The artistic proposals that were produced in Catalonia during the second half of the 1960s, which shared the ideals of generational renewal and revolution that broke out in several international centres, will be presented in this show, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of May 1968. In his Treatise on Living for the Younger Generations (1967), Raoul Vaneigem spoke of entering “a whole new era”. In One-Dimensional Man (1964), Herbert Marcuse asserted the emergence of the “great rejection” as the beginning of a cultural revolt that would transform society from top to bottom. It is a portrait of a moment of tension and enthusiasm that opened the doors to a new sensibility.
Up to now this period has suffered from a certain lack of definition by historians, who have not always managed to find a place for it, between the decline of Informalism and the irruption of the conceptual. It is the time of the emergence of Pop Art and the New Figuration, which went beyond the post-war existentialist positions to try out other forms of resistance in which falling into line with international cultural models is essential. Perhaps contradictory and ephemeral, the art of those years shows the connection with international modernity associated with the new paradigms of freedom and revolution. The artists move between political militancy and hedonistic individualism, between the defence of figurative painting and the new expanded or immaterial practices. Pacifism, sexual revolution, a critique of capitalism, unlimited exploration of individual creativity, these are some of the fundamental challenges expressed, added to which is the resistance to the specific context of Francoism.
Francesc Artigau or Robert Llimós, or the Valencians of Equipo Crónica, use figuration with clear political intent to make a critique of consumer society and authority. The initiative of Estampa Popular reflects some of the conflictive themes of the time, such as the foreign policy of the USA. Others get close to the visions of psychedelia, like Antoni Porta (Evru), or, like, Antoni Llena, they explore Arte Povera on a path of radical renunciation. What Cirici called the “Grup del Maduixer” carried out essential experiments, such as the first work of video-art in Spain, Primera Mort (1969). In Paris, Antoni Miralda, Jaume Xifra, Benet Rossell and Joan Rabascall explore the language of performance and prepare forms of conceptualization in which rituals and symbols are used to debunk myths and criticize. A new generation of artists who have points of reference and aspirations very different to those of the immediate post-war years (that of Dau al Set and Informalism) takes on the new social and aesthetic problems, and names appear like for example Norman Narotzky or Amèlia Riera.
Art venues are also decisive in those years, not just the galleries, but also private homes, like the Casa del Maduixer or the gardens, like the house in Vallvidrera of Arranz-Bravo-Bartolozzi, among others.
This will be the first in a series of focus-exhibitions that set out to investigate specific temporal phenomena and frameworks in order to make an analytical interpretation of post-war Catalan art.