The nucleus of the exhibition of the work of Michael Craig-Martin —one of the most interesting members of the first generation of British Conceptual Artists and one of the most influential painters in the world today— is an installation made especially for the walls of the main gallery of the Embajador Vich Hall at the Centre del Carme, based on Velázquez’s Las Meninas and one of the most famous of Zurbarán’s still lifes in El Prado Museum. Besides, there is a series of historic pieces made between 1960 and 1970. The exhibition catalogue contains a selection of texts by the artist himself, one by the curator of the exhibition, Enrique Juncosa, an interview held by Teresa Millet and reproductions of all the works and the installation shown in the galleries at the Centre del Carme. Michael Craig-Martin (Dublin 1941) grew up in the United States, where he studied Fine Arts at the Yale University School of Arts and Architecture. Artists such as Brice Marden, Richard Serra and Jonathan Borofsky were among his classmates there. In 1966 he moved to London to continue his studies, and there he held his first one person exhibition at the Rowan Gallery in 1969. Since then he has held numerous group and solo exhibitions, among which the one titled The New Art, which included representatives of British Conceptual Art and was organized by Anne Seymour in 1972 for the Hayward Gallery, deserves special mention. An installation called An oak tree (1972) is among his best known works of this period: a glass of water on a shelf a few metres above the ground embodies the metaphor of an oak tree. In recent times his mural drawings of large-scale objects, his latest installations and his intensely coloured paintings have become popular. In his creations with a clear influence of Pop Art and Minimal Art, Craig-Martin constantly reflects about fundamental issues concerning the nature of art, its representation and its impact on the viewer. Mainly he explores the world of everyday objects, either realistic or in large-scale images with superimposed outlines, to which he occasionally applies bright colours. In these processes, the objects take on major symbolic and metaphoric meanings. Among the many solo exhibitions he has held, it is worth pointing out especially the retrospective show at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 1989 and the installation of mural paintings held in the project room at the MoMA in New York in 1991. He made site-specific installations for the Sztuki Museum in Lódz, Poland and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1994. That same year he prepared the exhibition titled Drawing the Line for the South Bank Centre in London, consisting of line drawings from prehistory to the present day. He was one of the artists included in Un siècle de sculpture Anglaise held at the Jeu de Paume in Paris in 1996. More recently he presented Always Now, a retrospective exhibition of his installations, at the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, and made a site-specific wall painting on the ground floor of the MoMA in New York as part of the exhibition Modern Starts: Things, the first of the exhibitions organized by the New York museum to celebrate the new millennium. Michael Craig-Martin has been teaching art since he arrived in the United Kingdom in 1966. In 1970 he occupied the post of artist-in-residence at King’s College in Cambridge for two years. Later, from 1974 to 1988, he taught at the Goldsmiths College in London, where he returned in 1993 as Millard Professor of Fine Art. Artists of international fame such as Ian Davenport, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas, Julian Opie and Fiona Rae have been students of his. Among other articles and essays, he has published “The teaching of Josef Albers: A personal Reminiscence” (1995) and “Post-painting, painting and other thoughts” (1997).
14 September 2017 - 28 January 2018