Permanent Collection

Juan Genovés

Valencia, 1930

During the 1960s, informalism —characterized by its abstract and gestural techniques—became the official language of the avant-garde. In the midst of the excitement caused by the triumph of this movement, Genovés, along with several artists who had never given up figurative art, developed a style that provided an effective instrument to express their social and aesthetic demands and that, not surprisingly, came to be known as "political art." The influence of pop artists and imagery borrowed from advertising, comic books and everyday consumer products is apparent in the "realist silhouettes" that can be seen in Genovés' paintings, which generally include figures of people running. Nonetheless, Genovés gave these images a new critical value by using them as a means of protest. The resulting works capture the drama of a victimized society without succumbing to the clichés of political propaganda.

"M-147" (ideogram), 1971
M-147 (ideogram), 1971

However, Genovés' paintings do not represent or describe particular events. In the present work several human silhouettes appear to be running away, in opposite directions, from unidentified locations. Despite the fact that it is impossible to place them in a specific time or place, the viewer—especially one who lived during that particular period—can easily see that the picture makes reference to events such as worker strikes or student protests.

The figures move over a fading red background, suggesting the violence Juan Genovés Valencia, 1930 and anguish that weighs upon them. This backdrop also provides the scene with a sense of dynamism and underscores the influence of pop art, which is explicit in the filmlike sequences that make up the composition, a technique Genovés used frequently in his work.

Javier Maderuelo

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Catálogo del Museu Fundación Juan March, Palma de Mallorca.