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Palma exhibition

The Collection Exhibited (2014–2015)
The Museum inside the Museum

October 29, 2014 – February 7, 2015

Under the generic title The Collection Exhibited, the Museu Fundación Juan March in Palma began a new project last October centred on its collection, a project set to continue and based upon the notion of the collection as an organism existing in a symbiotic relationship with the spaces of the museum. The Collection Exhibited (2013–2014). New Arrivals, the first of a series of exhibitions and presentations of the collection scheduled to take place every year at the museum, results from a reflective work on the same that has rethought the division that museums traditionally establish (excessively static on occasion) between their permanent collection and the temporary exhibitions they conceive and organize.


From left to right, works by Antoni Tàpies, Francisco de Goya, Eusebio Sempere, Gustavo Torner, Rafael Alberti, Pablo Picasso and Gerardo Rueda.
From left to right, works by Antoni Tàpies, Francisco de Goya, Eusebio Sempere, Gustavo Torner, Rafael Alberti, Pablo Picasso and Gerardo Rueda. ©Vegap, Madrid, 2014

In that first edition the collection was rearranged and some thirty new works were displayed, incorporating, for the first time into the museum’s discourse, figures of great significance from the last decades of contemporary creation in Spain. With these new additions, the Museu Fundación Juan March has gone from displaying 73 works of 62 artists to showing 103 works by 74 artists (the museum opened to the public in 1990 as Col•lecció March with 36 works by 36 artists).

The second edition of The Collection Exhibited, which bears the title The Museum inside the Museum, starts with a (momentary) jump from the present into the remote past of "The Museum Age" (Germain Bazin), where the forms of display differed substantially from those common today; the collections, which would soon be catalogued and ordered according to historical and scientific criteria and presented in chronological, stylistic and geographic order within the spaces of the modern museum, came from royal collections and private collectors whose acquisitions were governed by amateurism or connoisseurship: by chance, common or decidedly eccentric taste, or fashion. Prints (and from the late nineteenth century onwards photographs too) have bequeathed us with a magnificent iconography of the accumulation (both motley and cramped) within the collectors’ studies, chambers and cabinets, known as "cabinets of wonders" or "cabinets of curiosities" according to their German denomination Kunst- und Wunderkammern. Here, artworks and books frequently appear jumbled up with musical instruments, objects, machines and inventions, animal and plant specimens, fossils and insects. The human sciences and the modern idea of the museum would soon endow discursive order to this whole amusing accumulation of objects; in the case of artworks this was set to continue until they would receive their scheduled ordering within the neutral space of the "white cube" (Brian O’Doherty), still so dominant in contemporary museology.

89 works by 45 artists from the collection taking advantage of two very unique places within the museum's architecture. In those small spaces, the collection’s presentation includes a selection of works from the Caprichos, Disparates and Desastres de la Guerra by Francisco de Goya and prints by Pablo Picasso to the almost conceptual pieces by Ferran García Sevilla, José Luis Alexanco or Txomin Badiola, among others
However, that evolution over time still preserves (if one thinks in terms of space) what Walter Benjamin would call "display value"; the spaces of cabinets, chambers or halls, often small-sized, can be useful for displaying other works alongside the collection’s works which, on account of their size, pictorial support or nature, can be displayed neither permanently nor on an equal footing with the others: preliminary studies, sketches, drawings, models, prints, books, magazines and multiples, works on unusual supports or executed in peculiar techniques, as well as in particularly small formats. And these spaces make possible what we could call "museums inside the museum"; museums that (to scale) reproduce, intensify, complete and interpret the works of the usually displayed collection, establishing all kinds of relationships with the same.

The Collection Exhibited (2014–2015). The Museum inside the Museum presents, between 29 October 2014 and 7 February 2015, 89 works by 45 artists from the collection taking advantage of two very unique places within the museum's architecture. In those small spaces, the collection’s presentation includes a selection of works from the Caprichos, Disparates and Desastres de la Guerra by Francisco de Goya and prints by Pablo Picasso to the almost conceptual pieces by Ferran García Sevilla, José Luis Alexanco or Txomin Badiola, among others. Some recall the traditional origins of Spanish contemporary art, like the mentioned pieces of Goya [cat. nos. 1–5], or the avant-garde, including those of Picasso [cat. nos. 6–11] or Dalí [cat. no. 36]; others allow a glimpse into past (or future) eras of the artist’s work on display in the museum (such as in the case of Gerardo Rueda [cat. nos. 16 and 69], Josep Guinovart [cat. nos. 21–22] or Manuel Rivera [cat. nos. 28 and 70]); many of which (executed on such unusual supports as fans [cat. nos. 47–51]) bear witness to the artists’ play with materials, supports and forms beyond the limitations of traditional painting and sculpture.


The second edition of The Collection Exhibited, which bears the title The Museum inside the Museum, starts with a (momentary) jump from the present into the remote past of "The Museum Age" (Germain Bazin), where the forms of display differed substantially from those common today
Some are testimony to the incursion of plastic artists into the literary field, like Dalí with the texts by Guillaume Apollinaire [cat 36], Manuel Millares [cat. no. 31] with those of Rafael Alberti (from whom we also find a poetic tribute to Picasso [cat. no. 12 ]), Antonio Saura with Quevedo [cat. no. 25], Antoni Tàpies with Joan Brossa [cat. nos. 24, 30 and 45]; others are previous states of the collection’s works (such as in the cases of the drawings and models by Palazuelo [cat. nos. 38 and 39], the preparatory drawing by Fernando Zóbel for La vista [cat. no. 59], the originals for silkscreens by Manuel H. Mompó [cat. no. 52] or the plates for the Inguru etchings by Eduardo Chillida [cat. no. 42]); others present great formal similarity with the work of the artist usually on display in the museum (as in the case of Eduardo Arroyo [cat. no. 57], Millares [cat. nos. 19 and 29] and Julio López Hernández [cat. no. 55]) or, conversely, present a huge contrast to the same, such as the kinetic (and figurative) piece by Eusebio Sempere [cat. no. 58].

In some pieces we find the artist drawing, as in the case of Joan Ponç [cat. no. 13], Luis Gordillo [cat. no. 23], Jordi Teixidor [cat. nos. 88–89] and José María Yturralde [cat. nos. 34 and 35], or working with print media, as is the case of the small etching by Modest Cuixart [cat. no. 20], the lithograph of Gerardo Delgado [cat. no. 63] or the silkscreens by Equipo Crónica [cat. no. 64]; some are solitary pieces (like the gouaches by Jose Guerrero [cat. no. 46] or Joan Hernández Pijuan [cat. no. 68] or the work carried out in acrylic paint by Luis Feito [cat. no. 65]), while others serve collective artistic projects (such as the pieces based on the letters of the alphabet of José María Sicilia, Martín Chirino, Eduardo Arroyo, Mitsuo Miura, Luis Gordillo and Eva Lootz [cat. nos. 86, 78, 74, 84, 81 and 83] for the exhibition El objeto del arte held in the museum in the 1990s); some are large format, like the photo collage of García Sevilla on Las Meninas [cat. no. 60]; others, tiny (like the small sculpture by Palazuelo [cat. no. 14]), and so forth. But all, in the end, allow the visitor to contemplate works whose characteristics do not lend themselves easily to permanent display, but whose close-knit display in small spaces embedded in the tour of the museum allow contemplation and knowledge of the works of art to be amplified, establishing links between them as unexpected as they are real.