LUIS CAMNITZER AT REINA SOFÍA NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE ARTS
Since October 17th at the National Museum of Arts Reina Sofía (Madrid), Hospicio de utopías fallidas (Hospice of Failed Utopias) retrospective of Luis Camnitzer, is exhibited. Under the curatorship of Octavio Zaya, the exhibition aims to provide an integral look over the German-Uruguayan artist, essayist, composer and pedagogue artworks.
Camnitzer works focus on the transformative capacity of art, afterthought product. Addressing issues such as the art-merchandise criticism; artists figure demystification and obsolescence within liberal capitalist societies; and contemporary societies capacity to turn educational systems into propagandistic and vacuous one; the Uruguayan artist plays with language possibilities, ambiguities and arbitrariness, placing the viewer in the middle of the artistic process.
As explained by the curatorial team of the museum, the exhibition is structured around fundamental moments in the Camntzer’s career.
The first reflects the conceptualism developed by himself through the dematerialization of artistic objects that "unlike classical conceptualism, does not stop at the self-referential aspect or the autonomous condition of art, but extends to the political and social reality". To this epoch belong pieces such as Adhesive Labels (1966), Envelopes (1967), Self-portraits / Selfportraits (1968-1969) and The Living Room (1969) installation.
The second moment is kind of an evolution of that 60s early conceptualism. Stigmatized as "political art", his first work in this group might be Leftovers (1970). However, it was during the 80s and 90s, at the end of the Uruguayan dictatorship, when Camnitzer carried out his most subverted works as The Uruguayan Torture Series (1982-1984) -recently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires -, Los San Patricios (1992) and El Mirador (1996).
Finally, the exhibition presents Camnitzer's most recent productions. With artworks such as Insults (2009), The Assignment Book (2011), Art History Lesson, Lesson No. 1 (2000) and El aula (2005), this period emphasizes over two ideas: western political failure towards neoliberalism triumph, on the one hand, and an art for education defense, on the other hand.
As for the exhibition in general, it is worth highlighting the exhibition of Utopías Fallidas (Failed Utopias), which gives the name to the retrospective that will be in the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum until March 4th, 2019, in the third floor of the Sabatini.