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Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT)
Metropolitan Kiba Park
4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku
Tokyo, 135-0022, Japan
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The Marvelous Real
Artist(s): GROUP SHOW
Date: 15 Feb - 11 May 2014

To commemorate 400 years since the Keicho diplomatic mission from Japan to Spain, a wide-ranging program of events is being held in 2013 and 2014 under the banner of celebrating the “400th Anniversary of Japan-Spain Relations.” As part of this program, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC) and Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) are presenting “The Marvelous Real,” an exhibition featuring the works of 27 artists selected from the collection of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC), which focuses on Spanish works from the 1990s to the present day.

Realism has featured in Spanish art since the 17th Century through exponents such as Velázquez and Goya, and this tradition can be seen in the Madrid Realism movement of the 1980’s, as represented by the work of Antonio López García. The “real” of Spanish art does not refer to technique in which the subject is replicated in fine detail, but derives from the obsession amongst Spanish artists to depict what they see as the “real.” This obsession stems from a desire to grasp even the surreal and the fantastical in the same way that we touch and grasp the familiar objects of our everyday lives—dragging them down to earth and engaging in a dialogue. The result can often be a vivid exaggeration (esperpento) of everyday scenes or things, and arguably this is generated from the unique and highly charged relationship between life and death. The poet Federico García Lorca wrote that “In Spain the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world,” and indeed, death is more vibrant than life. The works in this exhibition convey, through realism, the heaviness of life that is underpinned by an activated death. The works include those by Latin American artists, and this in itself reveals to us how the Spanish sensibility of “real” is transformed and developed in the astonishing idiosyncratic tropical culture of Central and South America.

This exhibition hints at where the “real”—the “real” that hasn’t been picked up and incorporated into a globalized, networked world—resides, to suggest a way of being, “The Marvelous Real,” where the “real” clearly reveals itself in the conflict between the excesses of life and the shadows of death.

*image (left)
Carmela García, Untitled. (From the series Paraíso), 2002
MUSAC Collection
Copyright: Carmela García
Courtesy: MUSAC

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