Opening: February 14, 2012 at 7 pm
Curator: Fundació Suñol
In light of its 5th anniversary, on February 14 Fundació Suñol will present the first of a series of commemorative activities that it will be organizing throughout 2012. The exhibition SCULPTURE/OBJECT showcases 36 pieces from the holdings of the Josep Suñol Collection –some of which have never before been shown to the public – by 30 national and international artists, ranging from the early avant-garde up to the most daring experiments of the 1990s.
Unlike previous exhibitions, the current one is entirely dedicated to artwork in three dimensions. If the 20th century was a convulsive one in the world of painting, it was not any less so in sculpture – even though the discipline has often not been a deciding force in the great “-isms” that have been used to identify tendencies in art during the past one hundred years.
The aim is, on the one hand, to demonstrate the evolution of 20th century sculpture as it is represented in the collection and, on the other, to highlight the relationship between sculpture and object, two opposite yet synonymous concepts, as is discussed in the exhibition catalog.
Although the exhibition is based on a chronological development in sculpture, the different spaces are not arranged solely on the basis of a temporal logic. Instead, importance has been given to the complicities that can be seen among the different pieces, often regardless of the years that separate one from another. In the same way, there is value attached to the criteria that went into the formation of the collection as it was built up based on a profound understanding of the contemporary history of art, but also according to the collector’s intuition.
A powerful piece by Chillida welcomes the visitor. The expressive treatment of the material that characterizes the Basque artist is a demonstration of what we will see in the rest of the exhibition: all of the pieces on display are clear examples of a very “sculptural” process, in the unambiguous sense of working with material in space, and vindicating its place. The exhibition continues with three rooms dedicated to artwork by national and international artists, from the early avant-garde, with Giacomo Balla as the main representative, up to work dating from the 1970s. Pablo Gargallo and Juli González are two unavoidable representatives of Spanish avant-garde sculpture, along with Joan Miró, who is represented in the exhibition by a small bronze; it is a later piece than the others, but just as essential. Works by Alberto Giacometti, Jean Arp, Lucio Fontana and Alexander Calder are testimony to the eclecticism that characterizes international sculpture in the decades following the Second World War. Chronologically decontextualized, although conceptually very similar to the works around it, is a piece made of bamboo reeds by the Catalan artist, Moisès Villèlia, which is an homage to Giacometti, whom he greatly admired.
The second block in the exhibition is focused mainly on the 1980s and 1990s. One of the rooms houses the work of two fundamental artists from the 1980s in this country: Susana Solano and Jaume Plensa, next to two of their most direct influences: Miquel Navarro and Sergi Aguilar who began their work during the previous decade.
Another room is dedicated to a group of pieces that were created during also the 1980s and 1990s, with a few exceptions – like the work by Zush (1964), Jaume Xifra or Claudio Bravo (1974). The common denominator among these pieces is their link to the world around us and to everyday objects, two concepts that are closely associated with the ideology that motivated young British artists in the 1980s. Tom Carr, Jordi Colomer, Pep Duran, Joan Rom, Bill Culbert, Jaume Barrera, Tonet Amorós and Jordi Sabaté are all artists whose work is displayed in this context. Finally, Joan Cardells share a room that makes reference to the anthropomorphic tradition in sculpture. Joan Cardells is represented by a torso made out of waste material, which refers to the consumerist chaos that was taking hold of the world at the beginning of the 1980s.
Good private sculpture collections are not common, especially in the case of collections that were begun in the 1970s, which was a moment of great cultural convulsion. All the artists represented in this exhibition and the pieces included in it – whether because of the artists’ drive, the historical adequacy of the work, or the collectors’ sensitivity – are well-known representatives of the principal artistic movements in the evolution of sculpture/objects between 1915 and 1997.