Idea: Painting-Force

Manolo Quej, Mirror, 1984, oil on canvas, 204 x 218 cm (courtesy Miguel Marcos G
Manolo Quejido, Mirror, 1984, oil on canvas, 204 x 218 cm (courtesy Miguel Marcos Gallery, Barcelona © VEGAP, Madrid, 2013)

Beatrice Schulz reviews the exhibition Idea: Painting-Force at the Reina Sofia, Madrid, on view through May 18, 2014. The show presents works by Alfonso Albacete, Miguel Ángel Campano, Ferran García Sevilla, Juan Navarro Baldeweg, and Manolo Quejido.

Schulz writes that the exhibition "revolves around the paintings of five Spanish male artists between 1978 and 1984. The historical context is set both by the recently preceding experiments of conceptual art, as well as the attempt to posthumously address the precedents set by modernism in painting, particularly impressionism, cubism, pop art, and abstract expressionism... The works display a simultaneous proximity to and defiance of tradition. They adopt styles, try them on, and discard them. In their non-committal outfitting they disavow the historical progression of modernism. And yet they are not as rigorous in this disavowal as the German postmoderns to whom they might owe a wink: Gerhard Richter, or Sigmar Polke, for instance. And that's not a bad thing. A certain abandonment of technical excellence is shared by all five artists. You could say the medium is taken with a pinch of salt, but the broad, confident gestures also express a simple sincerity."