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Feminism(s) in the MACBA Collection

Art as a key role through the activation of conscience and collective agency

Anni Albers, Katalin Ladik, Sílvia Gubern, Mireia Sallarès and Cabello/Carceller as some examples of the different feminisms experienced over time

First, it was the Suffragettes with their campaign for the universal right to vote; then, in the 1960s, came a second wave of feminism around Women’s Lib and the struggle for equal rights in matters such as sexuality and abortion, family and labour. Later still, in the 1990s, a third generation promoted the so-called Difference Feminism, focusing on micro-politics and the notions of class and ethnicity. Today, a fourth wave emphasises plurality, from post-feminism and post-colonial feminism to queer feminism. At each stage, art has played a key role through the activation of conscience and collective agency. We invite you to discover artists such as Anni Albers who, as far back as the 1920s, worked with women of the Bauhaus against that institution’s patriarchal nature. Also, Katalin Ladik and Sílvia Gubern, who, in the sixties and seventies, exposed the dearth of women in the fields of art and the moving image. More recently, we find Mireia Sellarès working with the notions of sexuality and subalternity, while Cabello/Carceller contribute to the deactivation of obsolete mechanisms around gender binary. These are some of the feminisms we invite you to explore in the MACBA Collection.

Anni Albers
A nonconformist in spirit, she rebelled against her affluent background to start her career at the prestigious and avant-garde Bauhaus school in Weimar, where she would go on to run the textile workshop from 1931 and where she met her husband, the painter, designer and photographer Josef Albers. Anni Albers is considered a key author in redefining the figure of the designer as artist. She advanced the idea that art was democratising and that the separation between art and design had to be eliminated.
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Katalin Ladik
Novi Sad
With a bilingual education in Hungarian and Serbian, Ladik’s literary and artistic activities were closely linked to the renewal of the Yugoslavian avant-garde at the end of the sixties and during the seventies, where the art scene was freer and more tolerant than in other Eastern European countries. Feminism is another important component of her multifaceted work. Rather than distinguish between literary, musical, theatrical and visual disciplines, Ladik’s work revolves around the body, the voice, and phonetic and poetic experimentation.
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Silvia Gubern
She was one of the first to train at the Elisava Design School and, by the end of the sixties, had become a pioneer of Conceptual art in Catalonia. She formed an active group with artists such as Jordi Galí, Antoni Llena and Àngel Jové, with whom she presented ‘poor’ and ephemeral proposals together with actions in the Jardí del Maduixer. In the eighties, Gubern’s textile designs contributed to the emergence of this discipline in postmodern Barcelona. In the nineties, she abandoned visual production to focus on other creative areas, such as automatic writing.
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Mireia Sallarès
Mireia Sallarès uses video as an anthropological and sociological research tool, but also as a narrative instrument capable of producing stories based on the complexity of reality. Politically and socially committed, her work focuses on women’s groups and real stories of people from all over the world.
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Cabello/Carceller (grup d’artistes)
Helena Cabello and Ana Carceller have worked together since 1992. Their work uses installation, performance, video, writing and drawing to question the hegemonic modes of representation in visual practices and provide critical alternatives. Some of their topics of interest include the social construction of identity and sexual and gender policies.
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