-Prieto, François Winberg), Club 7 (Oscar Abril Ascaso, Joan Casellas, Andrea Dates, Marta Domínguez, Manuel Morales, Xavier Moreno, Andrés Pereiro, Laura Tejeda, Cristina Zabala), Enric Casasses, Nieves Correa, Espacio de Arte Excéntrico (Nel Amaro and Abel Loureda), Nacho Criado, Eduard Escoffet, Pepe Espaliú, Bartolomé Ferrando, Esther Ferrer, Rosa Grau, Carles Hac Mor i Ester Xargay, Juan Hidalgo, Rafael Lamata, Los Rinos  (Marcel·lí Antúnez, Sergi Caballero and Pau Nubiola), Artur Lleó, Macromassa (Juan Crek and Víctor Nubla), Merz Mail (Pere Sousa), Xavier Manubens, Daniela Musicco, Pere Noguera, Antonio Ortega, Lucía Peiró, Pere Lluís Pla Boixò, Tere Recarens, Àngels Ribé, Xavier Sabater, Sala Nasa (Xesús Ron, Pepe Sendón, Fran Pérez and Miguel de Lira), Carles Santos and Mariaelena Roqué, Mariano Sanz-Noguera, José Antonio Sarmiento, Superelvis (Anki Toner, Meteo Giráldez, Raimon Aymerich) , Tres, Isidoro Valcárcel Medina, Jaime Vallaure, Veivi Gisus Urkestra (Steven Forster, Lucho Hermosilla, Ariel Reinhart)  , Albert Vidal, Fefa Vila, Borja Zabala and Zush entre d’altres.  

In “Acció Directa”: Jaume Alcalde, Iñaki Álvarez, Pep Aymerich, Joan Baixas, Miquel Baixas, Laia Bedós, Josep Manuel Berenguer, J.M. Calleja, Xavier Canals,  Enric Casasses, Victoria Combalía, Ignasi Esteve, Susanna Fernando, Barbara Held, Juan Hidalgo, Mercè Ibarz, Allan Kaprow,  Konic Thtr, Dídac P. Lagarriga, Julia Montilla, Andrés Pereiro, Imma Pla, Jordi Pope, Benet Rossell, Joan Simó, Rosa Suñer, Quim Tarrida, Noel Tatú, Alexis Taulé, Carme Torrent, Gustavo Vega, Carme Viñas, Marta Vives.

While in Europe the 1980s represented a return to order, to the demand for a certain formality in art and to the conventional formats of painting and sculpture widely accepted by the market, the 1990s revived a large part of the Conceptual experiences of the preceding decades, notably the 60s and 70s. In this way, practices related to the human body were recovered, which we jointly call action art. In Spain, this history has a particular relevance, with multiple initiatives that had an immense impact on art from then onwards. This art of action was frequently expressed in the form of performances—which usually occurred in very restricted or unconventional contexts such as festivals or gatherings—and their more heterogeneous expression that has come to be called performativity.

It is time to review these practices as a whole and understand their great importance: not only because the history of those years is still to be written, but because a good number of young artists are directly or indirectly influenced by them. It also facilitates a rethinking of the institution, and its usual tasks, from the act of curating to the way of communicating. The interaction with the audience undergoes a fundamental renovation: the role of the visitor is transformed from observer to activator. All of this at a time—prefigured by Michel Foucault’s biopolitics, Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction and J.L. Austin’s pragmatics—in which the human body establishes itself again as the place through which emotional tensions pass and the political condition of being is claimed. We are because we occupy a space, because we act and are recognised in it.

Across different nodes, Action will examine this period tracing some of its fundamental works. In addition, it will include mostly unpublished documentation and audiovisual material that recovers those experiences. The result will be a dense exhibition, with multiple extensions, both historical and contemporary, that will help to interpret, in a much more precise way, the art of our time.


Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
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Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), September 21, 2020
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