France, Prada de Conflent, 1973 - France, Paris, 1975
Grup de Treball was a group of artists and intellectuals who developed a form of Conceptual art heavily involved in the struggle against the Franco regime. They were active between 1973 and 1977, but their final work was produced in 1975. Although the first public performance of the Group was in the art section of the 5th Catalan Summer University in Prades de Conflent (1973), some of the artists had already shown together in Granollers (1971 and 1972), in the exhibitions Formes al carrer in the Galeria Aquitània, Barcelona (1971), 1219m3 at Vilanova de la Roca (1972) and Informació d'Art Concepte 1973 in Banyoles, and participated in the controversial debate arising from Antoni Tàpies’ text ‘La creación: Arte conceptual aquí’ (Creation: Conceptual art here) that was published in the newspaper La Vanguardia in 1973. Grup de Treball presented their final work at the 9th Paris Biennale in 1975 and at the 37th Venice Biennale the following year. Their critical practice generated actions such as analysing the market value of the participating artists in Documenta, Kassel, producing clandestine posters in solidarity with the labour movement, placing ads in the classified section of newspapers as if they were works of art and documenting the underground press of the Catalan Countries. The participants and their degree of cohesion were very heterogeneous, but included: Francesc Abad, Jordi Benito, Jaume Carbó, Maria Costa, Alícia Fingerhut, Xavier Franquesa, Carles Hac Mor, Imma Julián, Antoni Mercader, Antoni Munné, Muntadas, Josep Parera, Santi Pau, Pere Portabella, Àngels Ribé, Manuel Rovira, Enric Sales, Carles Santos, Dorothée Selz and Francesc Torres.
Situated outside the usual channels for art work distribution, their operational model had of necessity to be different. Although as a group they produced little visual work, they generated numerous texts and communiqués. In their interventions, they used all possible means to spread information and documentation that was unusual in artistic typologies of the time. Whenever possible they used the press to publicise their message and organised information centres in their exhibitions. They emphasised the group’s Conceptualism, collective authorship, the dematerialisation of the art work, criticism of the usual art world distribution systems, the questioning of their own artistic condition and, of course, the struggle against political repression.
Grup de Treball presented works and documents in the Llotja del Tint, Banyoles (1973), the College of Architects, Barcelona (1973, 1975) and the College of Quantity Surveyors, Barcelona (1973–74), the Catalan Summer University in Prades de Conflent (1973), the German Institute, Barcelona (1973, 1974), the Llibreria de la Rambla, Tarragona (1973), the Institut Industrial, Terrassa (1973), the Foment de las Arts Decoratives (FAD), Barcelona (1974), the Galeria Adrià, Barcelona (1975) and the Clau gallery in Granollers (1975). Nationally, they participated in the German Institute, Madrid (1974), and in an international context presented work at the headquarters of the Commité d’Information et de Solidarité avec l’Espagne, Paris (1974), the Galerie des Locataires, New York (1974), the 9th Paris Biennale (1975) and the 37th Venice Biennale (1976). After the group’s dissolution, works have been exhibited in the Palacio de Velázquez, Madrid (1980), Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona (1992), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS), Madrid (2005, 2009) and Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana (2011), among others. MACBA presented a retrospective of the group in 1999. The works of Grup de Treball are to be found in the Fundación Rafael Tous de Arte Contemporáneo, MNCARS, Madrid, and the MACBA Collection, which since 2008 houses almost all the documented production of this group.