MADRID.- The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía opens the exhibit Robert Smithson: Hotel Palenque as part of the PHotoEspaña 2008 festival. PHotoEspaña hosts an installation by one of the founders of Land Art comprising 31 images and the audio file from a conference given at the University of Utah in 1972. In Hotel Palenque we find the cycles of decadence and renovation at an old Mexican hotel.
During his short but fruitful career, Robert Smithson founded one of the twentieth-centurys main artistic movements, Land Art, One of his most well known works is the monumental Spiral Jetty, a gigantic earthwork made of rock and rubble that he created on the Great Salt Lake in Utah (U.S.A.) in 1970. In his works, which were creations of enormous dimensions made in natural spaces, he studied the relationship between nature and human intervention and the energy that transforms and unifies them. Due to their ephemeral nature, the author documented his creations in photographs, thus guaranteeing their permanence.
PHotoEspaña presents Hotel Palenque, an installation comprising thirty-one slides and a recording of the lecture Smithson gave in 1972 at the University of Utah. In 1969 the artist travelled to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico and there, more than by the impressive Maya ruins, he was attracted to the old eccentric hotel in which he stayed, which reflected the cycle of decadence and renovation that the building had experienced after successive restorations by its owners.
Robert Smithson (New Jersey, 1938 Texas, 1973) began his artistic career as a sculptor and experimental artist at a very young age. He had his first solo exhibition when he was just 21. Since his death at the age of 35, his work has been the subject of retrospective exhibitions at the Whitney Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Venice Biennale.