José Luis Brea

  • José Luis Carrascosa

    On a surface level, José Luis Carrascosa’s paintings are about sex and seduction. The pinups painted on Carrascosa’s canvases, ironically titled “Ninfas” (Nymphs), are doubtless entries in a certain contemporary dictionary of erotica, something soft-core like Penthouse. What is truly interesting about them is the degree to which they express tedium. Sex, Carrascosa tells us, is a discourse—one that is extremely various but ultimately always limited.

    The same is true of painting. It, too, is a language of possibilities and multiple combinations, but a limited one, and therefore it, too, must play

  • José Maldonado

    José Maldonado’s exhibition cast itself as a “version” of the famous play by Calderón de la Barca, El Gran Teatro del Mundo (The great world theater, ca. 1640) which inspired both Walter Benjamin and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Like Jorge Luis Borges’ Pierre Menard, Maldonado copied the manuscript in his own hand and included it as part of the installation.

    The rest of the pieces in the show represented the characters. As is well known, they are allegorical characters, ranging from representative figures of the social order—the king, the child, the rich man—to more abstract figures such as discretion

  • Bruce Nauman

    In terms of the works selected, the installation, and the careful production of certain pieces, this retrospective (the first truly comprehensive exhibition of Bruce Nauman’s work since the Whitney Museum show in 1972) is excellent. Of course, one could always point to missing pieces—Anthro/Socio, 1991, his work at Documenta IX, for example—but what is certain is that in its entirety the selection of works reconstructs the artist’s complete creative trajectory to date with undeniable balance. Since the contents of the catalogue are as informative as they are explanatory, there is nothing

  • José Manuel Broto

    These days, when the “survival” of painting seems to be the hot topic, José Manuel Broto’s perseverance in pictorial practice proves to be exemplary, on account of the brilliance with which he combines continuity and change. His trajectory began around the French movement of the ’70s, support-surface, which Broto was instrumental in importing to Spain—as much through texts and theoretical publications as through actual “teaching.” The legacy of that movement has been very poorly evaluated. It presented the possibility of a sensitive reorganization of thinking about the pictorial field. The

  • Pedro Cabrita Reis

    Pedro Cabrita Reis’ recent installation is part of his latest series, which began with the magnificent Scala Coeli (Stairway to heaven, 1992) presented in the group exhibition “Los Ultimos dias” (The last days, 1992). It is a series with a strongly allegorical content in which Cabrita Reis’ classic melancholy austerity is placed in the service of a ceremonial idea of art’s role. In Scala Coeli this reference was nearly explicit: the piece functioned as a banquet table for a secularized last supper without any promise of resurrection or paradise, but it still alluded to an ascending path.


  • Salomé Cuesta

    Salomé Cuesta’s strategy is one of representational suspension. Her installations present us with mute, almost empty spaces, barely punctuated by a series of elements with so little material presence and objective character that it becomes difficult for us to categorize them as sculpture. In fact, the elements that make up the vocabulary of her research, and which we somehow recognize as the “works,” are really nothing but mechanisms that work with light—the true, although volatile, inapprehensible, material element of her work.

    Somewhat in the tradition of James Turrell’s ’80s series, “Dark

  • Aureli Ruis

    There was a tremendously enigmatic piece in this exhibition that, perhaps, is the key to all of Aureli Ruiz’s recent work: to his resistance to making concessions, to the difficulty of the viewer’s reading. This untitled work from 1991 is a small bust, a life-size head, barely outlined and almost undefined. Its face is covered by a piece of canvas supported by two rods that elevate the cloth as if it were a tent in the desert. At the same time, those rods seem like frozen gazes, beams of light uselessly emitted from the place where the eyes of this faceless phantom should be. But nothing flows

  • Jordi Colomer

    The title of the exhibit “Como en casa” (Like home) resounds with the echo of the bourgeois value of hominess, expressing a certain contemporary nostalgia for a “safe” place. “Como en casa,” in effect, parodies the familiar advertising slogan “todo en cast: sabe mejor” (everything tastes better at home). Indeed, it immediately becomes apparent that Jordi Colomer’s work is situated light-years away from that order of values. It deplores that hypocrisy of comfort, of a supposed wellbeing; Colomer builds, on the contrary, houses that, viewed through such a nostalgia, return nothing but a feeling

  • Ferrán García Sevilla

    Sama 66 (all works 1991) is a true “all over” painting. The dispersion completely disorients vision; it does away with centering and elicits a hypnotic impression of vertigo. All areas of the surface are homologous, sharing the same force. If we recognize its painted arrows as scriptural or pretextual indicators—if we acknowledge in them an allusive insinuation of sense—we would have to infer as well that this eventual writing has been deconstructed, that it is conceived in the same way Derrida considered what he calls the “arch-trace.” Thus what Ferrán García Sevilla paints is nothing other

  • Richard Tuttle

    Perhaps none of the verses from Rainer Maria Rilke’s elegies appears as enigmatic as the one in which he recalls the desire for the earth to become invisible. In contemplating Richard Tuttle’s work, however, the verse becomes transparent, as if Tuttle’s intentions coincided exactly with Rilke’s. Here, the two series of “Perceived Obstacles,” 1991, seem, in fact, determined to facilitate this world’s transition to the immaterial. In the ten watercolors, a landscape quality is present: nature—reality—is represented, summoned to a journey toward the transparent space of imagination. Pure color