Juan Vicente Aliaga

  • Samuel Beckett

    Samuel Beckett’s prodigious literary work today seems like a monument to the mistrust of the word as a means of communication. This exhibition, titled “Beckett Films,” was perfectly suited to the monastic atmosphere of the galleries of the Monasterio de Santa María de las Cuevas (known as the Cartuja), seat of the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo. It also perfectly demonstrated the failure—or triumph, depending—of Beckett’s ideas. From the pioneer piece Film, produced in 1964, to the version for German television of his final work, Was wo (What Where, 1985) originally conceived as

  • “No-Grupo”

    On October 2, 1968, just a few days before the opening of the Olympic Games in Mexico City, the Mexican army committed a massacre in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in the city’s Tlatelolco area, killing many students. The incident, whose perpetrators remain unpunished, left its mark on generations of Mexicans, including the artists and creators who became politically aware in the 1970s—a decade that Sol Henaro, the curator of this exhibition, “No-Grupo: Un zangoloteo al corsé artístico” (No-Group: Ripping the Artistic Corset), has called a period of camouflaged calm. The people were fed up

  • Bracha L. Ettinger and Ria Verhaeghe

    This demanding exhibition was not for anyone who might be in a hurry. It required patience, concentration, and above all, a great deal of time. Curator Catherine de Zegher, the former director of the Drawing Center, in New York, has long been looking at convergences in the work of Bracha L. Ettinger, an artist and psychoanalyst based in Israel and France, and Ria Verhaeghe, a Flemish artist who has worked as a nurse. On a broad scale, de Zegher’s major 1996 traveling exhibition, “Inside the Visible: An Elliptical Traverse of Twentieth Century Art in, of, and from the Feminine” (which featured

  • Jesús Martínez Oliva

    Is there an ideology of geometry? This question is a key to Jesús Martínez Oliva’s show, suggestively and disturbingly titled La escuela del miedo (School of Fear). What connection might there be among education, fear, and the supposed rigor of geometry? Can it be that these three go hand in hand? So the exhibition seemed to suggest.

    At the entrance to the gallery, Martínez Oliva placed a group of school desks in the shape of towers, or columns. The legs of these desks, which almost blocked off the back of the gallery, acted as sharp defensive objects; they were reminiscent of turnstiles found

  • picks May 09, 2010

    Joana Vasconcelos

    The most striking works in “Netless,” Joana Vasconcelos’s first survey exhibition in Portugal, are her large-scale sculptures. These pieces occupy the central galleries of the Museu Berardo, as well as the lobby, the stairwell, and the institution’s exterior spaces. The show’s success is due to the skillful way Vasconcelos makes wry use of items from pop culture, religious traditions, and everyday life––including objects such as crochet hooks, hair dryers, stainless steel pots, ceramics, and wine bottles––to construct her works.

    Luso Nike, 2006, for instance, is a three-dimensional reproduction

  • Kaoru Katayama

    The media’s use and abuse of the concept of globalization have led some people to believe that cultural barriers between countries have completely disappeared. Nothing, of course, could be farther from the truth. Among the many who have discovered this for themselves is the Japanese artist Kaoru Katayama, who moved to Spain in 1991. The initial culture clash took place in the city of Salamanca, where Katayama had gone to learn Spanish. To the newcomer, however, language was less a tool of exchange and communication than one of many spheres of misunderstanding. Another involved the Spanish penchant

  • Hannah Collins

    Titles are most certainly one clue to the meaning (or at least part of the meaning) of a work of art. Hannah Collins has given a generic name—“Current History”—to her exhibition in Barcelona. This is also the name of three film projections (all 2007), included in the show, that the artist made in collaboration with inhabitants of Beshentsevo and Niznij Novgorod, towns between the rivers Volga and Oka in central Russia. But in naming this survey of her recent work, Collins elides the specific narrative of her venture into Russia, instead encapsulating all the individuals in her films and photographs

  • Fernando Arias

    Chocó, one of Colombia’s thirty-two provinces, lies on the country’s northwest border with Panama. Fernando Arias settled in the town of Nuquí in the jungles of Chocó in 2006. There, he helped found Casa Chocolate, a cultural center aimed at doing socially committed work in a region known for its fertile vegetation, grinding poverty, and violent conflict. All of these concerns are reflected in Arias’s recent work, including the installation Humanos Derechos (Humans Standing Upright), 2008, which consists of four video projections showing three members of conflicting Colombian factions (the army,

  • Alicia Framis

    The prison at Guantánamo has become a synonym for ignominy and torture. Recently, the United States Supreme Court recognized that prisoners there actually do have constitutional rights. But if human rights organizations have been demanding for years that the prison be closed, President George W. Bush seems determined to keep his notion of an anti-terrorist prison operating until the end of his mandate. In this context, an exhibition called “Guantánamo Museum” cannot go unnoticed. Its presentation in Barcelona was the second phase of a journey that began at the Galería Helga de Alvear in Madrid,

  • Bahman Jalali

    Juan Vicente Aliaga on Bahman Jalali

    Though not a formally trained photographer, for more than four decades Bahman Jalali (born in Tehran, 1944) has recorded historical moments in black-and-white photographs—scenes of which very few other images exist. I am speaking, above all, of “Days of Blood, Days of Fire,” 1978–79, covering sixty-four days in Tehran, from the first mass demonstrations against Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi until the army’s withdrawal, leading to the fall of the dictatorship. Similarly, in making the series titled “War between Iraq and Iran,” 1980–88, Jalali visited different

  • Sanja Iveković

    “General Alert—Works, 1974–2007,” the traveling retrospective of the work of Sanja Iveković (curated by Nataša Ilić and Kathrin Romberg), served to open one’s eyes to the recent history of the former Yugoslavia. Iveković was a rare bird in the art scene of Zagreb, where she was born in 1949 and where she studied. Geometrical abstraction and conventional painting predominated, but she has always worked primarily in photomontage and, sometimes, video, and her art addresses a wide range of social, political, and cultural issues.

    Since the ’70s, Iveković has focused on questions of gender and the

  • Martín Chambi

    Martín Chambi was born in 1891 near Lake Titicaca in Peru. He created most of his photographic work in Cuzco—a city whose name in Quechua means “navel of the world”—where he died in 1973. In last year’s large retrospective in Madrid, what stood out was the human quality of his portraits. A striking example, uniting Chambi’s ethnographic concerns with a more personal and subjective dimension, is Autorretrato en portada inka, Machu Picchu, Cusco (Self-Portrait at an Inca Door, Machu Picchu, Cuzco), 1934. Leaning on the opening of one of the many trapezoidal entrances to the stone architectural