GETTING CLOSE TO EXPERIMENTAL ART

Art is an expressive language that does not conform to the pre-established guidelines and dares to explore new creative options. Indeed, we are before something intrinsic and consubstantial to art, because one of its purposes is to question the raison d'être of our reality, to go a step beyond the established orthodoxy, to break with classicism and pose a challenge both for artists and for the spectators. And in this creative magma, the incursion of new techniques and the combination of disciplines is the ideal breeding ground to originate new movements and trends.

Yoshi Sodeoka, “Utopia”

Experimental art wasn’t labelled until the last third of 20th century. Until then, the emergence of artistic movements gave way to more and more abstract manifestations, farther from the classical aesthetic, which had experienced small episodes of evolution on the emergence of new techniques, but with a production based on the demands of the sponsor of turn. It was the domination of religious motifs, the reconstructions of mythological stories, the tyranny of royal and nobiliary portraits, the expansion of pompous landscapes. However, the last century was the cradle of the concept of the modern artist, an autonomous, independent, irreverent and difficult to master author that also wanted to take refuge in a new language to live outside the canons.

Nacho Criado

As usual, in the beginning, new expressive proposals that move away from academicism usually receive a harsh criticism from the most conservative and consolidated group of the fine arts. Let us not forget that this had happened to the Impressionists, openly rejected by the most traditionalist authors, who saw in their style a kind of subversion (and even perversion) of painting. Today, however, this movement of the late 19th century has established itself as an inescapable reference in the history of art.

Cristopher Cichocki, “Fish With Enamel Illuminated by Ultra Violet Radiation”

Likewise, every experimental form tends to deal with less friendly and riskier themes that give way to the significant concerns of the moment. For this reason, these forms of expression are often associated with open criticism of the established system and the status quo of power. Nothing better than muddying the harshness of a social rethinking with a blow of novelty, such as the one proposed by experimental art. A break in the rules that requires a double reading to get to the bottom of the matter. Because, in this current, things are seldom what they seem.

Jim Drain

Thus, experimental art feeds on contemporary resources and builds its message on the value of discourse itself: what is said is more important than how it is said. The image, the "extra-artistic" elements, the influence of other professions and the media impact play a fundamental role in this stream that is still difficult to define and specify. The development of the artistic tissue in each moment and place determines the expansion and reception of these models. The old and veteran Europe, so attached to its history and cultural heritage, has always lagged behind other pioneering foci, such as those from beyond the Atlantic. Perhaps the absence of a thousand-year historical weight and the unconsciousness of living a reality with a barely bicentennial past serve as an impulse to set trends and become the field of experimentation par excellence. Let's lose the fear of being wrong and try.

 

The cultural agenda gradually recovers after the health-crisis halt and art lovers are eager to enjoy the rich cultural offer that the different spaces and museums throughout our geography have to offer. In addition, one must remember that these centres have made an enormous effort to adapt to the demands that the new situation imposes and have created abundant online-accessible content to overcome confinement. We bring you a selection of content that can be visited both in person and through the web. There is no excuse for not enjoying contemporary art again.

Olafur Eliasson, “En la vida real (In real life)”, 2019

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao continues with its exhibition dedicated to Olafur Eliasson and offers numerous resources to understand not only the exhibition but also the work of the centre in the assembly and installation process. The website allows us to expand content with interviews with the artist, the download of the audio guide and the vision of the curator Lucía Aguirre, who offers us different video-pills on the pieces in the exhibition.

"Olafur Eliasson: in real life" brings together a part of this artist's work since 1990 through sculptures, photographs, paintings and installations that play with reflections and colours. Likewise, the integration of elements such as moss, water, ice, fog... put the visitor in a situation that confuses the senses and tries to challenge the way we perceive our environment and move in it.

Regina de Miguel, “Isla Decepción”, 2017

The Botín Centre in Santander hosts the exhibition "Collecting processes: 25 years of Itineraries" which brings together the work of 25 of the 210 scholarship recipients who, to date, have enjoyed the Botín Foundation Plastic Arts Scholarship, started in 1993. With the works Lara Almárcegui, Basma Alsharif, Leonor Antunes, Javier Arce, Erick Beltrán, David Bestué, Bleda and Rosa, Nuno Cera, Patricia Dauder, Patricia Esquivias, Karlos Gil, Carlos Irijalba, Adrià Julià, Juan López, Rogelio López Cuenca, Renata Lucas, Mateo Maté, Jorge Méndez Blake, Regina de Miguel, Leticia Ramos, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Teresa Solar Abboud, Leonor Serrano Rivas, Jorge Yeregui, David Zink-Yi, the exhibition is a good example of up-to-date and young contemporary art contributed by artists with very diverse profiles.

Clemente Bernad. Series “Ante el umbral”, Madrid, 2020

The Reina Sofía Museum wanted to create a visual chronicle of what the confinement and the tragic numbers of infected and deceased have meant for the lives of many of us: a tale of pain, nostalgia and uncertainty made by the photographer Clemente Bernad. This exhibition, curated by Jorge Moreno Andrés, is entitled “Before the threshold”, a title that expresses the strange sensation that occurs when faced with something new and unknown, something that we cannot control or avoid, and that we all must go through. The alteration imposed on our lives unexpectedly is reflected in the streets, transformed into places of solitude and abandonment where life has been paralysed.

Mario Merz / No title, Triplo Igloo, 1984 MAXXI Collection

At the IVAM, the exhibition "What is our home?" brings together works from the IVAM collection and the MAXXI centre in Rome to propose a reflection on the space we inhabit seen from a personal and social perspective. It is about investigating the value that these spaces have as a home or refuge, as well as part of a city or community.

The exhibition, curated by José Miguel G. Cortés, also wants to delve into the feeling of those who feel like foreigners anywhere, because they do not identify with the habits or customs of the society, they do not fit into these social patterns, and home becomes the only shelter space that can adapt to their identity needs.

Martha Rosler, frame from “Backyard Economy I-II”, 1974 © Courtesy of Martha Rosler, 2020

Es Baluard Museu is committed to video creation and performance and hosts the monographic exhibition “Martha Rosler. How do we get there from here?” dedicated to this New York artist who pioneered the use of video as a mechanism for social and political analysis. This exhibition includes various works, from video to photography and several publications, which synthesise her main lines of discourse. Her concern for public policies and the social equality of women has led her to actively participate in numerous social movements in La Havana, New York, Mexico DC or Barcelona, and these experiences are present in one way or another in her work.

With the curatorship of Inma Prieto, a selection has been made within the abundant production of this artist, which presents one of the most coherent careers in towards-the-new-Millenium contemporary art.

Image from file, via meiac.es/turbulence/archive/acceso.html

The MEIAC - Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, host the works of the prestigious international digital art archive "Turbulence", a platform dedicated to network and hybrid art. In view of the inevitable closure of this institution, the MEIAC has offered to host all this valuable content collected since 1996. The uploading of the file also served as an opportunity to restore numerous pieces and convert formats so that files that had become obsolete remain readable by new systems. A huge job of conservation and updating that can be enjoyed online today. The archive is made up of hundreds of digital works from around the world that can now be visited remotely.