The Rafael Tous Collection constitutes the most important group of Conceptual art works in the country. Comprising almost one thousand pieces, it brings together works by around thirty of the most prominent artists of the seventies and eighties from Catalonia and the rest of Spain.
Linked to the textile world, Rafael Tous (Barcelona, 1940) has been a life-long collector of art. He began acquiring Impressionist works in his youth, but by 1970 he had begun collecting artists of his own generation with whom he developed close friendships. His collection grew out of visits to the artists’ studios, as well as the exhibitions at Galeria G, Sala Vinçon, Espai 13 of the Fundació Joan Miró and the university space at the Universitat Autònoma, Barcelona.
The Rafael Tous Collection is built on complicity and proximity. It is the result of intense friendships with, and a firm commitment to, a generation of creators to whom he has lent his support over the years. To a large extent, the radical approaches of this generation were made possible by the backing of people like Rafael Tous, who believed in their work with loyalty and enthusiasm. In so doing, he became a key agent for the development and consolidation of the Conceptual generation, while leading the way for the future of art in Catalonia.
His commitment was to be consolidated with the opening of Metrònom. From 1980 until 2006, first in the Sant Gervasi neighbourhood and then in the emblematic building on Fusina street in El Born, Metrònom was a space for experimentation not only in the field of visual arts but also in music, dance and theatre, where he encouraged new and experimental works with an extraordinary eye for quality.
It was the poetic commitment of Conceptual art, as well as its political and social content, that led Tous to acquire the works that became his contemporary art fonds. Beginning with the precursory steps taken by Antoni Llena and Àngel Jové at the end of the sixties, the collection embraces the works of the central period of Catalan Conceptualism (1970–75) and follows the subsequent development of the individual artists until the present. Works focused on political critique (Francesc Abad, Francesc Torres, Grup de Treball, Muntadas), social art and the media (Muntadas, Joan Rabascall, Eulàlia Grau), investigations around matter and the object (Pere Noguera, Jordi Pablo, Jaume Xifra), the body and nature (Jordi Benito, Àngels Ribé, Fina Miralles, Carles Pujol), and the ritual ceremonies of the so-called Catalans in Paris, are among other interests and artists that provide a window onto the vast artistic panorama of the period.
Following Rafael Tous’ generous donation, MACBA’s exhibition of the Tous Collection of Conceptual art will open on 27 November 2020
Curated by: on the basis of an idea proposed by Rafael Tous, curated by Antònia Maria Perelló, curator and head of the Collection MACBA, and Claudia Segura, curator of exhibitions and collection.