The Directors of Marlborough Gallery are pleased to announce that an exhibition of recent work by Juan Genovés will be held from January 11 to February 11, 2012 at Marlborough Gallery. This exhibition, the artist’s ninth solo show with Marlborough Gallery in New York, will be comprised of approximately twenty acrylic paintings.
Born in Valencia in 1930, Genovés is one of Spain’s best-known contemporary artists. Recognized for his aesthetic style rooted in Social Realism and political art, Genovés strongly criticized Franco’s fascist regime. Genovés was sent to jail because the opposition made a poster of his painting El Abrazo, which is now in the collection of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
At the beginning of his career, Genovés’ body of work was devoted to the subject of political engagement. His artistic development occurred in the isolated world of Franco’s Spain, where he was influenced by modern photography and cinema, and, like for Francis Bacon, the films of Sergei Eisenstein were a main source of influence.
Genovés joined Marlborough Gallery in 1966. His first exhibition at Marlborough London in 1967 was a resounding success; even Francis Bacon acquired one of his paintings. It was one of the first solo exhibitions abroad for an artist living in Spain who opposed the Franco dictatorship.
Working with acrylic paint in an impasto style to create a distinct cinematic quality, Genovés’ art repeatedly addresses two subjects: the “individual” and the “multitude.” Many of his works explore the concept of a crowd where the groups of people are pulled toward something they cannot control. These works depict bird’s-eye views of empty landscapes devoid of buildings, roads, trees or contextual clues and create a sense of anxiety and dislocation. The motivation for the groups’ activities is never clear, as Genovés allows the viewer to draw his own conclusions. In the essay for the new monograph on Genovés, published in 2011, the writer and art historian Antonio Muñoz Molina describes the tiny figures that inhabit the canvases:
"The technique has all the meticulous expertise of craftsmanship, but it is also informed by the images of mass communication…All the figures look alike yet everyone is singular, though they are too far away for their faces to be seen…Each figure moves in its trajectory, and although it lacks distinctive features it possesses a unique existence: it runs ahead of the others, raises its arms, falls and lags behind while the others move forward."
Genovés creates tension in a number of paintings by adding vertical or horizontal lines that serve to reinforce the picture plane and provide a textural contrast with the highly impastoed figures. The artist’s forceful use of line and perspective, aligned with an exacting eye for the modulation and use of color, are as physically engaging as they are aesthetically compelling.
Genovés is the recipient of a number of important prizes, including the Mention of Honor at the XXXIII Venice Biennale, 1966; the Gold Medal at the VI Biennale Internazionale de San Marino, 1967; the Marzotto Internazional Prize, 1968; the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas, Spain, 1984; the Premio de las Artes Plásticas de Generalitat Valenciana, Spain, 2002; and the Medalla de Oro al Mérito en las Bellas Artes, Spain, 2005.
Genovés’ work is found in many of the most important public collections in the United States and abroad, including: The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France; Collezione Thyssen-Bornemisza, Lugano, Switzerland; Galeria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia, Spain; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada; Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museo de Bellas Artes, de Caracas, Caracas, Venezuela; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Vienna, Austria; Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Nagasaki, Japan; Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museum zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico, among others.
An illustrated catalog will be available at the time of the exhibition.