In 1975, the Venice Biennale, the great artistic event that, with many ups and downs, dates back to 1895, invited a group of 10 Spanish experts to elaborate their proposal for the next year's edition. The 1974 convocation had been dedicated to Chile, and it became a gigantic cultural protest against the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. It was, therefore, to do the same against the Franco dictatorship, at a time when executions and lack of freedom were echoed in the international press. In full project, Franco died, on November 20, 1975, but the objective of the Biennial remained.
The result was a forceful and controversial artistic and political proposal that led to the closure of the official pavilion of Spain so that the works could breathe freely within Italy. That project has been reconstructed as it was for the first time for the exhibition Poetics of democracy. Images and counter images of the Transition that from tomorrow until November 25, 2019 It can be seen in the Nouvel building of the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid. The exhibition contains a parallel route that delves into the countercultural currents that emerged in the Transition, related to citizen movements and with a youth that resorted to film, music, comics, fanzines and magazines as White garlic or Euskadi Sioux.
At the entrance to the exhibition, some photographs recall how the Spanish pavilion at the Biennial site was walled up. After, the spectacular pieces Night round with truncheons (1975), by Eduardo Arroyo; Wall (1975), by Equipo Crónica, or Hug (1976), Juan Genovés, give a clear idea of what that space must have been, mounted by the so-called Commission of Ten. This group was formed by the theoreticians Tomàs Llorens and Valeriano Bozal, and the artists Oriol Bohigas, Alberto Corazón, Manuel García, Agustín Ibarrola, Antonio Saura, Antoni Tàpies, Rafael Solbes and Manuel Valdés (both formed the Equipo Crónica). Arroyo was crucial because then he lived in Italy and was a member of the arts commission of the Biennial.
The curator Rosario Peiró says that most of the 250 pieces are part of the museum's funds. Of the Biennial of Venice of 1976, as much Peiró as the director of the museum, Manuel Borja-Villel, remembers that it was a controversial project, reflection of which it happened in Spain. The Basques Eduardo Chillida and Jorge Oteiza withdrew their sculptures because they wanted to exhibit separately. Some communists grouped around the poet Rafael Alberti tried to make the initiative more linked to his party and, failing to achieve it, they parted with noisy protests.
The exhibition leaves a path for countercultural initiatives, closely linked to the street and the night, underlines Borja-Villel. That youthful look questioned the institutions. The family, the prison, the Church, the factories, psychiatry, parties or the consumer society were some issues addressed by young artists in different media. Films like The cabin, by Antonio Mercero; In darkness, by Pedro Almodóvar, or Hurry, quickly, by Carlos Saura, are projected along with Nazario's comics or the photos of Marisa Flórez and Jordi Socías.
The tour continues with works that speak of vampirism as self-destruction by drugs and the excesses of the night, with images by Alberto García-Alix and lithographs by Víctor Mira. The feminist movement is covered, with books and magazines as Feminist Vindication, by Lidia Falcón. The end is a room dedicated to 1978, with materials on the referendum of the Constitution and several versions of the Fundamental Law.
Ibán García del Blanco, executive president of Accion Cultural Española, AC / E, a public body that promotes culture and has sponsored the exhibition, finished off the presentation by remembering the electoral shock of last Sunday in Andalusia, with the entrance of the extreme right in the autonomous Parliament.
"From the perplexity I mean that the Transition is the reverse of the earthquake of values that has occurred in Andalusia. Art is the best form of knowledge to prevent young people from returning to be the big losers. And now the future is threatened, "he said.