Ellos no pueden venir esta noche, 1985

They Can't Come Tonight, 1985
Sculpture, 140 x 500 x 80 cm

This sculptural installation is characteristic of Nacho Criado’s work. It reveals, on the one hand, the tension between the conceptual element and the difficulty in materialising it, while on the other it pays tribute to his artistic referents, both recurring traits of Criado’s work converging in this work.

In a literal reference to fishing and its symbology, Ellos no pueden venir esta noche (They Can’t Come Tonight) examines how memory and the passage of time operate, a theme that always interested this artist. A number of rectangular pieces of glass hang by fishing line – weighted with lead weights and hooks – from a long iron pipe resting on two supports. Criado catches fragments of memory and reflects on absences. As he explained: ‘Ellos no pueden venir esta noche thinks back on all those people who have at certain times helped me in my work: Rothko, Manzoni, Duchamp, Beuys, Mondrian, Klein, Maciunas. It’s my way of acknowledging them.’ Acknowledging aesthetic and ideological references is a constant trait of his work. He never ceased to pay tribute and find inspiration in those artists he regarded as his masters. Among them are Mark Rothko (his first solo exhibition at Galeria Sen in Madrid, in 1970, was titled Homage to Rothko), Manzoni (1973), Beuys (1974), Duchamp (1977) and Zaj (1977). Ellos no pueden venir esta noche summarises all these homages.

Another relevant aspect of his work is materiality. Glass, treated in many different ways, is a recurring material in the creative path of this artist. In this particular case, the work incorporates the physical presence of the viewer who alters it slightly by generating movement. While iron is a heavy material, glass brings lightness and fragility, an alternation that points to the metaphysics of absence and adds lyricism to the work.

Technical details

Original title:
Ellos no pueden venir esta noche
Registration number:
Criado, Nacho
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Various materials
140 x 500 x 80 cm (height x width x depth)
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation. Work purchased thanks to Banco Sabadell Foundation
© Herederos Nacho Criado
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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