Julião Sarmento

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

“Flashback,” curated by James Lingwood, was one of the most important exhibitions in Julião Sarmento’s career, affording a retrospective view of twenty-five years of the artist’s work. As the title suggests, it links his “white paintings” of the ’90s to earlier phases of his work, specifically to his use of photography and cinema in the ’70s.

This admirable installation of 121 works occasioned a complete (if temporary) architectural reorganization of the Palacio de Velázquez. The open space was partitioned into twenty-seven rooms laid out in an almost symmetrical fashion around a small, dark central room, which was also the one through which viewers entered and exited the exhibition. Entering through a curtain, they saw a film (Untitled, 1999) that was both one of Sarmento’s newest pieces and the leitmotif of the exhibition. This work, made in Super 8, with the grain and shakiness typical

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