Mayoral is pleased to present the exhibition With Rebellion, Awareness Is Born, a look at Spanish art of the postwar period which includes a painstaking selection of works by Rafael Canogar, Modest Cuixart, José Guerrero, Josep Guinovart, Luis Feito, Manolo Millares, Antonio Saura and Antoni Tàpies. The show has been curated by art historian and critic Tomàs Llorens, who was director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid and of the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM) in Valencia.
The exhibition includes paintings by a generation of upcoming young artists in the 1950s who were sinking their roots in Spanish cultural life during the apogee of Francoist Spain. These artists partook of the desire to investigate a new art that would express their time and to bring a legacy already expressed by El Greco, Velázquez and Goya, as well as Picasso and Miró, up to date. Through the visual arts such artists conveyed the idea of a wound and of suffering by waging a war of denunciation and rebellion against the injustice and oppression of the status quo. In that respect, Black Series No. 2 by Rafael Canogar and Painting (3) by Manolo Millares are outstanding. Also deserving of particular attention are the two oils by Cuixart, which were included in the São Paulo Biennial of 1959, and the monumental painting by Luis Feito, Untitled, exhibited at the 1968 Venice Biennale.
Tomàs Llorens, in his first exhibition curated for a private gallery, points out that “The final distinguishing factor, and the most decisive one when it comes to describing what differentiates, as a group, the young avant-gardists represented in this exhibition, is their particular historical context. What most deeply marked their different individual poetics, endowing them with a common character that, as time goes by, is perceived with greater clarity, is the rage and the hope with which, at the midpoint of Francoism, they began to imagine its demise.”
Jordi Mayoral, the gallery director, states that “It is a privilege to promote this exhibition. We cannot forget that the rift this generation of artists represented announces the falling of the walls and the future that is glimpsable on the horizon. We are the offspring of that rift, of those geniuses who edified a hope that we avail ourselves of and make our own. As the writer Albert Camus said, ‘With rebellion, awareness is born.’
A catalogue has been published for the exhibition which includes, along with the curator’s own essay, an interview with two of the featured artists, Luis Feito and Rafael Canoger. For the carrying out of these interviews the gallery has had the valuable help of the curator Elena Sorokina and the director of the Museo Picasso of Barcelona, Emmanuel Guigon. In addition it has a contribution from Bea Espejo, through whose eyes we approach postwar Spanish art with respect, admiration, and a series of new questions: “Reading this exhibition in terms of rebellion entails thinking about painting as nonconformity and about creation as a renegade space.”