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"Reality and Desire"
1999-09-23 until 1999-11-07
Juan Miro Foundation
Reality and Desire, the title of the edition of the complete works of the Spanish poet Luis Cernuda (1902-63), has been taken by the curator as the
pretext for a look at the new figurative art of the 1990s and the subject of figuration and abstraction in the world of art in general. The neo-conceptual
currents of the 1980s put an end to the predominance of neo-expressionism, to the benefit of photography and installations. However, in recent years, an
international group of leading artists has discovered in figuration – as seen from an analytical and conceptual point of view – and in the traditional media
used in painting and sculpture, an effective vehicle for their ideas.
The exhibition begins with works by Gerhard Richter (Germany) and Vija Celmins, Alex Katz and Malcolm Morley (all three from the USA), influential artists
who have made figuration a rigorous form of reflection on art. These are followed by pieces by Francis Al˙s (Mexico), Stephan Balkenhol (Germany),
Marlene Dumas (Netherlands), Susy Gómez (Spain), Anthony Gormley (United Kingdom), Guillermo Kuitca (Argentina), Marina Núńez (Spain), Perejaume
(Spain), Thomas Schütte (Germany), Kiki Smith (USA) and Mark Tansey (USA), who demonstrate the diversity that is one of the characteristic features of
what is known as post-modern art. These are artists who always, or very frequently, use a kind of neutral figuration, though one that is nonetheless imbued
with meaning, in order to address the subjects of identity, sexuality, reality and even art itself.
This exhibition can be considered as the second part of The new abstractions, which was shown in various museums in Spain and Germany in 1996 and
was also curated by Enrique Juncosa. Through this cycle, which is to be continued, the curator aims to define aspects of present-day art from an
undogmatic perspective that sees today’s plurality as a radicalisation of certain ideals of Modernity. There is no one single way of interpreting the world, just
as there is no single valid medium through which to express it.