July 6, 2006 - Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM) - The Blacksmiths’ Alchemy
July 6, 2006

The Blacksmiths’ Alchemy

The Blacksmiths Alchemy
6 July to 31 August 2006

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center
(SUPEC). Shanghai, China

Curators: Consuelo Císcar and Ángel Kalenberg

Sponsors: Bancaja, Fundación Astroc



The exhibition The Blacksmiths Alchemy, which can be seen until 31 August at the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center (SUPEC) in Shanghai (China), is the result of a collaboration agreement between the Institut Valencià dArt Modern (IVAM) and the Shanghai International Culture Association (SICA). This agreement governs an exchange of exhibitions between the organizations proposed by SICA in China and the IVAM. The local office of SGAE (Authors and Editors General Society) in China has collaborated in the show, as well.

The exhibition organized by the IVAM, with works by Julio González, Martín Chirino, Andreu Alfaro and Miquel Navarro which belong to its collection, reveals the importance of the invention of iron sculpture in Julio Gonzálezs sculptural work, and the influence that it has had on subsequent generations of Spanish sculptors who have made repeated use of iron, such as Martín Chirino, Andreu Alfaro and Miquel Navarro. The catalogue accompanying the exhibition contains illustrations of the works selected for the show and texts by Consuelo Císcar, Ángel Kalenberg, Tomàs Llorens, Vicente Jarque and Francisco Calvo Serraller.

Since the creation of the IVAM, Julio Gonzálezs work has formed the foundational core of the museums collection. His work introduced new references in sculpture, not only in Spain but also in other countries, as is shown by the number of his works that are to be found in museums all over the world. In the IVAMs collection, in addition to works by Julio González, there are 18 works by Andreu Alfaro, 530 works comprising paintings, collages, drawings, sculptures and books recently donated by the sculptor Miquel Navarro, and 5 works recently donated by Martín Chirino.
The Blacksmiths Alchemy shows a selection of the finest work of these four sculptors. It also offers a description of their personal aesthetics and projects the points of connection between them. The show establishes a dialogue between the sculptures and drawings made by these four fundamental artists from the IVAM collection, and their internationally acclaimed works are enhanced by this joint presentation.

The Iberian peninsular was one of the most important mining and metallurgical centres in the world. And in Spain and China the mysticism of metalworking and alchemy have always been closely related. It is not surprising, therefore, that blacksmiths are surrounded by a vast mythology which comes down from the Middle Ages.

It is impossible to imagine modern Spanish sculpture without thinking of that magical, ancient, primitive, animist seam in which art and technological objects mingle indiscriminately. Picassos wiry sculptures have almost imperceptible anthropomorphic characteristics, while Julio González confronts modern technological society with his scrap metal sculptures, appropriating technological and industrial procedures and paradoxically taking them back to the magical world of the Iberian smith.

In these last years Andreu Alfaro has practised a kind of sculpture which emphasizes anthropomorphic outlines and is predominantly linear, following Julio Gonzálezs tradition of considering sculpture as drawing in space. Martín Chirino is associated with working with wrought iron; his early sculptures are similar to tools, while his more recent works include explicit tributes in titles such as Homenaje a Julio González (Homage to Julio González). And some of the Ciudades (Cities) made by Miquel Navarro, using remnants of industrial scrap such as iron sections or shelving pegs, demonstrate his desire to pursue the tradition of Julio González.

Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM)

Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM)
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