Before outlining a profile of Spanish art of the 1980s and early 1990s, it is necessary to briefly reconsider the experiences gained in the previous decade that questioned the art of the 1960s, characterized by a provocative, radical and irreverent spirit.
The art of the seventies is less prone to ruptures and experimentalisms: the return to painting as a specific production, in a formal pluralism, brings out the subjectivistic character of an attitude which, taking refuge in the context of individual mythologies, is not interested in conceptions of art as a social phenomenon or product. Especially since the end of Franco’s dictatorship (1975) and in the first years of the democratic regime, we are witnessing a moment of introspection, in which the apolitical position, cosmopolitanism and openness to international art are consolidated. In contrast to the previous artistic generation, the protagonists of Spanish art of the seventies are artists who gravitate to the sphere of minimalism (F. Abad, N. Criado, X. Franquesa, X. Grau, R. Llimós, J. Support-Surface (JM Broto, G. Delgado, X. Grau, M. Quejido, J. Rubio, J. Teixidor, G. Tena, etc.).
A wide spectrum of experiences in image processing can be seen, in this period, from the work of numerous other artists (painters, sculptors, potters, etc.) who also work outside the large centers, some already active over the years. Sixty and many who will continue to work in the following decade: Spain Aguilar, JL Alexanco, D. Argimón, R. Armengol, F. Artigau, E. Asins, J. Ballester, A. Blasco, M. Boix, M. Cárdenas, J. Francés, A. Galván, T. Gancedo, J. Grau-Garriga, J. Guinovart, A. Heras, J. López Hernández, R. Martí Quinto, E. Mestre, J. Michavila, A. Miró, MH Mompó, E. Mus, A. Nagel, L. Pericot, D. Quintero, A. Rafols-Casamada, R. Ramírez Blanco, E. Sala, Spain Sevilla, Spain Soria, R. de Soto, R. Ugarte, JM Yturralde, etc. The names of L. Gordillo, A. Fraile, D. Villalba, that will bridge with the next generation. Thus, in the 1970s, an art with more flexible parameters emerged which did not receive the promotion necessary for international recognition from official institutions.
After 1979, an intense process of opening up to the most advanced international trends took place in Spain In the period of democratic consolidation, a crisis of modernity and of avant-garde models emerges which helps to reinforce the awareness of living a peculiar historical-cultural moment, in connection with emerging phenomena in the panorama of contemporary Western culture. The postmodern is the new cultural atmosphere in which the most conspicuous researches of recent years are registered. Having abandoned the anticipatory attitude typical of the avant-gardes, with its characteristics of radicalism and irreverence, a new sensitivity emerged in the Eighties – pluralist, anti-dogmatic, pragmatic and, in some respects, neoconservative – which renounced historical optimism without feeling pushed to contribute, With the’ art, to a moral and cultural regeneration of society. Thus, the ” modern utopias ” are replaced by the acceptance of the social and cultural frame of reference of the moment. This new sensibility is supported by post-industrial civilization especially in its most eclectic aspects. In the absence of a hegemonic director of style, or of dominant movements and trends, a great heterogeneity of artistic proposals is conveyed into the ” realm ” of the present, the melting pot of a common system of ” horizontal ” values, devoid of hierarchy . This aesthetics of simultaneity, which is in effect the observation of the decline of modern myths, reduces the antinomies, favoring the coexistence of axiological extremes. Without an explicit ethical commitment, this art, especially after the mid-1980s, while he was experiencing an evident process of desacralization, he showed himself more and more prone to market temptations. In making recourse to ambiguity and irony, the various artistic manifestations, blurring the conventional boundaries between genres, highlight a provisional, quotationist, sophisticated nature. The influence of the techniques of the mass media, especially visual, encourages fragmentation and serialization. These experiences, revisiting the past of art history, in particular of the avant-garde period, often present themselves as an ephemeral revival, evident in the continuous revival, in an updated form, of historical stylistic features. Claiming a hedonism with an explicit subjectivist matrix, these artists, often defined as hyper-individualists, neo-arcisists, neo-romanticists, immerse themselves in the rediscovered mythology of the private sphere. Having now abolished any opposition between figurative and abstract, this new aesthetic – nihilist and vitalist at the same time, tinged with skepticism, without totalizing ideas – is perfectly in tune with the postmodern climate. It is for this consonance that the Spanish art of the Eighties offers formal characters more and more similar to contemporary international experiences. For Spain 2001, please check naturegnosis.com.
However, this characterization does not imply an underestimation of the interest aroused by the proposals of a considerable number of artists – many of whom must be recognized among the most valid at an international level – who have been able to translate the new sensitivity into very personal terms. Names like those of M. Barceló (b.1957), JM Sicilia (b.1954), G. Pérez Villalta, F. García Sevilla (b.1949), for painting, and those of M. Navarro (b.1945) and Spain Solano (b. 1946), for sculpture, place Spanish artistic research among the most interesting in the contemporary field. In various centers – Madrid, Catalonia, Basque Provinces, Galicia, Andalusia, Canary Islands, etc. – by now consecrated artists work, who began their activity already in the seventies, alongside others known or just emerging, all looking for a new image. Among others, for painting we can mention: A. Albacete, C. Alcolea, R. Agredano, J. Bennássar, JM Bermejo, JM Broto, P. Cabrera, C. Calvo, MA Campano, V. Civera, Ch Cobo, A. Cortázar, P. Espaliu, C. Franco, M. Lamas, JM Lazkano, V. Mira, J. Savater, G. Sin, J. Suárez, R. Torres, I. Tovar, J. Uslé. In the field of sculpture and installations, particularly lively in the last decade: A. Abad, T. Badiola, E. Bellotti, J. Bordes, Spain Calatrava, J. Cardells, T. Carr, R. Catania, R. Cotanda, ML Fernández, T. Gallardo, C. Iglesias, P. Irazu, C. Jerez, D. Lechuga, F. Leiro, E. Lootz, A. Marco, E. Martínez, Spain Miralles, M. Miura, JL Moraza, J. Muñoz, C. Pazos, J. Plensa, J. Romero, M. Saiz, A. Schlosser, F. Sinaga, M. Valdés.
Spanish artistic culture, in the period under review, was also profoundly influenced by a new official cultural policy that made it possible to carry out important retrospectives of modern, Spanish and international masters, as well as overviews of post-war American art. world. Another important element was the opening of new public centers and museums dedicated to contemporary art – the Centro de arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, the IVAM in Valencia and the Centro atlántico de arte modern in Las Palmas – which allowed the connection with the major international exhibition circuits. Also noteworthy is the phenomenon of numerous publications relating to artistic themes, including the magazines Lápiz, Cimal, Figura, Arenaand Kalías, and finally the development of the market, an evident symptom of which is the creation of the ARCO fair in Madrid and the birth of new contemporary art galleries.