Joaquín Jesús Sánchez

  • Ugo Mulas, Lucio Fontana - L’Attesa, 1965,gelatin silver print on baritated paper on board,18 x 13".
    picks July 15, 2021

    Ugo Mulas

    Dante, Borges claimed, believed that there is a moment in the life of each man that encapsulates that life’s entirety. Ugo Mulas’s photographs of some of the last century’s most famous (and mostly male) artists, gathered here in the late Italian portraitist’s first solo exhibition in Madrid, may seem to confirm this belief. His theatrical black-and-white pictures flatter us with illusions of intimacy, as though we were having a friendly encounter with his legendary sitters or permitted to observe them at the instant the muse strikes. The pictures also, of course, flatter the artists, whom we

  • Rafael Tur Costa, untitled, 1987, graphite, colored pencil, and paper on canvas, 51 1⁄8 × 38 1⁄4".

    Rafael Tur Costa

    Born in 1927, Rafael Tur Costa spent his entire life in Ibiza. There, having survived the Spanish Civil War, he studied at its Escuela de Artes y Oficios (School of Arts and Crafts), as it was then called, but then went on to run a fabric store. Despite the insularity of the place where he lived, Tur Costa, who passed away in 2020, maintained contacts with artists who vacationed on the Balearic Islands, among them a group from the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin. He also connected with the art scenes of Madrid and Barcelona. These internal and external influences were reflected in “La

  • James Casebere, Blue House on Water #2, 2019, ink-jet print, 69 1⁄2 × 48 7⁄8".

    James Casebere

    It is no accident that utopian philosophers situated their ideal societies on islands, which in the imagination appear to provide both security and solitude. But if such isolation is often portrayed as blissful—as with Taprobane in Tommaso Campanella’s The City of the Sun (1602), for instance, or the tropical paradises that Western tourists fantasize about—it can also represent something terrible: Devil’s Island, Alcatraz, or Homer’s Aeaea, where the sorceress Circe dwelled. 

    James Casebere’s “On the Water’s Edge” featured a collection of photographs of colorful stilt houses, each an island unto

  • Eulàlia Rovira, Esmorteir l’esmorteït (Deaden the Deadened), 2020, wooden beams, nylon ratchet straps. Installation view.

    Eulàlia Rovira

    In his famous 1967 lecture “Des espaces autres” (Of Other Spaces), Michel Foucault stated, “Heterotopia is capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible.” I was reminded of this definition when I read the introductory text to Eulàlia Rovira’s exhibition “Esmorteir l’esmorteït” (Deaden the Deadened), which recounts a story at once macabre and funny. In mid-nineteenth-century London, a dance hall was created in a former chapel with a burial vault beneath the floor. The owners advertised “Dancing on the Dead—Admission Threepence.”

  • Carles Congost, Simply the Best, 2016, video, color, sound, 15 minutes.
    picks December 24, 2020

    Carles Congost

    Music is the most obvious connector between the different videos. Wonders, 2016, and ¿Para qué sirven las canciones?, 2020, reflect on the phenomenon of the hit song. The mockumentary Simply the Best, 2016, considers a Swiss firefighter’s

  • Ángel Ferrant, Maternidad (Maternity), 1949, cork, 12 5⁄8 × 9 1⁄2 × 11".

    Antonio Ballester Moreno and Ángel Ferrant

    The contemporary art world’s interest in education may seem a constant, but it’s one that varies in intensity. At times, an accent on pedagogy can dominate, while in other moments it can come across as condescending or, worse, futile. But beyond the flux of fashion, the art of our time is inextricably linked to questions of accessibility and the relationship of creative production to its historical context beyond close-knit clubs of specialists and connoisseurs.

    The Museo Patio Herreriano took up such questions by inviting Antonio Ballester Moreno to work with the archives of the avant-garde

  • Ana Mendieta, Weather Balloon, Feathered Balloon, 1974, Super-8 transferred to high-definition digital media, color, silent, 3 minutes 42 seconds.
    picks March 28, 2020

    Ana Mendieta

    This intimate exhibition of Ana Mendieta’s work, curated by Cuban compatriot Wilfredo Prieto on the thirty-fifth anniversary of the artist’s death, revolves around three short films that intertwine absence with presence. Perhaps the most distinctive of the three, X-Ray, ca. 1975, records the artist’s X-radiated skull, her jaw moving up and down to rehearse a speech test. The work’s clinical imagery contrasts with the closeness of Mendieta’s voice, here somewhat childlike. Flower Person, Flower Body, made the same year, deepens the idea of understanding the body through its lack. If in X-Ray we

  • Ludovica Carbotta, Severe UD 01, 2019, wood, iron, paint, plastic. Installation view.

    Ludovica Carbotta

    Fortresses are generally designed to protect against external threats. A less common (though perhaps more poetic) reason to build a fort is to confine something dangerous within it, protecting those outside. This was the purpose of the gunpowder storehouse at Forte Marghera, a nineteenth-century fortification on the Venice Lagoon that is now an art space. Known as the Austrian Polveriera, this building last year, in the context of the 2019 Venice Biennale, housed the works from Ludovica Carbotta’s ongoing series “Monowe,” 2016–, that were reconfigured (along with drawings for other sculptures

  • Ana Laura Aláez, Tigras y felinas (Tigresses and Felines), 1995, metal and textiles, dimensions variable.
    picks January 03, 2020

    Ana Laura Aláez

    By no means chronologically rigorous, this retrospective skips entire periods and sutures together assorted bodies of work. But its heterodoxy is useful to understanding the artistic obsessions of Ana Laura Aláez, as well as the puckish tensions between her “emotional architecture” and the New Basque sculpture. See, for instance, Culito (Bottom, 1996–2008), a smooth iron butt plugged with a cork. Tigras y felinas (Tigresses and Felines, 1995) consists of two shamanic columns of suspended skirts, undergarments, and kilts that get at Alaéz’s interest in how fashion shapes identity through concealment

  • View of “André Romão,” 2019. From left: Pierna izquierda (Left Leg), 2019; Cabeza (el hambre del monstruo) (Head [The Monster’s Hunger]), 2019.

    André Romão

    One need only turn to Ovid to confirm that hybrid forms are nothing new in art. States of in-betweenness have always aroused fascination because they unsettle the categories we use to comprehend the world, throwing taxonomies of human, animal, and plant into flux. And while our ideas about the natural and the artificial have changed a great deal since the Roman poet’s Metamorphoses, the Lisbon-born artist André Romão’s latest exhibition, “Flores” (Flowers), proved that it is still possible to trouble the taxonomical waters.

    The exhibition staged a selection of interspecies assemblages on a white

  • View of “Christe o chapa,” 2019.
    picks October 07, 2019

    Jacobo Castellano

    Over the past couple of years, sculptor Jacobo Castellano has made a compelling motif out of the torno, an enclosed revolving door or window found in Spanish and Latin American cloistered convents that is used to transfer goods, missives, and people through the sacred and profane realms. Based on the idea of this bygone contraption, which is as much a threshold between public and private as between secular and holy, Castellano has built a static and corpulent piece that appears to float on a carved wooden base with golden reflections at the bottom edge. From TORNO, 2019, hang worn tapestries in