To coincide with the temporary exhibition A Theatre without Theatre, a selection of works was presented on the ground floor of the Museum and in La Capella with a view to enhancing and expanding some aspects behind the show. While A Theatre without Theatre drew the line at 1989, this selection extended the period of study up until the present and highlighted the ways in which the idea of theatricality had influenced art produced in Spain. It also offered a kind of counterpoint to the temporary exhibition, given that it didn't simply explore theatre's role in shaping new artistic modalities, but also tried to decipher the theatrical element that is intrinsic to the art world. This performative aspect encompassed the notion of public space as a grand stage for social antagonism, and the study of language and its discursive properties as elements that are inherent to the artwork. The selection included works by Ibon Aranberri, Txomin Badiola, Joan Brossa, David Goldblatt, Harun Farocki, Jon Mikel Euba, Miralda, Ulrike Ottinger, Allan Sekula and Jeff Wall, among others.

This new presentation of the MACBA Collection is related to the A Theatre without Theatre temporary exhibition and develops some aspects not addressed in that production; it highlights the notion of theatricality in Spain and constitutes a chronological continuation of the piece: 1989 marked the end of A Theatre without Theatre, while the exhibition of the MACBA Collection brings the story up to date.

The MACBA Collection display places emphasis on four fundamental aspects. In the first place, the works presented in the Capella reflect the theatricalization of a certain modernity based on reinterpretations carried out from a position of constructivist abstraction – especially in the work of Jorge Oteiza – made by, on the one hand, such artists as Txomin Badiola and, on the other, Jon Mikel Euba.

While A Theatre without Theatre reflects the influence of theatre in the world of art and how the notion of theatricality has altered our perception of artistic work, a second aspect analysed by the Collection is the theatrical content that originates in the world of art, an aspect which includes both the grotesque, as well as the Karneval notion developed by Batkin. In this area we find works by Jeff Wall, Ulrike Ottinger and Miralda, among others.

As Karneval led to the alteration of dominant social structures and promoted their eventual transformation, it is logical to assume that this concept is intrinsically linked to the city and to public space understood as a theatre in which social rivalries are settled. This third aspect appears for instance in Waiting for Tear Gas (1999-2000) by Allan Sekulla, and Monte Casino from the North… (2001) by David Goldblatt. But among all these theatrical aspects there is another, a fourth, which is related to language and the alteration and interrelation of images and texts, which is also reflected in this exhibition of the MACBA Collection. Outstanding examples of this are to be found in the works of Joan Brossa and Perejaume.

Curator: Manuel J. Borja-Villel
Production: Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)