Juan Vicente Aliaga

  • Alexander Apóstol

    The concept of modernism has so many uses and meanings that, as historian Perry Anderson points out in Modernity and Revolution (1984), it encompasses even incompatible aesthetic practices. Yet the concept is still useful. It is hardly news that some modern architectural adventures have been associated with undemocratic or even totalitarian historical moments—think of an architect like Giuseppe Terragni, who served Italy’s Fascist regime. With such acts of complicity in mind, Venezuelan artist Alexander Apóstol looks at Latin American modernism, demonstrating the collaboration between some

  • Jesús Martínez Oliva

    The first thing one saw upon entering the central nave of the eighteenth-century Verónicas church was a sort of square-shaped, wall-like construction, flanked by two lower horizontal ones stretching back at an angle. Behind these, a light flickered and confusing sounds could be heard. On closer inspection, one discovered that the structure formed by these squares was made of green boards taken from desks of the sort used in Spanish schools. On the other side of the “wall,” it became clear that the light and the sounds were coming from three videos being projected on screens attached to the legs

  • Azucena Vieites

    The most startling thing about this exhibition of drawings by Azucena Vieites is just how hard they are to see. The pieces are fragmentary and incomplete, sometimes positively minuscule. At first glance, the viewer may not understand exactly what is being shown. The object, figure, or landscape—to name some of the motifs that interest this artist—is not looked at directly; rather, it invites sidelong glances, indirect ways of looking. Vieites does not believe in an all-knowing frontal vision.

    Vieites draws inspiration from our image culture. Felt-tip pen in hand, she makes use of music magazines,

  • Pep Dardanyà

    We live in the information age, and that explains the growing and probably excessive eagerness of some artists to accumulate data (images, recordings, graphics, and texts) in the course of analyzing a given problematic. Supposedly, gathering such materials will provide a more complete understanding of the intricacies of the topic at hand. This sociologically informed approach has become characteristic of a large number of contemporary artistic practices, as witnessed in the last two Documentas. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between a TV documentary and an artist’s work. Indeed, some

  • Débora Arango

    In 1955, an exhibition by the Colombian artist Débora Arango was censored in Madrid. Under pressure from the Colombian right, an ostensibly devout, Franco-ruled Spain turned its back on her bold and irreverent paintings. Now, half a century later, a much-changed Spanish capital has opened its doors to her. Despite the cultural bonds between Spain and Latin America, Latin American art is still largely unknown here. Consequently, this show—albeit of work by a ninety-seven-year-old artist—was a major revelation.

    Given the ultra-Catholic mentality and provincial culture of the Colombia of Arango’s

  • Ann-Sofi Sidén

    A long, low wooden bench faced a succession of videos projected onto the wall by five projectors. The thirty-five-minute-long 3MPH (Horse to Rocket), 2003, begins mysteriously, with the noise of hoofbeats but no image. Eventually one sees a woman dressed in pants, a blue shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat, setting off for what turns out to be a twenty-five-day journey on horseback.

    The woman is Ann-Sofi Sidén herself. Her project: to ride from San Antonio to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston—an exceptionally slow trip by the standards of contemporary transportation. In a society that

  • João Onofre

    One hears a noise of unknown origin and, after a few disturbing moments, sees a vulture burst into a room. The surprise is terrible—and it is no trick. What was going through Portuguese artist João Onofre’s head when he decided to bring about such a situation, recorded in his video Untitled (Vulture in the Studio), 2002? In an unfamiliar environment, the wild animal climbs onto the tables mounted on easels that enclose the studio space, nibbling on the sheets of paper pinned to the wall as well as the books and catalogues arranged on shelves, and tries to take flight—a short, frustrated flight,

  • Francisco Ruiz de Infante

    Although the protests against the unjust war waged by the Bush administration on Iraq with the support of the Spanish and English governments have been massive, especially in Europe, it is difficult to speak of a clear response from artistic circles. In the case of Francisco Ruiz de Infante’s exhibition “Black Sky,” for instance, the artist did not put forth a rousing, propagandist formulation of a political position. The drawings, sketches, and texts that represent Ruiz de Infante’s initial reflections on this installation demonstrate, rather, the urge to subvert a space that is at once

  • Simeón Saiz Ruiz

    Even amid the accelerated rhythm of contemporary life there are artists who still practice meditation and repose. Simeón Saiz Ruiz works with such care that he has painted only four canvases in the past two years. But his meticulousness does not in any way imply indifference to or withdrawal from human affairs. Since 1996 he has been working on a series titled “J’est un je”—a play on Rimbaud’s celebrated phrase “Je est un autre.” The trajectory of the French poet, who abandoned his country and his lover Verlaine in pursuit of new cultures (reaching Aden, in North Africa), exemplifies the

  • La Ribot

    La Ribot comes from the world of dance but her crossover into the art context has elicited unexpected praise in the press. In a country like Spain, where television gossip shows have stooped to a new level of crudity in their nonstop focus on sex, the supreme elegance and spontaneity with which La Ribot displays her body has awakened the curiosity of the artistic and journalistic intelligentsia. Of course, only a privileged minority has actually been able to watch La Ribot as she brings her “Piezas distinguidas” (Distinguished pieces) to life. Here, the gallery visitor saw scattered on the floor

  • Ana Busto

    This was Basque artist Ana Busto’s third foray into the controversial world of boxing. For the first, Night Fight, presented at Metrònom, Barcelona, in 1999 and at the Sala Rekalde in Bilbao the following year, she set up a ring and organized fights in each of the art spaces, the walls of which were lined with photographs of professional North American boxers. In some way this represented an attempt to draw in and juxtapose two essentially extinct types of audiences—art lovers and boxing fans—through their shared desire to experience this spectacle. To the second, Playa Girón, 2001, exhibited

  • Rogelio López Cuenca

    Juan Goytisolo, one of Spain’s most combative novelists, has on many occasions addressed his country’s contemptuous attitude toward Muslim culture. Yet the proximity of the Spanish and Moroccan coasts, and what’s more, a shared history, have left a strong mark on our architecture as well as our language. Astonishingly, the contributions of the Maghreb are still mostly ignored, but one exception is in the work of Rogelio López Cuenca. His exhibition “El paraíso es de los extraños” (Paradise belongs to outsiders; all works 2001)—the outsiders here being- Muslim immigrants—emerges from the artist’s