Juan Vicente Aliaga

  • Frederick Kiesler

    While “Frederick Kiesler 1890–1965” suggested how arduous and ultimately futile it can be to attempt to classify the work of certain artists, this show also demonstrated how utilitarian, rationalist, and money-oriented approaches to modern art and architecture impede the realization of idealistic projects. Kiesler was barely able to build during his lifetime: his adoptive country, the United States, where he arrived from Europe in 1926 filled with pragmatic ideals, turned out not to be the most favorable harbor for his ideas.

    Sadly, one of his few constructions, The Film Guild Cinema, located in

  • Ricardo Cotanda

    Ricardo Cotanda’s 1995 exhibition at IVAM’s Centre del Carme was dominated by white. A perverse wink toward Duchamp’s bachelors, the show comprised nine pieces from a bridegroom’s apparel: shirt front, belt, tie, cuffs, collar, hat, shoes, handkerchief, and glove. Each element had been modified in some way, to disquieting effect. The shoes, for example, were sheathed in white socks, accentuating their phallic aspect; the handkerchief bore a suspicious, spermlike stain on its embroidery; and the belt was covered with tulle, undermining its symbolic function as a protector of the masculine

  • Florence Paradeis/Carmen Navarrete

    Mirados y vi(ver)siones” [Gazes and vi(ver)sions], an exhibition of work by Florence Paradeis and Carmen Navarrete, was part of a series of exhibitions engaging contemporary feminist discourse entitled “Tejido inacabado” (Unfinished fabric). Each of these shows attempts to set up a dialogue between the work of two women artists.

    Paradeis, a French artist, exhibited a group of photographs that she had glued onto aluminum and laminated. One of these was a diptych entitled So you know this woman?, 1995, which depicted two views of the same scene, an apparently mundane perspective on a city street,

  • Ese Oscuro Interior

    Although there are still many who would brand drawing as a minor art by relegating it to the category of the preparatory sketch—painting of course being considered the definitive medium—“Ese oscuro interior” (That inner darkness) presented drawing as an artistic practice of the highest order. The three artists whose work comprised this show—the Austrian Günter Brus and the Spaniards Luis Gordillo and Zush—were brought together under the umbrella of “the visionary experience,” which the show’s curator, José Miguel G. Cortes, defines as “a whole gamut of sensations . . . belonging on the other

  • ZAJ

    Spain’s most important museum has finally dedicated a retrospective to one of the most peculiar artistic groups to have surfaced in this country. Formed in July 1964 in Madrid by Juan Hidalgo, Walter Marchetti, and Ramón Barce, the group chose as its name a made-up, meaningless word—“ZAJ.” In 1956 Hidalgo and Marchetti met John Cage, an event that greatly contributed to the open-endedness of ZAJ’s actions, and in 1970 Esther Ferrer joined the movement, thus completing the most famous—yet most difficult to define—artistic group in contemporary Spain.

    In the somber, repressive panorama of the Franco

  • Itziar Okariz / Marie-Ange Guilleminot

    The underlying impetus for showing the work of Basque artist Itziar Okariz and French artist Marie-Ange Guilleminot together remains obscure. Beyond gender and the geographic proximity of their home countries, there is little to link these two artists. Nonetheless, each artist merits consideration in her own right.

    Though yet to receive a comprehensive solo show, Okariz is a familiar figure on the Spanish art scene, which is due, in part at least, to the group show “Años 90. Distancia Cero” (The ’90s. Distance zero) curated by José Luis Brea in 1994, in which her work first appeared. With their

  • Michel Journiac

    As the work of Michel Journiac makes evident, it is reductive to view the body art of the ’70s as centered on concepts like resistance, tension, rhythm, and sequence instead of sexuality. In an oeuvre that has explored the body since the ’60s, Journiac questions the divide between masculine and feminine, viewing these categories not as hermetic entities, but as constantly renegotiated notions intimately connected to social conditions. Thus, in a work from 1972, titled Hommage à Freud (Homage to Freud), a postcard made up of four photographs—one of his father, Robert Journiac, another of his


    Transformation and metamorphosis have always been central to the work of Paco Vacas, whether he is exploring the fungibility of gender designations, embalming himself in a cocoon, or intervening in the work of nature. For Vacas, transformation inevitably has a sexual dimension that opens onto questions of desire. The territory he explores is precisely that which has been foreclosed by what Michel Foucault perceived as the Western obsession with an individual’s true sex—an obsession written in and around the body of the hermaphrodite. For centuries, it was widely acknowledged that a hermaphrodite

  • Jesús Martínez Oliva

    Whiteness. A clean, blinding space painted white enveloped Jesús Martínez Oliva’s installation, Flúidos discontinuos (Discontinuous fluids, 1994). At the entrance to the gallery, a horizontal piece, made of institutional-white power cables, broke through the floor, presenting an engorged form that resembled a penis. In the back, in a room built for this occasion, Martínez Oliva placed three wall pieces made of electromagnetic tape that slowly rotated on rollers and pulleys. The central, penile-shaped piece, and the works around it depicting ambiguously gendered copulation, were decidedly sexual.

  • Luis Gordillo

    Luis Gordillo has created a hybrid language in which some Pop elements converge with certain aspects of art informel. He builds his work on serial repetition with an ironic twist. This exhibition presented a diachronic view of his work, focusing on his works of the ’80s, encouraging the viewer to read Gordillo’s painting in terms of the “stylistic associations” established among the pieces, and serving as a means of questioning the chronological orientation of the majority of retrospectives.

    I use “stylistic associations” in order to echo Gordillo himself, who sums up his work as a group of

  • Hervé Guibert

    In the introduction to his book of photos Le seul visage (The only face, 1984), Nerve Guibert defined his relationship to photography in terms of resistance, as a “reluctant, prudent form, distrustful of practicing it.” Imbued, perhaps, with this cautious practice, Guibert’s images fall into the idea of absence, into a a certain sense of lightness, of dreaming. Without a doubt, it is not a definitive, excluding absence; on the contrary, the objects portrayed point to the presence of an Other which, without always being visible, may appear at any moment. Such is the case in those photographs that

  • Javier Codesal

    Spain is a country of silences. A sort of tacit pact exists that certain aspects of the social order are acceptable as long as they are not mentioned—homosexuality, for example. The silence surrounding the issue of AIDS is merely an extension of this attitude. Rather than being represented by an apocalyptic iconography, the issues surrounding AIDS went nearly unnoticed until the beginning of the ’90s. And in the artistic arena, except in the paradigmatic case of Pepé Espaliu, practically no artist has dealt with these issues—not even, and this is most sobering, those artists or groups of artists