Juan Vicente Aliaga

  • Federico Guzmán

    WITH SO MANY WORKS taking the body as the basis of their aesthetic discourse, it comes as a relief to find an artist who reflects on other living materials. Federico Guzmán deals with plants as organic beings on which humankind has left a considerable imprint. In doing so, he works to dismantle aspects of the Western idea of the Americas, constructed in part through European botanical expeditions of past centuries. The graphic representation of American flora was born of an error: the idea of exploration, that is, the discovery of “new” species (ones unknown to Europe).

    Guzmán attempts to represent

  • Eulàlia Valldosera

    Art is a play of light and shadows from whose tangle arise precarious human relations—or so Eulàlia Valldosera seems to be telling us. With the exception of the photographs, installation, and performance that make up El ombligo del mundo (The world’s navel), 1990–2001, which chronicles the artist’s efforts to give up smoking, her production is an immersion in the universe of illusions, transparencies, reverberations, and reflections.

    Valldosera’s first photographs were of mattresses covered by wrinkled sheets—traces of the body—or of fragments of her own naked body (“Burns,”

  • Philippe Thomas

    This review is born of an error. It should not refer to the exhibition of the artist Philippe Thomas (1951–95), because artists make works, and it seems that Thomas never made any. This is not a simple paradox. And yet, looking around the galleries of MACBA, we saw a series of things on the walls and on the floor that we were tempted to call art. Once again we might have been mistaken.

    Thomas sought to erode the concept of authorship. In this sense, his work can be understood as a series of conceptual propositions that question the institutions belonging to the system of art. The sacralization

  • Juan Pablo Ballester

    Spain, which during the Franco era forced its political dissidents into exile, has more recently become a land of asylum. This transformation has aroused conflicts, however, especially those generated by politicians who promote racism and xenophobia and place all kinds of obstacles in the way of any tolerance of unfamiliar cultures. Juan Pablo Ballester (born in 1966), a Cuban artist living in Barcelona, is very familiar with all of this. His work, expressed here principally through photography (sometimes he works in video as well), conveys the complex problematic of exile. And yet that is not

  • Ana Laura Aláez

    Ana Laura Aláez, a young Basque artist who lives in Madrid, caused a sensation around the time of the most recent arco, in February. Seldom does an exhibition by an artist little known to the general public awaken such interest in Spain. Wavering between surprise and jealousy, many have asked, How did this happen? What was the reason for the long lines at the entrance to the Reina Sofía’s Espacio Uno? Why did a mass audience, little accustomed to attending artistic events, embrace this particular artist?

    For one thing, since the early ’90s her work has positively sought out the spectator. Partaking

  • Annette Messager

    For the recent retrospective of her work organized by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Annette Messager had to reckon with the crushing size of the Palacio de Velázquez and the flood of natural light that enters its already bright, white spaces. The French artist’s response was to design a labyrinthine path for visitors to follow through the palace’s rooms, in which a selection of her work from the past thirty years was presented in nonchronological order. Viewers went through this maze in semidarkness: False ceilings darkened some areas; in other spaces, the natural light was

  • Federico Guzmán

    Since October 1997, Federico Guzmán, an artist from Seville, has lived in Bogota, and for his recent show in Madrid he used Colombia’s luxuriant vegetation as a point of departure for his art, which straddles anthropology, science, and daily life. Titled “Echando raices en el aire” (Taking root in the air), the exhibition transformed the gallery into a kind of lush greenhouse, to resplendent effect.

    One of Guzman’s installations comprised a set of metallic-green slates made of iron or wood with flange edges. Some of the slates were originally part of an interactive exhibition (held last May at

  • Georges Tony Stoll

    What initially strikes one about Georges Tony Stoll’s photographs, videos, and wall drawings is the intense physicality of the scenes they depict. In his images, various men (all friends or acquaintances of the artist), bump into, brush against, hit, and scratch one another as they move, with little apparent motivation, through domestic interiors. Driven by nervous energy or by an unspecified obsession, the men use strange, intensely personal gestures to evoke a restless existence on the fringes of conventional social reality.

    Although intimacy—more precisely homosexual intimacy—is Stoll’s

  • Angus Fairhurst/Sarah Lucas

    In addition to sharing a studio in London’s Clerkenwell neighborhood, Angus Fairhurst and Sarah Lucas have collaborated on a number of artistic projects. Their recent show, which was suggestively titled “Odd-bod Photography,” toyed with their respective identities so much that it blurred the boundary between them. This was no small achievement, since an artistic persona as pronounced as Lucas’ is not readily effaced, while Fairhurst’s more subdued approach tends to be easily swept away by the bluster of YBA art.

    The show included a series of seemingly straightforward documentary images jointly

  • Terry Winters

    In the ’80s Terry Winters winked at his contemporaries’ interest in all things corporal, laying down on canvas organic forms and cell structures taken from studies of fungi, spores, and crystals. More recently, he’s shifted his attention to the techie universes of computers and structural engineering, creating erector-set networks of inextricable painterly lines that open onto infinite architectures even as they insistently return their material constituents. With thirty-some paintings and twenty drawings, this first major retrospective of Winters’ work in Europe, curated by Enrique Juncosa (

  • Marta María Pérez Bravo

    Marta María Pérez Bravo’s recent solo show was her largest ever in Spain: over fifty of her austere photographs, taken from the mid-’80s through 1997, were dispersed throughout the gallery’s four floors. The earliest works by this Cuban artist based in Mexico deal with maternity, as in a series of five photographs entitled Para concebir (In order to conceive, 1985-86). These unembellished images of various parts of the artist’s own body include closeups of her abdomen during and after pregnancy. The latter shot, in which her belly is withered and covered with wrinkles and folds, is given added

  • “El Rostro Velado”

    For some years now sexual ambiguity has filled Spanish newspapers and magazines, spiced up television programs and stag parties, and even enlivened the closing celebrations at certain political conventions. In keeping with the media’s growing appetite for spectacle, the representation of this subject has generally been irredeemably superficial. The critically acclaimed exhibition “El Rostro Velado: Travestismo e identidad en el arte” (The veiled visage: transvestism and identity in art), however, presented a serious, historically based study of images of transvestism in the twentieth century.