The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo of Málaga presents Neighbours IV in the museum’s permanent collection. Neighbours IV, an exhibition curated by Fernando Francés, features a selection of works by artists for whom, as in the last three editions, the city of Málaga is an important point of reference. The show includes 50 sculptures, paintings, drawings and photographs by 33 different artists. All of the works were created between the first decade of the 21st century and the present day, and some were recently acquired by the museum. Prominent names like Chema Cobo, Simon Zabell, Paloma de la Cruz and Hadaly Villasclaras, whose works have already appeared in individual or collective shows at the centre, share the space with others who will be exhibiting at the CAC Málaga for the first time.
The permanent collection of the CAC Málaga brings art closer to home in Neighbours IV. Up-and-coming local talents and consecrated names on the contemporary scene will exhibit their works together in this new tribute to “neighbourhood” art. Since its inauguration in 2003, the centre has maintained and strengthened its commitment to the local art scene with a variety of solo and group exhibitions over the last fifteen years.
As Fernando Francés, director of the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, explains, “Inspiration can blossom anywhere, and knowing this we need to be aware of the existence of a creative movement which is always closer than we think. Proximity or closeness are ambiguous concepts that let us cross geographical boundaries and venture into cultural, territorial, political and aesthetic frontiers. In consonance, artistic creativity is not bound to places or generations. Neighbours IV brings together a wide range of styles and perspectives in various disciplines, from painting and drawing to photography, demonstrating the importance of different artistic expressions as ties that connect people: we are all neighbours in this world.”
Neighbours IV includes a work by Ángeles Agrela, Lucía y sus trenzas [p1] (2016), in which, as the title suggests, Lucía and her plaits take centre stage; although her hairdo occupies a large part of the paper, her green gaze is what ultimately intrigues and captivates us. Eladio Aguilera’s works focus on everyday life and its complaints, protests and satires, revealing a perennial refusal to conform or even a degree of injured scepticism in the awareness of isolation, solitude and even mystery. We see this in S/T [Untitled] (2016), where a young man seems to be reading a Bible and a third hand intrudes upon the scene. Ángel Alén will exhibit Estudio de Rubén Guerrero [Rubén Guerrero’s Studio] (2017) and Estudio de Manuel León [Manuel León’s Studio] (2017), where order and chaos are partly juxtaposed. Jesús Algovi blends poetry and visual expression, deconstructing text signs (capital letters) and using them to fuel his artwork, as in Democracia [Democracy] (2014). His content-laden oeuvre expresses unease, makes visible the ghosts of society or the intimate realm of emotions and finally gives them form as objects.
Tete Álvarez’s Proemios [Proems] explore absence in the documentary image through a series of photographs depicting spaces of power. In the Proemios, that asepsis translates into the disappearance of human figures. We see empty press conferences, offices and theatres where the solitude underscores the stillness of the scene in eight different works: Proemios#10 (2016), Proemios#19 (2016), Proemios#22 (2016), Proemios#28 (2016), Proemios#41 (2016), Proemios#53 (2016), Proemios#55 (2016) and Proemios#56 (2016). The planimetric colour abstractions of Fernando Clemente, which use shadows and glazes to flirt with spatiality, and the need to revive the ideal of perception have produced S/T sobre la imagen vuelta 2 [Untitled on the Returned Image 2] (2015), which is or aspires to be a return to the image. The show also includes a work by Chema Cobo, who has already had a solo exhibition at the centre. Cobo believes that “the frame or border of the picture is not the outer limit but the starting point”, for his works establish a sense of continuity with the exhibition space itself, as illustrated by Out of the Blue IX (2011).
Paloma de la Cruz subjectivises and eroticises architecture through an implied association with the privacy and intimacy of the bathroom. She wraps toilets in tiles like a second skin and works with enamel reminiscent of lingerie and lace, something that partly covers yet still offers glimpses of skin, as in Suspender Belt (2016). For Eduardo D’Acosta, art is spread and shared as an abstract concept by representations and didactic copies of original works. He is interested in the objectification of artworks, in how knock-offs of Michelangelo’s David(s) embellishing the gardens of great mansions have a certain cachet, and he captures that in his photographs Copia David. Tienda de decoración [David Copy: Interior Decor Shop] (2015) and Copia Hermes. Clase de dibujo [Hermes Copy: Drawing Class] (2015). Artistic space as a realm of thought is the key to the work of María Ángeles Díaz Barbado. Her creativity is expressed through the media of painting and photography, and her output revolves around the construction of places where nature and architecture take on a symbolic significance, alluding to concepts such as the beautiful, the impossible or the uncanny (Sin título I [Untitled I], 2014).[p2]
In New Perspective Corner (2016), Gonzalo Fuentes leads spectators to an ambiguous spatiality which they can venture into, though not without a certain sense of mystery and strangeness. He recreates a parallel universe where we can experience isolation and turn our thoughts inwards[p3] . Marta Galindo uses literary and film resources to create narrative figurative paintings without the need for a specific storyline. The thematic tension woven into each of her images—Chapter X (2015), Fire Danger (2016) and I’m Watching You (2015)—is intended to create suspense by not showing the main action or scene that is presumably unfolding. Another artist in the exhibition is Norberto Gil, who drew inspiration from Le Corbusier’s Le Cabanon, simplifying and refining elements, to create his own Le Cabanon dominated by linearity, architecture and abstraction.
Jorge Hernández paints intimate stories full of extrapolations, unfocused blurs, cinematographic shots and metric alterations that are at once surprising, suggestive and attractive, as in La proposición [The Proposition] (2017). The photograph of Miguel de Moreno (2014) plays with the blouse designed and popularised by Miguel de Molina, in this case made from African wax prints, combining the signature pose of the Málaga-born actor and singer with the face and skin of a Cameroonian immigrant. In the work of Javier Hirschfeld Moreno, we find an aesthetic and cultural syncretism of European artistic traditions and African culture and style. Manuel León shows anguished faces before a commonplace Venus in Vuelven los problemas del siglo pasado [The Problems of the Last Century Resurface] (2016), reworking the iconography of the biblical tale of Susannah and the Elders.
The work of Rogelio López Cuenca presents a “Disneyfication” process. The artist believes that there is a subjugation to the standards of this form of entertainment and the demands it makes, such as the trivialisation of the cultural “experience” illustrated in Eurodisney (1993). The painting Atelier de Moulage [Casting Studio] (2014) by Gloria Martín deals with the visible, but it also constantly questions dichotomies drawn from real life and from painting itself, such as full/empty, interior/exterior or reality/representation. Dichotomies are also addressed in the canvases of Federico Miró, characterised by a personal pictorial technique that is able to convey dual meaning: on the one hand, he uses the interplay of opposites (natural/artificial), and on the other, he employs straight lines, creating a grid that resembles a loom or tapestry, as in Sin título (serie Tras las apariencias) [Untitled (Behind Appearances series)] (2015).
Sense of Place #51 (2016) and Sense of Place #25 (2016) are the products of Blanca Montalvo’s efforts to see through a collector’s eyes. Her art is produced in a conventional way, like photo albums or souvenir collections whose value and interest depends entirely on the viewer. Marc Montijano’s collage Reliquia de metamorfosis I-XII [Relic of Metamorphosis I-XII] [(2017) offers reflections on different aspects of human relationships and today's society, the uncouth brutishness of man and the need for change, evolution and metamorphosis through various actions performed at the CAC Málaga. Montijano is interested in what we keep stored within—the subtle and the hidden, the secret corners of humanity—and generally attempts to reveal the darker side of society.
Ramón David Morales’s painting is fresh, lively and cheerful. Ordinary objects converge with landscape and nature in a colourful plasma that plays with space and perspective, creating images with an often-dreamlike quality, as in Pozo Santo [Holy Well] (2015). MP & MP Rosado maintain complex variations in the private space between intimacy and silence, and in the public space they analyse a person’s appearance, street views and their respective games of light and shadow: Los Sujetos [The Subjects] (2016), Sujeto #1 [Subject #1] (2017) and Sujeto #2 [Subject #2] (2017). The pictorial work of Miguel Núñez is based on the contemplation of his surroundings, paying special attention to the most ordinary, insignificant details. He experiments and slowly weaves multiple pictorial languages, seeing painting as a dynamic problem-solving process whose solutions end up establishing a creative itinerary, as in S/T [Untitled] (2016).
In Hojarasca 7 [Fallen Leaves 7], Ángel Pantoja uses still lifes to meditate on the demise of the human species. The skeleton of a hanged dog, now housing a honeycomb, appears in a devastated, apocalyptic landscape where bees nevertheless still buzz about and the sight of several golf balls and grass [p4] seem to offer some hope. In Francisco Peinado’s monumental piece Helicóptero [Helicopter] (2008), a sky made of many skies recalls different eras and moments: a heavy helicopter hovers against deep blue, light blue, grey and violet heavens. José Miguel Pereñíguez presents Carta de color (visible e invisible) [Colour Chart (Visible and Invisible)] (2015), an allusion to the book on auras published by English theosophist Charles Leadbeater, who created a chart associating colours with moods: red tones for strong emotions like jealousy, blues for more spiritual attitudes, etc. Las flores [The Flowers] (1992) by Ignacio del Río initially looks like a black-and-white photomontage of five flowers, but appearances are misleading: spectators must observe the work carefully to decipher the artist’s visual game and figure out what was actually photographed.
For Juan Manuel Rodríguez, mystery is an undeniable necessity, and he tries not to give everything away. Even when viewers think they understand the image, thanks to the credible illusion of reality, after trying to glean more from the smallest details they still find themselves thwarted, as in the two S/T [Untitled] (2016) works shown here. Huile de poison. Sofá II [Poison Oil: Sofa II] (2016) is a pictorial investigation in which José Luis Valverde makes a very bold move, presenting a continuous gloom that barely offers a glimpse of the depicted subject. The nuances and textures of the black oil paint manage to lend form and substance to the represented images.
Mónica Vázquez Ayala focuses on photography with her intimate, personal reinterpretation of portraits, nudes or human relations. In El sueño de Rousseau [Rousseau’s Dream] (2016) she rewrites the scene staged by Henri Rousseau; in the original a nude female figure is bathed in glimmering moonlight in a lush garden, but in Vázquez’s work that idyllic forest is a tip full of rubbish and waste. In Ictu Oculi (2016) and Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (2016) by Hadaly Villasclaras reflect on the questioning of images through the reinvention of materiality, turning the decoration—which may seem like a relatively insignificant detail—into one of the most prominent aspects of the work.
Sic transit gloria mundi is a Latin phrase that literally means “Thus passes the glory of the world”, used to underscore the transitory nature of victory.
La Casa de Hong Kong [The Hong Kong House] (2007-2008) by Simon Zabell is a project based on Alain Robbe-Grillet’s novel La Maison des Rendez-Vous, set in a fictional Hong Kong brothel. The painting constructs an image of the main room by depicting the described elements and mixing them with text passages taken from the novel.
Now in its fourth year, this exhibition aspires to be a renewal of the museum’s permanent collection, bringing the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo closer to its artistic neighbours—in other words, local artists—as well as to the proposals of more international artists and everyone who visits the centre.
List of artists included in the exhibition: Ángeles Agrela (Úbeda, Jaén 1966); Eladio Aguilera (Los Corrales, Seville, 1995); Ángel Alén (Seville, 1975); Jesús Algovi (Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, 1968); Tete Álvarez (Cádiz, 1964); Fernando Clemente (Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, 1975); Chema Cobo (Tarifa, 1952); Paloma de la Cruz (Málaga, 1991); Eduardo D´Acosta (Gerena, Seville, 1975); María Ángeles Díaz Barbado (Granada, 1969); Gonzalo Fuentes (Málaga, 1991); Marta Galindo (Cádiz, 1993); Norberto Gil (Seville, 1975); Jorge Hernández (Huelva, 1973); Javier Hirschfeld (Málaga, 1979); Manuel León (Villanueva del Ariscal, Seville, 1977); Rogelio López Cuenca (Nerja, Málaga, 1959); Gloria Martín Montaño (Alcalá de Guadaira, Seville, 1980); Federico Miró (Málaga, 1991); Blanca Montalvo (Valencia, 1972, lives in Málaga); Marc Montijano (Barcelona, 1978, lives in Málaga); Ramón David Morales (Seville, 1977); MP & MP Rosado (San Fernando, Cádiz, 1971); Miguel Núñez (San Roque, Cádiz, 1991); Ángel Pantoja (Seville, 1966); Francisco Peinado (Málaga, 1941); José Miguel Pereñíguez (Seville, 1977); Ignacio del Río (Málaga, 1956); Juan Manuel Rodríguez (Málaga, 1979); José Luis Valverde (Málaga, 1987); Mónica Vázquez Ayala (Madrid, 1972, lives in Málaga); Hadaly Villasclaras (Málaga, 1989) and Simon Zabell (Málaga, 1970).