NEW MADRILEÑA FIGURATION
The New Madrileña Figuration is an artistic phenomenon that developed in Spain in the 1970s and the first half of 1980. Its´ name corresponds to the figurative nature of its pictorial keys, and the geographic location where its activities were developed.
Artists Carlos Alcolea , Carlos Franco, Rafael Perez - Minguez, Guillermo Pérez Villalta and Chema Cobo formed a pioneer group to develop the postmodern thought in Spain , to claim the hybrid, ambiguous , complex, fragmented and unorthodox nature of their work.
At first, these authors identified with the approaches advocated by critic Juan Antonio Aguirre and the positioning of the New Generation, especially Luis Gordillo, against Informalism and Spanish Pop. Later, they set up a complex dialogue with Conceptual Art, with shared theoretical principles but different in the methods used.
Although each artist developed their own formal language, questioning the idea of a common style, they shared a common position in defense of painting as an artistic medium.Among its conceptual and aesthetic keys are:
— Renouncing to follow trends or fads.
— The abandonment of the ideas of progress and originality. Selective eclecticism and reasoned as a method to override the differences and the distance between past and present. The manipulation of artistic history and the mythological and popular reasons.
— The claim of the playful pleasure of painting, powered by a cosmopolitan attitude and psychedelic influence.
— The rejection of realism, questioning of mimesis and the critique of linear narrative.
— The interest in deploying a haunting imaginary, rich in duplication, quotes, games and cultism delusional.
Their proposal called for a painting that would transcend the antagonism between figuration and abstraction, whose objective was the picture: imaging - idea and representation of the idea in the pictorial image. Their paintings are an alternative space that is only possible in the painting itself, built from a personal interpretation of the world and its history.
In this context, it should be noted the co-existence of two significant lines of work. A line defended by Carlos Alcolea and Carlos Franco, close to the approaches of Luis Gordillo, pop culture and hybridization. And another, where Guillermo Pérez Villalta and Chema Cobo develop their proposals in Western painting and close to the fusion of historicist tradition.
Among his references include the aforementioned Luis Gordillo, David Hockney and Robert Venturi. Gordillo represented an alternative to avant-garde trends and a commitment to the development of personal and solitary routes. His work defended a symbolic representation based psychoanalytic base and resonances Pop, a synthesis formula that these authors took as a starting point. Hockney, meanwhile raised the painting as a means to think about the painting itself. And Venturi, pioneer of architectural postmodernism, gave them the final arguments in his critique of the orthodoxy of the modern movement.
The first opportunity to see the work of these artists was led by the critic Juan Antonio Aguirre in the Amadis room between 1971 and 1972. In 1973 the critic Juan Manuel Bonet scheduled the Buades Gallery season with a proposal to organize artists close to Amadis, Herminio Molero and Manolo Quejido, plus two conceptual artists, Alberto Corazón and Nacho Criado. The greatest complicity between them was reflected in the holding of the Art Exhibition Cádiz I in 1974, where the exhibition of Siete pintores en torno a la representación (Seven painters around the representation) was included around the representation at the Museum of Fine Arts of Cadiz.
In the mid- 1970s, the so called second generation, formed by Jaime Aledo, Siegfried Martin Begué and Carlos Forn Bada joined the group. The first collective exhibition that gathered all these painters —1980, Madrid City o New Figurations were held at the end of the decade, at which point the position as a group gave way to solo careers.
The first exhibition that offered a historical reading of this phenomenon was held in 2009 under the title (Los esquizos de Madrid) Schizos of Madrid in the Reina Sofia Museum.