Critics’ Picks

Ceesepe, El día que muera Bombita (The day that Bombita dies), 1983, chinese ink, acrylic, gouache and collage on paper, 26 x 20".

Ceesepe, El día que muera Bombita (The day that Bombita dies), 1983, chinese ink, acrylic, gouache and collage on paper, 26 x 20".

Madrid

Ceesepe

La Casa Encendida
Ronda de Valencia, 2
May 31–September 22, 2019

Following civil war, Franco’s fascist reign for almost forty years, and the rigors of an intellectual opposition of ironclad left-wing orthodoxy, the young modernos who disembarked to Madrid from the four corners of Spain from 1975 onward were intent to shake off the authoritarianism, religiosity, and dogmas of any ideology. any ideology—to update clothes and philosophies, follow fashions and fads, or invent them. La Movida’s girls (and boys) just wanted to have fun.

Or so it seemed. This survey focuses on the early drawings and experimental films of Carlos Sánchez Pérez (1958–2018), who would eventually become Ceesepe: one of the leading artists of La Movida—that countercultural urban current that pulsed from Franco’s demise until the late 1980s. And it reminds us again that in the creative circles of Barcelona or Madrid, there was more social and cultural activism than the era gets credit for: new body politics, new ideas about gender, a new queer consciousness, new ways to understand feminism. 
            
As a teenager, Ceesepe was able to latch on early to that zeitgeist’s comix, featured in underground magazines such as Barcelona’s Star. When he was sixteen he began to publish there the adventures of his antihero, Slober: politically incorrect, violent, marginal, and inspired by the new wave of graphic novels and cartoons arriving from the United States. (The moniker of Ceesepe’s studio/collective, the Cascorro Factory, fusing the names of Warhol’s lair and an obscure square in Madrid, says a lot about its references and its mixture of the local and the cosmopolitan.) In one room hang colorful compositions—drawings that prefigure his instantly recognizable style, featuring lysergic colors and compositions, with yellows, pinks, and greens as acid as its punkish irony—that accompanied the premiere of the first, outrageous feature by Pedro Almodóvar, Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom) (1980). All in all, Ceesepe’s early works prove to be indispensable time capsules that joyously illustrate the accelerated modernization of a Spain in transition.