Open Works seeks to make the spectator engage and interact with the artwork
The exhibition features works by international artists such as Victor Vasarely, Marina Apollonio and Alexander Calder
The Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation today presents the exhibition Open Works. Art in Movement, 1955-1975, featuring an extensive and carefully selected group of works by 37 international artists keen to bring about a profound transformation in the role of spectators through their participation and interaction with artworks. Marta Lacambra, Director of the Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation, said in the press conference that this exhibition is easier to view and to experience than to explain, as the works question you and you question the works.
Kineticism or art in movement
The issue of movement runs throughout the history of art but became a central question in the 1950s. What, however, is movement? The critic Guy Brett wrote that movement may simply be the ability of the artwork to breathe freely in new dimensions. And the historian Jean Clay said: “Kineticism is not ‘that which moves’ but an awareness of the instability of reality.” There can be no doubt that kineticism and art in movement are thus more relevant than ever before.
The exhibition is curated by the art historians Marianna Gelussi and Jordi Ballart. Ballart comments that the exhibition “is intended to raise awareness of the Avant-garde movements of the mid-20th century. At the time, kinetic art was ground-breaking because it was aimed not at the elites but at audiences of every kind.” Gelussi adds: “The works move because they generate an active interaction with the spectator and turn them into part of the work”.
The aesthetics of movement
The exhibition brings together a selection of works by the leading figures of an international artistic revolution that swept through Europe in the 1950s and 60s. The works revolve around the concepts of openness, movement and space, distancing themselves from the traditional categories of painting and sculpture and the conventional artwork through experimentation and research into new materials and supports, and the openness of the artistic space. The new ideas went beyond the boundaries of a purist aesthetic, and artists appropriated the materials and technologies of science and industry that enabled them to explore the space, light and movement.
The exhibition presents works by artists with different sensibilities, among them Marina Apollonio, Alberto Biasi, Pol Bury, Alexander Calder, Gianni Colombo, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Dadamaino, Marcel Duchamp, Hans Haacke, Mona Hatoum, Julio Le Parc, Heinz Mack, François Morellet, Nicolas Schöffer, Jesús Rafael Soto, Takis, Jean Tinguely, Günther Uecker and Victor Vasarely, as well as artists representative of this trend in Catalonia and Spain, such as Leandre Cristòfol, Ángel Duarte, Jordi Pericot, Eusebio Sempere and Francisco Sobrino.
These artists sought to establish a dialogue between art and science that revealed a new vision of the world in the constant throes of change and movement. The network of artists associated with the new tenets of the time, which had considerable political and utopian implications, were keen to bring about a profound transformation in the role of the spectator, who was now given an active part to play through their engagement and interaction with the artwork.
The exhibition goes outside the gallery
One of the works is not in the exhibition rooms but instead occupies a remarkable, privileged space in La Pedrera, the floor of one of the building’s courtyards. This work, Spazio ad attivazione cinètica by Marina Apollonio, is outside the exhibition room and has taken over the Passeig de Gràcia courtyard so that visitors to La Pedrera can experience kinetic art for themselves.
The open work, a concept formulated by Umberto Eco in 1962, is a multiple, changing work, a field of infinite possibilities that the spectator is free to interpret. The artwork demands that the observer participate and establishes a new relationship of delight and use of the artistic object, in which the observer thus becomes a co-artist. The open work is the metaphor of a new vision of the world in which reality is felt to be unstable, ambiguous and in the throes of continual mutation.
The Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation promotes cultural activities that foster the arts and thinking and which seek to reflect on and work towards a fairer society. It nurtures talent, supports creation and education, and preserves natural and cultural heritage.