January 23, 2009 - Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) - Rabascall. Production 1964-1982
January 23, 2009

Rabascall. Production 1964-1982

Joan Rabascall
La Fragilité des apparences
The Fragility of Appearances
Collage on wood
97 x 97 cm
MACBA Collection. Fundació Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona
Photo: Tony Coll
© Joan Rabascall, VEGAP, Barcelona, 2009

Rabascall. Production 1964-1982
23 January – 19 April 2009

22 January 2009, at 7.30 p.m.

Curator: Bartomeu Marí
Organisation and production:
Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
Plaça dels Angels, 

08001 Barcelona


The Museum brings together more than 150 little-known works by the artist which represent one of the key periods in his career.

Montages, assemblages, repetitions, superpositions, changes of scale, mixtures of texts and images… Under the title Rabascall. Production 1964-1982, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) recovers the production of one of the critical periods in the work of Joan Rabascall (Barcelona, 1935). His is a discreet oeuvre, distanced from aesthetic oscillations and little known in Spain, but regularly exhibited in France (Rabascall has lived in Paris since 1962). Far from a retrospective, the exhibition focuses on a key period in the artist’s oeuvre and invites us to decipher the central core of his concerns which, despite the passage of time, have not lost their currency: the omnipresence of communication, the implementation of language by the powers that be, the stereotyping of women’s image as a sexual object, the growing militarisation of society, the incessant transforming effects of tourism, and the progressive computerisation of forms of knowledge. “There is too much thesis without antithesis. I try the antithesis”, says Rabascall who, through his works, recreates manifest poems aimed at surprise, poetic disorientation and the critical message. His work can be situated in the context of that which we could call European pop art, concerned with the individual, with the ideological components that form society rather than with industrial products and mass consumption.

“His art cannot become fashion at a particular moment: it’s like a negative of the art and the society of his time”, writes Bartomeu Marí, director of the MACBA and curator of Rabascall. Production 1964-1982, in the prologue to the catalogue which accompanies this exhibition. The position of art as an antidote and counterpoint to the trivialisation of ideas is precisely the leitmotiv of this display.

The exhibition brings together more than 150 works from such Spanish and European public and private collections as the MACBA Collection, the Rafael Tous Collection, the FRAC Limousin Collection, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (MNCARS), ARTIUM, the National Contemporary Art Foundation-France (FNAC), and the Patio Herreriano Museum, among others.

The exhibition opens with a collage on wood dated 1964 and entitled La fragilité des apparences, in which Rabascall criticises the construction of the stereotype of women’s image being used as a sexual object of desire under the masculine gaze. The chronological spectrum of the exhibition concludes with the series of photographic emulsions on canvas Paisatges Costa Brava (1982), in which the author highlights the transformation of landscapes and culture brought about by tourism on the Catalan coasts. Between these two pieces are assembled works and series such as Textos (1972-1973), Kultur (1971-1974), Paysages souvenir (1975), Spain is Different (1973-1977) and Elecciones Show (1977-1978).

Also featured is the installation Bandera olímpica (1972-2009) which, along with creations by other invited artists formed part of the programme of artistic projects organised around the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, but whose presentation was cancelled as a result of the Palestinian attack on the Israeli delegation. A contrast is presented in the shape of the “toy” 23-F. Reflex condicionat (1981), the mechanism of which is employed by Rabascall to ridicule a historic event which was reduced to a simple operetta: the attempted coup d’état of 23 February 1981. The exhibition also includes the film Bio Dop (1974) made together with Benet Rossell, an exercise in exposing the advertising image by disarticulating a publicity film for a brand of hair cream by means of dissynchronicity and photomontage.

Conversation between Joan Rabascall and Jordi Coca moderated by Bartomeu Marí.
Friday 23 January, at 7:30 p.m. MACBA Auditorium. Admission free.

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
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