Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions

Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions

MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona

Cildo Meireles
Through, 1983-9/2008
© Cildo Meireles

December 16, 2008

Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions


Plaça dels Angels,
08001 Barcelona


The Condition of the Document and the Modern Photographic Utopia

Exhibition until 6 January 2009


PRODUCTION 1964-1982
Inauguration: 22 January 2009
Exhibition dates: From 23 January to 19 April 2009
Curator: Bartomeu Marí
Production: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

Exhibited regularly in France, the work of Joan Rabascall (Barcelona, 1935) from the early sixties to the early eighties is barely known in Catalonia. This exhibition analyses his production during this period, a key era in the artist’s career as it enables us to decipher the central code of his concerns: from the landscape of the communications media to that of ideologies and technological transformations and their imprint on the consideration of the human, the way the media demarcate the construction of the historical memory and the position of art as an antidote and counterpoint to the standardisation of ideas.

The art critic Alexandre Cirici wrote in 1970, “We often find the name Rabascall among the promoters of manifestations of investigation, in Paris, London or Amsterdam. Lately, we’ve found it linked to the strange phenomenon of the revival of the ceremonial. But in Catalonia he continues to be largely unknown. That’s why we think we should talk about him.” It was in fact necessary to wait until 1985 to find him in an exhibition, the Barcelona-Paris-New York (The Course of Twelve Catalan Artists, 1960-1980), in the Palau Robert, and in projects presented in the Virreina (1993) and the Centre d’Art Santa Mònica (2000). Now, the MACBA recovers a series of works with a heavy dose of cultural criticism dating from a period of breakage and conflict in European culture and politics.

The exhibition is structured around a concrete series of works and includes, among others, the collages made from 1964 to 1968, the first emulsified canvasses and photographic prints on metal. Works are also displayed from the early seventies which employ texts and statistical data on culture in a kind of ready-made; the Souvenir Landscapes of 1975, in which he contrasts images from tourist postcards of towns where there were once concentration camps, with the places where these camps were actually built, and the Landscapes of 1982, which show images of different localities on the Costa Brava that reveal the effect of tourism on the transformation of landscapes.

Rabascall’s work may be situated in the setting of a ‘perverse’, steely vision of criticism of the object and the consumption unfolding in Europe, in contrast to the fascination for the industrial product of American Pop. An expert in British and French art (Rabascall has lived in Paris since 1961), he knows Lawrence Alloway and Pierre Restany, the Independent Group and the Nouveaux Réalistes, and mixes with avant-garde groups that retrieve techniques and positions reminiscent of Berlin Dadaism. The criticism of culture linked to political positions of opposition and revolt led him to explore culture’s dependence on the economy, fashion and politics and would result, in the seventies, in his developing a reflection on the construction of history and the way the tourism industry shapes landscapes, lands and languages.

I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore

Inauguration: 5 February 2009
Exhibition dates: From 6 February to 19 April 2009
Curator: Chus Martínez
Production: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

Thomas Bayrle (Berlin, 1937) is considered one of the leading representatives of the reception of the Pop movement in Germany. Active since the late sixties, his work explores how the process of production, repetition and reading of an image is linked to a certain assumption of the Modern project, at the same time as it highlights the latter’s difficulties in coping with two of the fundamental concepts of today’s society: the notions of difference and error.

Using a highly diverse range of mediums including prints on paper, models, sculptures and films, the work of Thomas Bayrle interprets a theory into images portraying the difference between receiving and consuming an image. From Mao to La Vaca que Ríe and including motorways, airports, telephones and food cans, anything can become a versatile material with possibilities of appearing in a thousand different ways in his graphic artwork, his collages, or in one of his many films. The relationship between industrial reproduction and an insatiable, somewhat mystical, repetitive vibration appears in the work as a method of the real as a resource with which to explore our relationship with tradition, with what we already know, while at the same time producing the possibility of error, the fortuitous, all that, strangely, escapes the desire for everything to stay the same as before, entropically.

In Bayrle’s work questions of memory and the mechanisms of representation constitute the keys to the construction of the present and, by extension, determine our vision of the future. Under the influence of Pop art and concrete poetry, to name but a few affiliations, his work maintains confidence in the possibility of a specific subjectivity brought about by a concrete historicity, while at the same time subject to the variables imposed by the conception of the world as a social, political and aesthetic substance in constant expansion.

The importance of formulating a new phenomenology of the experience of historical time is the core of Thomas Bayrle’s work, as well as of this project, especially created for the MACBA. This is a fundamental subject in the context of an institution in which the interest in the temporary, in the history of art and the collective memory coexist with the desire to maintain the currency of a commitment to understand and seize the meaning of living in and from the present. Bayrle’s work unfolds from what we could call a “conceptual enthusiasm”: the belief that the real can be as susceptible to being mythified as the mythical is to generating strong effects of reality. In this sense the exhibition, a retrospective (the first in a museum in Spain), should be considered as the effect of a production in constant expansion.

Inauguration: 10 February 2009
Exhibition dates: From 11 February to 26 April 2009
Curators: Vicente Todolí and Guy Brett
Production: Exhibition organised by Tate Modern, London, with the collaboration of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona – MACBA

The work of the Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles (Rio de Janeiro, 1948) stands out not only for its social, political and aesthetic commitment, but also for its conceptual rigour and capacity to rattle consciences. Since the late sixties, Meireles has been the author of a series of sculptures and installations which refer like icons to the collective images of a specific time and situation, the Brazil of his day. His works involve the senses of sight, smell and touch and provoke thought on perception and the notions of space and time. This international exhibition is the largest ever dedicated to the artist in Europe. Meireles was awarded this year with the Velázquez Prize for Plastic Arts. The exhibition was inaugurated in the Tate Modern, London (from 14 October 2008 to 11 January 2009), and may be seen at the MACBA before continuing on to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The exhibition follows a path through Meireles’ entire oeuvre, from the first works in which he portrays models of representation of space connected to certain models of concrete art, to the large-scale installations in which the lines between medium, support, material and technique are blurred. His work reflects his fascination for scale, employing from an object the size of a ring to an installation of some 225 m2. By playing off the minute against the vast, the exhibition enables viewers to see how space is intimately related with our lives and has physical, geometrical, historical, psychological, topological and anthropological implications. In the words of the artist: “I always want to work with that possibility of transgressing the real: making pieces that don’t exist solely in a sacred space and don’t take place at the level of a canvas, a surface or a representation. No longer working with the metaphor of gunpowder, but with the gunpowder itself”.

Of his early works, the display includes the series Mutações Geográficas and Arte Física (both from 1969), which constitute a reflection on distance and borders in relation to the huge expanse of Brazil, reduced to the scale of a box. The exhibition also features his series Condensao; his domestic-sized portable corners (1967-68); the Inserções em Circuitos Ideologicos (1970), through which he constructed a method to spread protest messages when Brazil was under military dictatorship; the project entitled Zero Dollar/Zero Cruzeiro (1978-84 and 1974-78), and a selection of small-scale objects related to questions about perception.

Among the installations on display may be found the participatory environment Eureka/Blindhotland (1970-75); Através (1983-89), a labyrinth built with different types of obstacles; Desvio para o Vermelho (1967-84); and Babel (2001), a complex reflection on the mythical tower of languages. The exhibition closes with Volatile, a sensorial piece that plays with our response to danger, whether real or imagined.

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

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December 16, 2008

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