Miguel Amado

  • “Campo Cerrado: Spanish Art of the Postwar Period”

    Campo cerrado” (Closed Field) surveys Spanish cultural production from 1939—a date that marks not only the commencement of World War II but also the end of the Spanish Civil War and the beginning of Franco’s dictatorial rule—to the mid-1950s. Work from this period has, for the most part, been critically disregarded until recently, thanks to its conservative strain and its association with the fascist Francoist regime. This exhibition promises to shed new light on the epoch, highlighting the emergence of a modern Spanish sensibility. The show

  • Helena Almeida

    This major survey promises to assure Helena Almeida’s stature as a significant post-Minimalist artist. Featuring roughly seventy-five works made between 1966 and 2015, the exhibition focuses on Almeida’s take on the relationship between representation and performance, underscoring the role of the body in her output. It will highlight the painted black-and-white photographic self-portraits depicting movement sequences for which the artist is recognized but will also explore lesser-known aspects of her practice, including early paintings, drawings,

  • picks May 08, 2015

    Maria Thereza Alves

    This survey of Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves’s practice intelligently includes her seminal work Seeds of Change: A Floating Ballast Seed Garden, 1999–. Here, panels with pictures, maps, and texts dedicated to European port cities document her scrutiny of the connection between trade, the scattering of ships’ ballast flora, and landscape. Alves’s interest in ecology is her trademark, but this exhibition addresses her range through a selection of works focused on colonial themes, including the subaltern condition of native peoples across history. Take for example NoWhere, 1991, which combines

  • picks April 06, 2015

    Marcos Ávila Forero

    A key characteristic of French-Colombian artist Marcos Ávila Forero’s practice is an ethnographic engagement with political subjects and contexts. In this exhibition, the installation Zuratoque, 2013, is exemplary of that method. Zuratoque is a shantytown in the Santander region of Colombia, mostly occupied by peasants who fled the countryside due to the ongoing warfare between the Colombian government, revolutionary guerrilla movements, and conservative paramilitary groups. Forero collaborated with them to produce this work, wherein the refugees wrote testimonies to their experiences on jute

  • picks March 24, 2015

    Simon Ling

    In this survey of British painter Simon Ling’s output from the past half decade, Untitled, 2011, is part of a series that depicts a concrete foundation overgrown with patches of moss and grass, somewhere in the English countryside. The painting is a minute close-up of its subject, and such a scale suggests Ling’s interaction with it, both intellectually and physically. Fittingly, it was also featured in this venue’s previous exhibition “The Noing Uv It,” which speculated about the dynamics between objects, their portrayal, and the world.

    The artist often examines urban landscapes, particularly

  • picks March 19, 2015

    “Ce qui ne sert pas s’oublie”

    The exhibition’s curator, Catalina Lozano, addresses the changing status of objects from a social perspective, considering how items encapsulate subaltern narratives, particularly from colonialism. Take, for instance, Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc’s contribution: five rods made from ten melted copper Katanga crosses. In the past, populations of central Africa utilized these articles as currency, and the metal’s abundance in the Katanga region attracted Belgian colonizers. Today, the pieces resemble Minimalist sculpture. In both cases, value is of significance.

    Elsewhere, Jorge Satorre’s Matar vasijas

  • picks March 09, 2015

    “Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society, 1915-2015”

    The spectre of Kazimir Malevich haunts this exhibition. Black Quadrilateral, c. 1915—one of his compositions of shapes, including the square, painted against a white background—is the first of a long, dense display that surveys the twentieth-century developments and current trends of geometric abstraction across time and place. Malevich’s way of making art explored spirituality, and various artists followed him in this. Josef Albers, for example, created the series “Homage to the Square,” 1950-75, which emphasized an experience of the transcendental. But Malevich was also a pioneer of a

  • picks February 16, 2015

    Carlos Garaicoa

    Proyecto frágil (Santander) (Fragile Project [Santander]), 2014, is the key work of Madrid-based artist Carlos Garaicoa’s latest survey. The installation consists of several thin curved layers of glass, united by magnets at various heights, representing a port town. The piece intelligently explicates Santander’s shipping economy as symptomatic of capitalism’s association of modernity with industrialization and its organization of globalization and trade.

    Architecture is a key theme of Garaicoa’s output, and here he presents various photographs of streets and buildings from his native Cuba,

  • Asier Mendizabal

    Asier Mendizabal has always been concerned with the political realm, particularly both the problem of collective action as the motor of society’s transformation. In this respect, he initially considers power through symbols, inquiring into ideology and agency in the public sphere, then turns them into form. In the recent past, his interest has been the representation of the masses across history and media. In the series in “Figures and Prefigurations (Divers),” 2009–11, for instance, he draws from crowd scenes culled from the imagery of the post–World War I avant-garde to create black-and-white

  • picks January 27, 2015

    “Really Useful Knowledge”

    This exhibition’s title, “Really Useful Knowledge,” refers to a provocative nineteenth-century expression that emerged within British blue-collar communities to denote competence in intellectual realms such as philosophy, as opposed to the “useful knowledge,” or technical know-how that industrialists envisaged for their employees in order to increase productivity. The show’s curators, the collective What, How & for Whom, intelligently selected works that examine alternative pedagogical initiatives throughout history and across the globe.

    Many of the featured works consider the potential for both

  • picks January 25, 2015

    “The SAAL Process: Architecture and Participation, 1974–1976”

    A presentation of archival materials—from paintings informed by muralism to a slide projection of rallies—collected by Alexandre Alves Costa evokes the April 25, 1974, uprising, or Carnation Revolution, which inaugurated the democratic era in Portugal. The display sets up historical background for an examination of the SAAL (Serviço Ambulatório de Apoio Local [Local Ambulatory Support Service]), a Portuguese architectural enterprise that was organized in the wake of the event to address housing issues, particularly those within urban underprivileged areas, that characterized Portugal. It brought

  • picks December 17, 2014

    “El Contrato”

    At the core of “El Contrato” (The Contract) is a reading group convened by Bilbao-based collective Bulegoa Zenbaki Barik. During each session, participants discussed various texts that address the contract in its multiple dimensions: social, legal, linguistic, and performative. The meetings, which occurred every two weeks between April 2013 and February 2014, laid the groundwork for the themes that inform this exhibition, which include the body, the archive, forms of production, and pedagogy. Luca Frei presents The Contract, 2014, a setting for a new series of gatherings that take place within

  • picks October 23, 2014

    “Utopian Pulse—Flares in the Darkroom”

    Artists Ines Doujak and Oliver Ressler asked seven artists to each organize a weeklong exhibition that examines current affairs based on their understandings of utopia. The fourth in this lineup is “Salon Fluchthilfe,” a show and public programming series about the politics of exile. Curated by Zanny Begg, it’s titled after the German term fluchthilfe, meaning to aid an escape, which is often used in reference to helping people cross borders. An equivalent term in English doesn’t quite exist—ironically resonating with the disputed position of the émigré.

    Katarzyna Winiecka contributes documentation

  • picks April 02, 2014

    Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum

    The practice of Rotterdam-based artists Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum explores social transformation in the West brought forth by late capitalism. In their latest exhibition, organized by the independent curatorial group Latitudes, they examine the “image” of labor that has emerged as economic systems based on Ford-inspired models of mass production have gradually been replaced by immaterial, service-based economies. Producing Time In Between Other Things, 2011, for example, is inspired by the woodturning that van Gorkum’s grandfather picked up after retiring. The artists retrieved the wooden

  • slant December 06, 2013

    Miguel Amado

    Ahlam Shibli’s “Phantom Home” at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (January 25–April 28, 2013); Jeu de Paume (May 27–September 30, 2013); Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves (November 14, 2013–February 9, 2014) This year, Paris’s usually calm summer was stormed by controversy surrounding the Palestinian artist Ahlam Shibli’s exhibition, which surveys her photographic output from the past decade. The show includes the series “Eastern LGBT,” 2004–2006, which poetically portrays individuals exiled in cities such as London and Barcelona. Also on view is Shibli’s more recent series “Death,”

  • interviews August 23, 2013

    Kader Attia

    Kader Attia is a French artist of Algerian descent currently based in Berlin whose practice often investigates historical misunderstandings. His installation The Repair from Occident to Extra-Occidental Cultures, 2012, was a highlight of last year’s Documenta 13. He recently expanded the research he developed for that work into the exhibition “Repair. In Five Acts,” which is on view at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin through August 25, 2013. Here he discusses the intellectual framework of this project and how it evolved into its current presentation.

    I HAVE BEEN EXPLORING what I call

  • interviews July 30, 2013

    Julião Sarmento

    Julião Sarmento is a Lisbon-based artist well known for his critique of the male gaze. He recently had a retrospective at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves in Porto, Portugal. This summer he has exhibitions at the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil in Mexico City and at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas in Elvas, Portugal. Here, he discusses his recent and current shows and his ongoing interests and experimentations in architecture and performance.

    PERHAPS BECAUSE I’M GETTING OLDER, but the fact is that in the past nine months I have had a retrospective—my largest to date—and eight solo

  • interviews December 20, 2012

    Lee Welch

    Dublin-based artist Lee Welch’s exhibition “If What They Say Is True,” is on view at the Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry through January 13, 2013. He is the first recipient of “Production Ireland,” the debut edition of an annual commissions series that inaugurated the organization’s new venue. Here, Welch discusses the various aspects of the exhibition, which is based on motifs that have been recurrent in his practice over the last few years.

    96 PERCENT OF ALL TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS consist of just 737 words—and there are around half a million words in the English language. This

  • interviews September 28, 2012

    Nedko Solakov

    The Sofia, Bulgaria–based artist Nedko Solakov is known for his narrative-driven installations that merge his biography with history and fiction. His unorthodox, multipart, touring survey exhibition “All in Order, with Exceptions” is on view at Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves in Porto, Portugal, until October 28; over the past year, it has been installed at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, UK; S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Belgium; and the Fondazione Galleria Civica in Trento, Italy.

    I GRADUATED in mural painting at the Sofia Art Academy in the early 1980s and by then I was producing small paintings.

  • “João Penalva: Works With Text and Image”

    João Penalva’s most ambitious survey show to date smartly brings together a full complement of his work, from his rarely seen allegorically driven paintings of the 1980s and ’90s through his more recent multimedia installations and videos.

    João Penalva’s most ambitious survey show to date smartly brings together a full complement of his work, from his rarely seen allegorically driven paintings of the 1980s and ’90s through his more recent multimedia installations and videos. The exhibition will focus on the Portuguese-born, London-based artist’s postmodern exploration of narrative and theatricality: In Wallenda, 1997–98, one of two large-scale installations presented here, a sound track of Penalva whistling the entirety of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring is paired with footage of legendary tightrope walker the