BARCELONA.- The Fundació Joan Miró
presents Before the Horizon, an exhibition dedicated to the representation of the horizon in art from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.
The exhibition, running from 24 October 2013 to 16 February 2014, is curated by Martina Millà and sponsored by the Fundación BBVA.
The selected works include painting, photography and sculpture, and share the horizon as their defining element. Tracing its representation as an artistic object, the exhibition shows how the horizon reflects changes in art.
Through subtle conversations between works without a chronological order, the exhibition invites us to reflect on the importance of this element in the development of modern art to the present.
The title, Before the Horizon, is a reference to Georges Didi-Hubermans essay Devant le temps. Histoire de lart et anachronisme des images (Before Time. Art History and the Anachronism of Images). Following Didi-Hubermans thesis, the exhibition presents the works as a series of anachronistic conversations between pictorial, photographic and sculptural representations of the horizon from Romanticism and Impressionism to the present.
Before the Horizon features sixty works by national and international artists, including some key figures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as Arnold Böcklin, Claude Monet, Eadweard Muybridge, Ed Ruscha, Carl Andre, David Hockney, Antoni Tàpies, Joan Miró, Perejaume and René Magritte.
The first room in the exhibition takes Miró as its key reference and includes three large-format works by Modest Urgell, Joan Miró and Perejaume. The horizon was a recurring theme in Mirós work, one he had learned from his teacher Modest Urgell, who is also represented in the room. Perejaume, a disciple of both, completes the conversation with his particular post-modern vision.
After this first room, the exhibition opens up geographically. The next room places the origins of the painting of the horizon in a German, Swiss and Scandinavian context, from Romanticism to Symbolism. Starting with Arnold Böcklins painting Fir trees, 1849, the earliest work in the exhibition, there are further examples of this unique and peculiar way of looking at the horizon by northern European artists. Included in this room are several masters of the horizon: August Strindberg, Ferdinand Hodler, Gerhard Richter and Anna-Eva Bergman.
The exhibition continues with a room dedicated to the French avant-garde, who dominated artistic creation until well into the twentieth century, represented here by Édouard Vuillard, Raoul Dufy, Alexander Calder and François Morellet. Linked to this selection we find a group of seascapes, an important chapter in the painting of the horizon, by artists such as Kees van Dongen, Pierre Bonnard, Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst.
Following from this, the exhibition brings to the fore the contrast between the horizon in the European tradition, namely German, and Japanese art: between works marked by the laws of perspective and others from a tradition that, being devoid of them, has been crucial to the development of pictorial modernity. Included in this room are works by Emil Nolde, Max Beckmann, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Yayoi Kusama.
Next we find the mystical horizons of Ettore Spaletti, Yves Klein and Marc Chagall, and the horizon of industrial and post-industrial landscape by Georg Baselitz and David Hockney.
The exhibition also includes two rooms dedicated to the horizon from the perspective of sculptural practice. We find a dialogue between Eduardo Chillida and Ann Veronica Janssens; the film projection Running Fence, narrating the creative process of an intervention in the Californian landscape by Christo and Jeanne-Claude; and other sculptural horizons such as the dialogue between Dan Flavin and Carl Andre.
The works by Carl Andre and Dan Flavin act as an introduction to a large second section centred on the North-American horizon of Agnes Martin, Ansel Adams, Alex Katz, Fred Sandback, Eadweard Muybridge, Ed Ruscha and Roni Horn. Next we have the post-colonial horizon with photographs of Isaac Julien and Zineb Sedira.
In the manner of an epilogue, the exhibition closes with a selection of paintings by René Magritte, Claude Monet, Alphonse Osbert, Olafur Eliasson and Antoni Llena: the representation of the horizon reflects all the paradoxes and challenges of artistic practice.
Before the Horizon is curated by Martina Millà, Head of Programmes and Projects at the Fundació Joan Miró, and sponsored by the Fundación BBVA.