Javier Hontoria

  • Enric Farrés Duran, El viatge frustrat (The Frustrated Journey), 2015, digital video, color, sound, 93 minutes 15 seconds.

    Enric Farrés Duran

    Deeply rooted in the cultural scene of Catalonia, the work of Enric Farrés Duran tends to be aligned with that region’s post-Conceptual tradition. Although the artist is not unknown in Madrid, where he has shown his work in noncommercial venues, “Empezar por el medio” (Beginning in the Middle) was his first solo exhibition in the city and featured a selection of recent works gathered around a central piece, El viatge frustrat (The Frustrated Journey), a 2015 video that remains one of his best works.

    Recorded on a cell phone, the footage traces a voyage in a small boat from the Catalan town of

  • Cynthia Gutiérrez, Estratos I, 2019, ceramics, wood, lacquer, 39 2/5" diameter.
    picks February 07, 2019

    Cynthia Gutiérrez

    A resistance to cultural oblivion and a fascination with the shifts and dispersals of heritage are the major themes of Cynthia Gutiérrez’s beautifully titled exhibition “No para siempre en la tierra,” which may translate, albeit with a subsequent loss of empathic charge, as “Not Forever on Earth.” The show develops the artist’s interest in Mexican tapestry traditions, a concern she took on in 2017’s Venice Biennial, where she filled a room with whimsical sculptures inspired by the waist loom practice of Oaxacan weavers. The works here are less colorful but similarly tap into local modes of

  • Erlea Maneros Zabala, Temporal Arrangements. Series I, 2018, gouache on photographic print, 36 1⁄4 × 48".

    Erlea Maneros Zabala

    In her recent show “Works 2017–2018,” Erlea Maneros Zabala continued to pursue the topics that have so far shaped her career. Born in the Basque Country in Spain and trained in Glasgow and California, where she is currently based, Maneros Zabala crystallized her approach to artmaking around the time of the 9/11 attacks, an event that drew her attention to the ways in which newspapers handled their visual material. Media images became her main concern, and since then she has put together an immense archive of such pictures, which has become her most valuable tool. Her time in California also led

  • Pepe Espaliú, El nido, (The Nest), 1993, video, color, silent, 15 minutes 20 seconds.

    Pepe Espaliú

    In 1993, at the Sonsbeek festival in Arnhem, the Netherlands, Pepe Espaliú performed an action titled El nido (The Nest). As one could see in the video documentation in this show, he walked in circles on a platform high up in a tree for eight days, taking off one piece of clothing every day until, on the last one, he was entirely naked. This was one of Espaliú’s final works. He had been diagnosed as hiv-positive three years earlier in New York, and he passed away later in 1993 in Córdoba, the Andalusian city where he was born in 1955, bringing an end to one of the most intriguing careers among

  • Pieter Vermeersch, Untitled, 2017, acrylic on stone, 47 1/2 x 81 1/2".

    Pieter Vermeersch

    Pieter Vermeersch’s recent solo show in Barcelona came just over a year after another exhibition by him, held at Blueproject Foundation in the same city. In both cases, the Belgian artist added new elements to the existing architecture, providing a robust structural tangibility around which his reflections on light and color could unfold. This approach lent emphasis to the vaporous abstraction of the chromatic modulations on the walls and evinced a totalizing impulse that merged painting and architecture. A profoundly asymmetrical T-shaped white cinder-block structure in the middle of ProjecteSD

  • Eduardo Navarro, Letters to Earth (detail), 2017, bronze, walnut kernels, dimensions variable. From Köln Skulptur #9. Photo: Veit Landwehr.

    KölnSkulptur #9

    Held every two years in a twenty-five-thousand-square-foot park by the Rhine, KölnSkulptur is now twenty years old. The project was set up by fervent German collectors Michael and Eleonore Stoffel, who began inviting curators to commission works for the park in 1997. The idea was that the sculptures from each iteration of the show would remain in the park for two years, after which the next curator would add new ones and decide which of the previous ones should be removed, left in place, or relocated. So in this edition, subtitled “La Fin de Babylone. Mich wundert, dass ich so fröhlich bin!” (

  • View of “Mauro Cerqueira,” 2017.
    picks December 24, 2017

    Mauro Cerqueira

    Anyone familiar with Mauro Cerqueira’s previous work may be surprised by the new route it seems to take in his current show. Known for his critical awareness, his subversion of his hometown of Porto’s raging urban homogenization, Cerqueira makes use of a vast array of found material to assemble installations and sculptures aimed to preserve the memory of his surroundings. He directs gestures of warmth at detritus and derelict spaces in an attempt to sustain that which is ineluctably bound to vanish. Resistance becomes almost literal, as local traditions and personal stories are brought to bear.

  • View of “Ángel Bados,” 2017. Photo: Daniel Mera Martínez.

    Ángel Bados

    Considered in light of today’s systemic global homogenization of artistic practices, the concept of a local “school” may sound outdated, but the art of Spain’s Basque Country has been shaped by a strong awareness of identity and territory. The leading light was Jorge Oteiza, who left behind an immense legacy, not only sculptural but also ideological. He abandoned sculpture in 1959 to devote himself to writing and philosophy for the remaining four decades of his life. Oteiza’s example was assimilated in the 1980s by Ángel Bados, Txomin Badiola, and other colleagues, who added gestures derived

  • Christian García Bello, Pretérito (Preterite), 2017, oil, graphite, and wax on paper, 5 1/2 x 7".
    picks October 19, 2017

    Christian García Bello

    If Christian García Bello’s second show at this gallery seems to stage no major overhauls of his first, progress nonetheless lies within the reaffirmation of his perseverance. In this light, the exhibition represents a remarkable step forward in his still-young career. Titled, somewhat awkwardly, “Ahora no es pretérito todavía” (Now it is still not the past), the show reflects on how our relationship with time informs our perception of space. His drawings and sculptures share a precise blend of representation and abstraction, mathematical rhetoric and transcendent nebulousness, as he draws from

  • Johanna Calle, Cerca (Fence), 2016, typewritten text on notary paper, 39 3/8 × 55 1/2".

    Johanna Calle

    Quiet and well measured, Johanna Calle’s exhibition “Semántica” (Semantics) comprised a carefully selected group of works that revealed most of the Colombian artist’s aesthetic concerns. Her practice is rooted in an ambiguous place between language and image, or rather, in one systematically polluted by both. As the show’s title suggested, her work goes far beyond formalism, involving drawing and writing as methodologies of understanding. Over the years, linguistic signifiers often related to the social and political complexity of her country’s recent history have unfolded as fragmented,

  • Elena Alonso, Visita Guiada (Guided Visit), 2017, copper wire, wood, cement, cork, plaster, paint, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks February 21, 2017

    Elena Alonso

    Since its inception, Elena Alonso’s drawing practice has continually redefined its own formal limits. It was only a matter of time for her motifs to evolve into sculptural entities. The artist cultivates an ambiguous terrain in her iconography, somewhere between geometric abstraction and organic representation with allusions to the body.

    This site-specific project, titled Visita Guiada (Guided Visit), 2017, is a newly commissioned work installed in the cold storage of a former slaughterhouse in Madrid. That she has so successfully translated her personal language, her profound sense of intimacy,

  • Joana Cera Bernad, Un segundo de tierra (One Sand Second), 2009, hourglass, 14 x 3 1/2 x 10". Installation view.
    picks February 21, 2017

    Joana Cera Bernad

    Joana Cera Bernad’s first exhibition at this gallery features an hourglass on a small shelf at one end of the gallery—Un segundo de tierra (One Sand Second), 2009—a minuscule device that registers the passing of only one second, derisively whittling time down to its elementary unit. With its anomalous pace, the piece seems rara avis, given the rest of the intensely meditative works on view, but it poses a question that immediately links it to them: How much sand fits in one second?

    In a number of works installed on both the floor and the walls, Cera Bernad mixes stones she found with ones that