Thursday, 30 March 2023 13:53

Artium Museoa presents the exhibition Bilduma Hau Colección. Elementary Movements (1950-2000)

The exhibition brings together more than a hundred works of art, documents and archival materials to examine the contexts that artists helped to shape and from which they worked in the latter half of the 20th century

The reordering of the museum’s collection began in the 1950s and its timeline continues until the present day

Artium Museoa, Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basque Country presents the exhibition Bilduma Hau Colección. Elementary Movements (1950-2000), a reordering of the museum's collection that began in the 1950s and has continued until the present day. The exhibition brings together more than a hundred works of art, documents and archival materials in the A0 Gallery, eliciting tensions and encounters between artistic manifestations that emerged throughout the five decades that it covers. The curatorial team comprises the museum’s conservators, Enrique Martínez Goikotexea and Elena Roseras, and its director, Beatriz Herráez, together with art historian and professor Sergio Rubira and anthropologist and editor Thomas Boutoux.

The title of this reordering of the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basque Country Collection gives rise to a variety of questions and origins. On the one hand, hau (this in Basque) is a demonstrative pronoun that means proximity; demonstratives help to situate oneself because they reveal a position. But hau also has different meanings in other, more distant contexts. The French anthropologist Marcel Mauss in his book The Gift (1925) states that hau for the Maoris is the spiritual value given to gifted objects. In this sense, the definition of a museum is historically determined by its collection, by the public nature of a collection of works – a gift – that belongs to everyone and helps to produce knowledge and to imagine a community. On the other hand, Elementary Movements refers to a collection of poems by Gabriel Celaya, to whom the exhibition also contains references.

The reordering of the museum’s collection that has been organised under these premises began in the 1950s and its timeline, which continues until the present day, is explored on the basis of a series of elementary movements activating a narrative that is always under construction. The exhibition brings together more than a hundred works of art, documents and archival materials to examine the contexts that the artists helped to shape and from which they worked in the latter half of the 20th century.

The starting point for the exhibition is the end of exile and return from their trips to Latin American countries of Mari Paz Jiménez in 1945, Jorge Oteiza in 1948 and Néstor Basterretxea in 1952, as well as the confluence of an artistic community gathered around the project of the Basilica of Arantzazu. Other case studies include the crucial commitment of artists and writers to the situation of repressed workers in the 1960s, such as María Franciska Dapena and Agustín Ibarrola, who was a member of Estampa Popular, Gabriel Aresti, Blas de Otero and Gabriel Celaya; the crossover between artistic practices and social movements, with Luis Peña Ganchegui’s project for the church of San Francisco de Asís – where the tragic events of 3 March 1976 took place – as an example of the revitalisation of religious architecture in Vitoria-Gasteiz; the positioning of art produced in the Basque Country at key events such as the Pamplona Encounters of 1972, the Sao Paulo Biennial of 1957, the Venice Biennales of 1958, with Eduardo Chillida, of 1986, with Cristina Iglesias, and of 1988, in which Oteiza shared the same space with Susana Solano.

Apart from presenting works belonging to the museum's own collection, drawn from the holdings of the Alava Provincial Council and Basque Government, the Bilduma Hau Collection has been formed with the participation of other institutions, museums and collections, including Chillida Leku, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, Basque Country Mining Museum, Andalusian Centre of Contemporary Art, Basque Filmoteca, Andalusian Filmoteca, Sancho el Sabio Foundation, Peña Ganchegui Archive, Antoni Muntadas Archive, Irun Municipal Archive, Martxoak 3 Association, documenta archiv (Kassel), Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council and Gipuzkoa Provincial Council – Gordailua.

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