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The Museo de Bellas Artes and the Sala de Exposiciones del Mercado del Este will be jointly showing outstanding works from the Contemporary Art Collection of ”la Caixa” Foundation

, 5 July 2004

The Contemporary Art Collection of ”la Caixa” Foundation is presenting a substantial selection of works in Santander, featuring thirty-one artists from Spain and abroad and highlighting the wide range of aesthetic options represented in the Collection. The selection brings together leading figures in contemporary art, all of whom have exerted great influence on aesthetics over the last thirty years.

A total of fifteen works, mostly photographs, are presented in the Museo de Bellas Artes, forming a disquieting scenario centring on differing representations of the human figure. The works exhibited in the Sala de Exposiciones del Mercado del Este are chiefly paintings associated with two key turning points in the development of that discipline: the redefinition of painting brought about by a number of artists in the 1980s, and the new abstraction felt by artists in the late 1990s.

The exhibition, comprising works that are fundamental pieces in the Contemporary Art Collection ”la Caixa” Foundation, is under the charge of its curator, Nimfa Bisbe, and can be seen in Santander from 6 July to 18 September 2004 in the Museo de Bellas Artes (in Calle Rubio, No. 6) and in the Sala de Exposiciones of the Mercado del Este (in Calle Bailén, s/n). This event was organised to mark the occasion of the centenary of ”la Caixa” (1904-2004).

The Contemporary Art Collection ”la Caixa” Foundation was started in 1985 with the aim of bringing together a body of works that would record the richness and complexity found in artistic creation in our time. It now offers a broad panorama of the art produced from 1980 to the present day through its collection of over nein hundred key works by artists from Spain and other countries, including works by widely acknowledged artists and also by younger artists who are opening up new paths for art today.

The collection has its permanent home at CaixaForum, the former Art-Nouveau textile factory that ”la Caixa” Foundation refurbished as a cultural centre in Barcelona two years ago. Showing the collection is undoubtedly an essential contribution to the Spanish art scene, and that is why ”la Caixa” Foundation is arranging for it to be shown, through various selections from the collection, in the leading exhibition centres in Spain. The idea behind these exhibitions, which feature varying visions and interpretations of the art of today, is to encourage visitors to take a fresh look at artistic creation and to bring contemporary art to a wider audience.

This selection, which will be shown jointly in the Museo de Bellas Artes and in the Sala de Exposiciones del Mercado del Este to mark the centenary of ”la Caixa”, is a substantial sample of works highlighting the wide range of aesthetic options represented in the Collection.

The works presented in the Museo de Bellas Artes focus on varying representations of the human figure. Most of them are photographs, some of which tackle, whether theatrically or with stark realism, various issues of present-day life – identity, feminism, memory and critiques of society – while others explore the photographic medium itself as it has gradually moved into territories that were once the preserve of painting. This venue will be home to works by Christian Boltanski, Günther Förg, Stefan Hablützel, Craigie Horsfield, Cindy Sherman and Gillian Wearing.

In the Sala de Exposiciones del Mercado del Este, painting looms large. One the one hand come works by particularly significant artists from the 1980s, engaging in an important debate on the need to redefine painting. Artists such as Miquel Barceló or Francesco Clemente turn to the cultural tradition of painting itself, with expressions of narrative and figurative ideas, and casting off all avant-garde or modern prejudices. At the other end of the room, a set of paintings from the late 1990s reveals a new attitude with regard to the medium: the artists no longer concern themselves with the identity of painting, working on it instead as a language capable of producing images, and bringing in industrial colours, photographs and a wide range of textures and materials. Here we find abstract painting that takes the ornamental and the decorative on board as a point of reference and a resource.

On display between those two extremes, visitors will find various approaches to photography, with offerings that have generated the most significant debates on theories of representation since the eighties. Also on view are works by four emblematic artists who blazed new trails for sculpture. In the middle of the room, works by Shirin Neshat and João Onofre point viewers to that new aesthetic paradigm that the video has now become. Both focus on the sphere of human relations, though from widely divergent positions: while Neshat takes a sociological perspective, Onofre stresses the potential of technology for reformulating fictional space. In addition to all those artists, the Sala de Exposiciones del Mercado del Este will also house works by Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Katharina Fritsch, Bernard Frize, Jorge Galindo, Andreas Gursky, Beatriz Milhazes, Felicidad Moreno, Juan Muñoz, Bruce Nauman, Sigmar Polke, Fiona Rae, Thomas Ruff, Julião Sarmento, Thomas Schütte, Thomas Struth, Sam Taylor-Wood, Jeff Wall and Franz West.

Contemporary Art Collection ”la Caixa” Foundation
6 July to 18 September 2004

Inauguration: Monday, 5 July 2004 at 1:00 p.m.

Places: Museo de Bellas Artes
C/ Rubio, 6
39003 Santander

Sala de Exposiciones del Mercado del Este
C/ Bailén, s/n
39007 Santander

Opening hours: Museo de Bellas Artes
Monday to Friday, from 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Closed on Sundays and public holidays.

Opening hours: Sala de Exposiciones del Mercado del Este
Monday to Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sundays and public holidays, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

”la Caixa” Foundation information service: Tel.: 902 22 30 40

Free admission

www.fundacio.lacaixa.es

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