The first permanent collection will have just less than 100 pieces and is titled: ‘A multi-disciplined exhibition on choreographic art and body themes’ which a council spokesman explained, ‘This is a program of videos and performances in the same space and initiates an inedited reflection on what the movement and gestures of the body implies’.
Works including Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Rineke Dijkstra(Photography), Tony Oursler, Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Chirico, Alberto Guacometti and Sophie Calle, among others.
‘High definition projections in the exhibition halls mixed with life performance and an intense program of projections of video dance in the auditorium narrating the most recent choreographic tendencies’. This part of the show is called ‘Show me your moves’ although speaking to the press last Wednesday at the ARCO fine art fair in Madrid, the Director General of the Paris Pompidou, Denis Berthomier, referred to the project in Spanish as ‘Cuerpos simples’ (Simple bodies).
Realistic or fictional projections, a mirror of the same and of the other person within them: in the 20th and 21st centuries, artists’ self-portraits shattered the simplistic image of a unique self to explore all the aspects of otherness. Head-on confrontations that engaged artists’ relationships with their audience, emphasising their melancholic propensity (Julio Gonzalez, Last Self-Portrait, 1942), confronting their sexual bipolarity (Van Dongen, Self-portrait as Neptune, 1922; Ed Paschke, Joella,1973), or celebrating their creative power (Chagall, Dimanche, 1952-1954), artists’ self-portraits were the most speaking emblems of their work (Tinguely, Self-portrait, 1988). A tragic or comic mask, a death’s head whose tortured features disappear before
our eyes (Francis Bacon, Self-portrait, 1971), the artist’s self-portrait also embodies the disappearance of human integrity under the blows of history (Zoran Music, Self-portrait, 1988).
THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE
The First World War and its cortege of mutilated, blind ghosts transformed the image of man. Chirico’s figures were anonymous mannequins with Antique style drapes, reflecting nostalgia for a lost harmony (Deux personnages, 1920). The tubular nudes of Fernand Léger, seemingly dipped in steel, were “object figures” similar to the industrial mechanical elements that compete with human activity (Femmes dans un intérieur, 1922). Their dehumanisation conveyed Léger’s Cubo-Futurist message: “For me, the human face and the human body are no more important than keys or bicycles […]. We should consider the human face not as a sentimental but as a plastic value.” After the war, New Realists and Pop artists reinvented the image of modern man in a critical relationship with popular culture, underlining the alienation of the consumer.
THE POLITICAL BODY
Long absent from the artistic landscape, women established their alternative vision of the world, rebelling against the patriarchal order, through the image of their own staged bodies. The stereotype of the woman-object whose curved and polished body was for sale, like a car (Peter Klasen, 1967) was ridiculed by Orlan (Le baiser de l’artiste. Le distributeur automatique ou presque no. 2, 1977/2009). Her parodies of the body/slot machine returned the contemporary Eros to its function as an everyday consumer object. Close to the “individual mythologies” movement, Annette Messager used a violent fictional device (14 showcases ontaining stuffed birds swaddled like babies or dolls) to question the morbid impulses of childhood. Other women artists, committed to active feminist movements, used the political force of the body in filmed performances. Linked with body art, the cathartic happenings of Carolee Schneemann (Body Collage, 967) and Ana Mendieta (Untitled. Blood Sign 2 Body Tracks, 1974), broadened the boundaries of the body through profane ceremonial dances. Barbed Hula by Sigalit Landau, whose naked body, surrounded with barbed wire, gyrates on a beach in Tel Aviv to the rhythm of a sacrificial Hula Hoop, is the very image
of a frontier destroyed by war and soaked in blood by history.
THE BODY IN PIECES
With Cubism and his Demoiselles d’Avignon in 1907, Picasso finally broke with the myth of academic beauty. Now immersed in primitive art, he denounced “the beauties of the Parthenon, the Venuses, the nymphs and the Narcissuses [which] are all lies. Art is not the application of a canon of beauty, but what the instinct and the brain can conceive independently of the canon.” The Thirties were tormented with images of the Other. Under the impetus of the sadistic eroticism and thinking of Georges Bataille, haunted by transgression and animality, a new, fluctuating, disconcerting image of man emerged. The Cyclopean creatures that appear in Picasso, Victor Brauner and Julio González had their roots in the archaic violence of myths (including that of Daphne, the Greek nymph who was changed into a laurel tree to escape Apollo). They prefigured hybrid, polymorphic and primitive representations of the human body, which, going beyond the monstrous, communicated their own overflowing energy. Subversive right through to his last paintings of nudes (Couple, 1971), Picasso invented a genuine corporeal language for the 20th century. Choreographed bodies (Ferran Garcia Sevilla, Pariso 20, 1985), dismembered and wounded bodies (Antoni Tapies, Les jambes,1975), bodies upended to elude any discourse and “prove that reality is image” (Georg Baselitz, Die Madchen von Olmo II, 1981), absent bodies, bodies blending into the mass (Kader Attia, Ghost, 2007), or reduced to their remains, to rags of memory (Christian Boltanski, Réserve,1990) all these convey an intensely pathetic image of man.