During the winter months the MACBA Collection is presenting a selection of works on the floor 0 of the Museum.
These series of works illustrate the confrontation of the discourses that dominated the artistic debate from the fifties. The collection brings together these multiple responses to the period and its conflicts, such as the flowering of Informalism, American Abstract Expressionism or the Nouveaux Réalistes. As its starting point it takes the work of Roberto Matta, which opened up the conception of fundamental space over the following decades.
Many of these works point to two main tendencies linked to abstraction which, through apparently contradictory, are in fact complementary. On the one hand, Informalism, partially rooted in Surrealism, with artists like Antoni Tàpies. In this line we find artists who in some way respond to the Spanish political situation like Antonio Saura and Manuel Millares, members of the Grupo el Paso. In contrast with that tendency is another, rooted in Functionalism and Constructivism, in which the abstraction is the result of a search for order, clarity, balance and objectivity and which leads to Concrete Art, two of whose main figures in Spain are Pablo Palazuelo and Jorge Oteiza.
At the end of this period the works of a new generation of artists linked to Neo-Dada interrupt the abstract homogeneity of the pictorial space by including real objects in it which emphasise the material conditions of the work to the detriment of illusion and representation. That can be seen in the work of Larry Rivers, George Segal and most of all in the photographs by Robert Frank, a photographer linked to the beat generation, presented here for the first time.
The next rooms develop this discourse towards another turning point: the one that covers the sixties and seventies and corresponds to the flowering of new critical discourses and new artistic practices. In this period tendencies like American Minimal and the various offshoots of Conceptual Art live side by side and question artistic activity aimed at the production of objects, rather favouring the performance and process aspects.
Along that line, Marcel Broodthaers is a fundamental artist in the collection. His work brings together two essential traditions of modern art, Duchamp's ready-made and Magritte's image-rhetoric. Although it springs from writing, it adopts different media: photography, film, installation, graphics, multiples, books, etc. His work is a prelude to the consequences of the transformation of artistic production under the expansion of the culture of consumption, which began in the sixties, and the transformation of the museum from the impact of the new practices and the critical thought of the new social movements.