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Louise Bourgeois in What humanity?

26 October 2023—11 February 2024
Group Exhibition at Museu Nacional D'Art De Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

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This ambitious exhibition will gather together around one hundred works by top level Catalan, Spanish and international artists who, between 1940 and the mid nineteen sixties, tackled the question of the figure and of the human condition, faced with the uncertainties, mutations, failures and hopes caused by the Second World War and its prologue, the Spanish Civil War.

As a continuation of the work carried out by the Museum on the art of the Civil War and in the context of the construction of the art collection of the second half of the 20th century, What Humanity? will provide a cross-cutting look at post-war art, a period marked, among others, by existentialist philosophy but which goes beyond this intellectual framework to reflect a spirit of the time shared by different cultural imaginaries. After a global war, the holocaust and the atomic bomb, humanity entered a crisis and art expressed these concerns, projected especially on the human condition. Figuration often on the thresholds of abstraction — then takes on the challenge of representing the figure, of creating the image of wounded, distressed, destroyed or reinvented and germinal humanity.

This project aims to create a crossover between different layers and stories in order to highlight core problems such as the disintegration of classical humanism or the construction of a new subjectivity through pain and hope. A whole series of more specific but suggestive topics are also opened up, such as the relationship between the body and consciousness, the possibility of heroism, the function of the grotesque, the image of the monster, the nostalgia for beauty or the communicative function of the face. The project represents a new step forward in the construction of the post-war and second avant-garde narratives that the Museum has been promoting for years, in this case with an important commitment to placing the figures active in Catalonia in a European and international context and to claim their quality.

Some of the artists whose works can be seen in the exhibition are Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois, Salvador Dalí, Albert Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Germaine Richier among others.