The stories of the 1990s have yet to be written. An official history has already been sketched out, one that certified the end of the Europe of blocks and the triumph of capitalism, believed in “globalization”, acritically embraced technological advances in daily life and so on. But there was another reality in this decade, one that ignored the market as the breakwater for work in culture, which saw the cracks in the new neoliberal order long before the 2008 crisis, which was based on mutual understanding and involvement, fraternity, and laying the groundwork for a culture of the commons. In Spain this is a broad period, stretching beyond its chronological limits, beginning in the mid-1980s when a generation beginning to feel uncomfortable with the absence of memory of the Spanish transition to democracy emerged and turned its gaze towards artists who had begun to work on the conceptual.

As a part of Action. A Provisional History of the 90s, this seminar delves into some of the practices that ran through this period which, following the outbreak of a pandemic, are once again at the forefront of many perspectives on our time. Beyond defending the centrality of our bodies and action and performance as a way of challenging many of the salient lines of tension, the seminar proposes a reflection on the validity of many of the practices that began then: the need togenerate spaces that allow for the fluidity of intergenerational relations; engagement with practices that always seem to swim against the tide; expansions to parallel fields, like music and poetry, the paratheatrical, the body in movementnew technologies with which action has always maintained a close relationship and the same strategy for revealing and rewriting together with all of the actors of the decade the numerous stories which have remained invisible.


OCTOBER 30th AND 31st, 2020 


Seminar introduction by Ferran Barenblit, MACBA director


Activating stories. Narrating action. José Díaz Cuyás talks with Ferran Barenblit and Aída Roger, curators of Action: A provisional history of the 90s


Sound poetics. Panel discussion with Eduard Escoffet, Bartolomé Ferrando and Barbara Held. Introduced and moderated by: María Salgado




Action as militancy. Panel discussion with Oscar Abril Assasso, Santi Barber and Nieves Correa. Introduced and moderated by: Marcelo Expósito


Presentation by Marta Pol Rigau. Is it possible to define certain conceptual aspects of the action art of the nineties?


Esther Ferrer and Los Torreznos. Conversation about intergenerational transmission (pre-recorded)


Self-managed artistic communities. Panel discussion with Joan Casellas and Ester Xargay. Introduced and moderated by: Karin Ohlenschläger



If you have any question, feel free to contact us on 93 481 33 68 or by email at macba [at] macba [dot] cat


Biographies of the participants are available in Spanish.


Co-organised by

L'Internationale. Our many europes

Our Many Europes is a programme by the European museum confederation "L'Internationale" and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. The members of L'Internationale (Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Moderna Galerija (MG+msum), Ljubljana, Van Abbemuseum, The Netherlands, MACBA, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie, SALT Research and programs Istanbul and Ankara, and Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid) and its partners National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Dublin and Valand Academy (Gothenburg University) are presenting more than 40 public activities (conferences, exhibitions,workshops) from now and until May 2022.

I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life
Jean-Michel Basquiat