Presenta, 1977

Presents, 1977

Eugènia Balcells (Barcelona, 1943) graduated as an Architectural Technician and completed her artistic training in New York. Her artistic career began in the 70s in the context of Spanish conceptual art, with her being a pioneer in the fields of experimental filmmaking and audio-visual art.

The artist's work has developed through the production of videos, films and installations, in which she makes clear the abuses of contemporary mass consumer society. Recurring themes include the use of everyday objects, images and the role of the woman, interpersonal relationships and mankind's confrontation with its own existence, always from a critical, committed standpoint.

Eugènia Balcells makes use of all manner of materials, object and images, giving them both a use and an artistic meaning. Formally speaking, her work reflects an interest in the circle, employed in a number of her installations, the relationship between images and sounds, and the effects and meanings of light.

Her films Presenta and The End, both dating from 1977, are linked to the audio-visual installation RE-PRISE and comprise a series of frames from commercial feature films. Presenta is a continuous succession of opening credits whilst, as its name implies, The End is of the ends of films, combined with a collage of different musical soundtracks from commercial films as the backing. With these films, Balcells casts an ironic eye over the stereotypes created by the mass media.

What kind of image of a man and a woman would be gained by an alien that had never met any living human being and only knew them through the images that appear in the media? This question forms the premise for the film made by Eugènia Balcells the following year: Boy meets girl, with its strong gender-based content. Here, the film is divided vertically into two parts: to the left appears a succession of images of women and, to the right, of men, all taken from newspapers, magazines, adverts, etc. The artist has structured the film as if it were a game in which relationships are formed between the different images as they criss-cross and form couples at random. In this way, the viewer can see what are the contemporary archetypes and stereotypes of men and women with which today's media are flooded.

For/against, made in 1983 for a film festival organised by New York's Collective for Living Cinema, is composed of a highly-condensed collage of fragments taken from commercial television, which follow one another in quick succession and reflect images of violence as a denouncement of war, destruction, fear, hunger, injustice and the manipulation of political and advertising messages in today's world.

Technical details

Original title:
Registration number:
Balcells, Eugènia
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Audiovisual recording
16 mm film transferred to single-channel video, colour, sound, 9 min 56 s
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
© Eugènia Balcells, VEGAP, Barcelona
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

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