Javier Hontoria

  • Lis Rhodes, Light Music, 1975, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view, 2013.
    picks June 10, 2013


    “Insomnia” is the result of yet another exhaustive, painstaking, and coherent research project by Catalan curator Neus Miró on the language of film. Not too long ago, she curated a well thought-out show (“The Times of a Place,” 2009) devoted to the concept that landscape, under the temporality of film, was to be understood not as a noun but as a verb. This is, beyond all doubt, a topic she masters. The title of this current seven-artist show stems from Hollis Frampton’s celebrated 1971 quotation: “Film has finally attracted its own Muse. Her name is Insomnia.”

    Miró takes as a point of departure

  • Armando Andrade Tudela, UNSCH/Pikimachay, 2012, 16-mm film transferred to digital video, color, silent, 11 minutes 26 seconds.

    Armando Andrade Tudela

    Armando Andrade Tudela’s work employs an array of strategies derived from the aesthetics of modernism to articulate social and cultural ideas associated with both his native Peru and Latin America more broadly. This mission inevitably brushes modernism against the grain, however, undermining its emphasis on the autonomy of art. He photographed and archived abstract geometric motifs printed on the trucks that drive across the interstate expressways of South America (the slide projection and artist book Camión, 2003); linked cocaine, a longstanding issue in Peru’s social and economic life, to

  • View of “Daniel Jacoby,” 2012–13. Five works from the series “Towel Sculptures,” 2012–, all Untitled, 2012.

    Daniel Jacoby

    Daniel Jacoby turns his back on many of the art world’s traditional assumptions. His work is in constant flux, his installations characterized by complex shifts between ideas, images, and forms and a methodology that dodges the usual dynamics of production and presentation. Born in Lima, Peru, in 1985, Jacoby studied in Barcelona and is currently a student at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, where he is sharpening a discourse built on intuition rather than on experience, on suspicion more than on certainty, and less on references from the past than on prospective contingencies. His installations

  • View of “Fermín Jiménez Landa,” 2013. From left: Sin título (efectos personales) (Untitled [Personal Effects]), 2012; Vaho (Breath), 2012.
    picks March 05, 2013

    Fermín Jiménez Landa

    An old car is parked in the middle of the exhibition space in Fermín Jiménez Landa’s solo show in Madrid. Its title, Vaho (Breath) (all works 2012), places us before its essential singularity: It is full of steam that only affords a glimpse of its interior. The artist doesn’t help much; he gives no hints and expects viewers to freely interpret his work. As a staunch post-Conceptualist, he might be referencing Hans Haacke’s celebrated Condensation Cube, 1963–65, but as an artist who is not in the least interested in tautology and overstatement, and whose interests lean toward the little things

  • Nuria Fuster, Esculpidoras II (Sculptresses II), 2012, metal, wax, two irons, 27 1/2 x 47 1/4 x 28 3/4". From the series “Accidentes” (Accidents), 2011–.

    Nuria Fuster

    Nuria Fuster’s stylistic repertoire ranges from post-Minimalism (especially the legacy of Joseph Beuys and Robert Rauschenberg) to classical sculpture, yet she is as sensitive to the formal and narrative possibilities of quotidian objects and spaces as she is to these art-historical references. Born in Alcoy, in the southeast of Spain, in 1978, she recently moved to Berlin, where she has refined her approach to objecthood and honed a sculptural syntax that expands her vocabulary to a more installation-based practice, granting more importance to the recontextualization of objects than to their

  • Jacobo Castellano, Malos tiempos (Bad Times), 2009, cardboard, papier-mâché, plaster, glass, milk, 10 1/4 x 32 x 27 1/2".

    Jacobo Castellano

    Jacobo Castellano emerged on the Spanish art scene a decade ago with works that vividly retrace the memory of his early years in the southern region of his native Andalusia. Ever since, the distinctive environment in which Castellano spent his childhood has shaped a powerfully unnerving discourse that unfolds across sculpture, installation, photography, and collage. While not unaffected by international influences, such as that of the austere and metaphorically charged objects of Arte Povera, Castellano’s work always bears the weight of his own ambivalent cultural heritage: a gloomy worldview,

  • View of “Elena Asins,” 2012. Foreground: Menhir I-XL, 1995. Wall: La rotación del menhir (Menhir Rotation), 1999.

    Elena Asins

    Elena Asins first began exhibiting her work in 1960 at the age of twenty. Yet despite her long-standing presence in the Spanish art world, she can still be considered an outsider in the sense that she has tended to ignore the prominent trends of her time. In the 1960s, when a murky informalism and Pop-inflected figurative painting quarreled for supremacy in postwar Spanish art, she and a few others turned toward a constructivist method that found its roots in the work of artists such as Jorge Oteiza and Pablo Palazuelo. But Asins soon ventured even farther outside the mainstream with visual

  • View of “Gloria Súbita,” 2012.
    picks October 16, 2012

    Rubén Grilo

    Who does a joke belong to? Rubén Grilo’s strikingly diverse work on view at NoguerasBlanchard’s new space in Madrid features a sound piece in which all we hear is two comedians quarrelling over the authorship of a joke. The work, which stems from a 2007 TV show, epitomizes some of the young Spaniard’s concerns in this show as it deals with the legacy of Conceptual art, its immateriality, and the paradox conveyed by how it was “shaped” to foster its commercial circulation. The exhibition, titled “Gloria Súbita” (Sudden Glory), is humorous and dense in equal measure.

    Besides the controversial joke,

  • Thierry De Cordier, Nada, 2012, oil paint on canvas, 11' 5 3/4“ x 7' 6 1/2”. Installation view, Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent. From “Sint-Jan.”


    “Sint-Jan” was an unusual group show organized by Jan Hoet, director of Documenta 9 (1992) and head of Ghent’s SMAK from its founding in 1975 through 2003, in collaboration with independent curator Hans Martens. The show included some seventy works by sixty-four Belgian and international artists and served as a good complement to the concurrent TRACK, the so-called contemporary city conversation, which was a vast project with newly produced site-specific works in many locations throughout Ghent. “Sint-Jan” worked on a smaller scale and within strict physical boundaries (those of the glacial

  • Haegue Yang, Tectonic Texture, 2012, red marble, limestone, sandstone, 31 1/2 x 31 1/2 x 55".
    picks September 05, 2012

    “Sense and Sustainability”

    Urdaibai is a vast area comprising eighty-five square miles of both urban and rural environment that is located some thirty miles east of Bilbao in Spain’s Basque Country. Named a biosphere reserve by Unesco in 1984, it is an arrestingly beautiful place now host to the first edition of Urdaibai Arte, an official initiative that seeks to be a complement to the Guggenheim Bilbao giant. The exhibition, titled “Sense and Sustainability” and conceived by Spanish curator Alberto Sánchez Balmisa, incorporates newly produced projects by ten international artists, each working in different sites. These

  • Hilary Lloyd, Building, 2011, two JVC LCD 42” monitors, two Western digital HD media players, Unicol twin column mount, dimensions variable.
    picks August 06, 2012

    Hilary Lloyd

    Hilary Lloyd, a 2011 Turner Prize nominee, returns to Basel’s Museum für Gegenwartskunst for a solo exhibition that is the largest presentation of her work to date. Meticulously installed on two of the museum’s floors, the show focuses on her works realized in the past two years, which differs in some ways from her previous production. One gets the picture quickly: Close-ups are now prominent while wide vantage points play a minor role, as her work is now determined by a more liquid and abstract iconography, with a vigorous flow of images seemingly trying to slip away from the robust mesh of