Riotous Baroque, From Cattelan to Zurbaran

Featuring contemporary artworks presented alongside 17th-century paintings, Riotous Baroque: From Cattelan to Zurbarán attempts to extricate the concept of the baroque from established clichés and traditional perceptions. With a clear shift away from pomp, ornament, and gold, the exhibition focuses on the baroque as a celebration of the precarious vitality that was hailed, rediscovered, lost, projected, and threatened by death. Riotous Baroque does not mark the emergence of a new neo-baroque style. Instead, the exhibition highlights the way in which several contemporary artworks touch reality, striving toward existentialist issues.

Jose de Ribera (1591-1652) Saint Sebastian Tended by the Holy Women, c. 1621 Oil on canvas 180.3 x 231.6 em Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao

Usually associated with dynamism, sensuality, extravagance, and theatricality, withdrawn from the quiet solemnity of classical forms, the baroque era also exemplified an age of instability, marking the collapse of an established order. As noted by the art historian Erwin Panofsky, the baroque was founded in “the victory of subjectivism, which aims to express suffering and humor in equal measure.”

Juergen Teller ( 1964-) Paradis X!!,2009 C-Type,Edition 2/5 127 x 177.8 em. With frame 134.5 x 194.5 x 0.6 em Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery

Bartolomeo Passerotti ( 1529-1592) The Crazy Lovers,n/d Oil on canvas 114x 118cm Private Collection,Paris

Simon Vouet (1590-1649) The Rape of Europe, ca. 1640 Oil on canvas 179 x 141.5 em Museo Thyssen-Bornem1sza,Madrid

Hercules diverts the River Alfeus, 1634 Oil on canvas 133 x 153 em. With frame 147.5 x 169 x 6.5 em Museo Nacional del Prado

The selection of baroque paintings and contemporary works on display constitute an approach to real life that creates a universe of contrasts ruled by the illusionistic, the hyperreal, and the longing for an exalted vitality. Avant-garde artists of the 20th century also sought to put art and life on equal terms. Although this essentialist enthusiasm appears to have been forgotten today, its reflection still prevails among artists who probe the permeability of the frontier between art and life.

Maurizio Cattelan ( 1960-) Untitled, 2007 Taxidermied dog, Taxidermied chick, expanded polyurethane Vanable size Installation view: Maurizio Cattelan,Kunsthaus Bregenz,Austria,February 2- March 24,2008. Private Collection Photo,Markus Tretter Courtesy,Maurizio Cattelan's Archive

Albert Oehlen( 1954-) F/418, 2008 Oil,paper on canvas 230 x 270 em Loan by the artist © VEGAP,Bilbao,2013

Diana Thater ( 1962-) Chernobyl,2010 Installation: 6 projectors,6 med1a players,Lee Filters Edition of 3 + 1A.P Courtesy Hauser & Wirth,London Installation view at Hauser & Wirth,London Image courtesy Hauser & Wirth

Urs Fischer ( 1973-) Problem Painting, 2012 AeryI. Lack und Siebdruck auf Aluminium 360 X 270 Kunsthaus ZUrich. Vereinigung ZUrcher Kunstfreunde,Geschenk des KUnstlers

Cristina Lucas ( 1973-) More Light (Mas luz), 2003 HD video 4:3 color and sound. 10 min Edition 1/3 + 2 AP Courtesy the artist and Juana de Aizpuru Gallery

Looking back at history from a contemporary perspective, Riotous Baroque explores the coarseness, earthiness, religiosity, and sensuality of the baroque, grotesque, burlesque, and virile. The exhibition eludes the most obvious the- matic or formal analogies, opting to present baroque and contemporary works within an installation influenced by film, designed to enable the two realities, past and present, with all their differences and affinities, in order to cross-fertilize, permeate, and invite new interpretations.

Rioutous Baroque at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is open from June 18–October 6, 2013.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Avenida Abandoibarra, 2
Bilbao 48001, Spain

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