The Formalist Resource. Art and Autonomy after 1990

October 19, 2016 - 7:00 p.m.
Sabatini Building, Auditorium
Organized by
Museo Reina Sofía
In collaboration with

Within the framework of the retrospective Txomin Badiola. Another Family Plot (until 26 February, 2017), held in the Museo Reina Sofía, this round-table discussion brings together a series of artists for whom formalism is articulated with a double meaning: gliding or camouflage.

Some of the exhibitions and recent acquisitions of the Museo’s Collection demonstrate this artistic standpoint: painting conceived as a stage design by Heimo Zobernig; the exploration of abstraction as a migrant cultural form by Florian Pümhosl; the relationship between the design, architecture and measurement systems of Leonor Antunes; or the dislocation of modern Basque sculpture in the multiple film and literary references made by Txomin Badiola under the concept “bad form”.

For these artists, the mention of formalism after 1990 does not signify mere reductionism but instead triggers a set of symptoms that reveal much broader investigations and reconsiderations: the allusion to the gaps and limits in artistic modernity in its purest and most definitive visual configuration - abstraction; the clash between the world and its representation in the patterns, configurations and measurements of design and modern architecture; the exploration of allegory through the search for an ambiguous hermetic meaning; and the present confrontation with authority figures.

This encounter addresses these themes, dominant in the radical reformation of formalism, via three artists that have best represented these ideas: Leonor Antunes, Txomin Badiola and Florian Pümhosl, moderated by Pedro de Llano.


Leonor Antunes. Artist. In 2011 she participated in the Museo Reina Sofía’s programme Fissures with the exhibition Walk Around There. Look Through Here. Since 2013 her solo shows been on display in Kunsthalle Lissabon (Lisbon), Kunsthalle Basel (Basel), the Pérez Art Museum (Miami), the New Museum (New York) and SFMoMA (San Francisco). 

Txomin Badiola. Artist. Along with the exhibition Txomin Badiola. Another Family Plot (Museo Reina Sofía, 2016), he has exhibited his work in the retrospectives La forme qui pense at the Musée d'art moderne de Saint-Étienne Métropole, Saint-Étienne, France (2007) and Malas Formas. Txomin Badiola, 1990-2002 (2002), in MACBA (Barcelona) and the Bilbao Museo de Bellas Artes. Furthermore, he curated, with Margit Rowell, the exhibition Oteiza: Myth and Modernity in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (2004) and New York (2005), and Museo Reina Sofía (2005). In 2016 he published a catalogue raisonné of Jorge Oteiza.

Florian Pümhosl. Artist. His education comprised industrial arts and graphic design with studies at the University of Applied Arts and the Research Institute for Graphics, both in Vienna. His solo exhibitions have been on display at Kunsthaus Bregenz (Bregenz, 2012), The Art Institute of Chicago (2012), MUMOK (Vienna, 2011), Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen (Düsseldorf, 2010) and Secession (Vienna, 2000).

Pedro de Llano. Art historian and curator. He has curated the exhibitions In Search of the Miraculous: Thirty Years Later, on the posthumous project of the artist Bas Jan Ader, in the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea (CGAC), Santiago de Compostela (2010); The Black Whale in MARCO, Vigo (2012); Disparity and Demand in La Galerie, centre d’art contemporain de Noisy-le-Sec, (2014) and the first retrospective of Maria Thereza Alves in the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville (2015). His writings have been published in diverse art journals, including Exit Express (Madrid), Carta (Madrid), Afterall Online (London), Springerin (Vienna) and Texte zur Kunst (Berlin).