The Underground Atlantic Experience
Forty Years of the Rompente Collective (1975–1983)
Cando lle dis a un poeta,
“a túa voz fala por nós”
pero moito máis se alegra se é
que falades por vós mesmos
— Silabario da turbina, 1978
Vigo, a place and a time of transition among many others following the mass strikes of 1972. A workers’ city still gasping under repression, with Franco dead and Humberto Baena murdered. A mutant, disjointed city whose “irrevocably maladjusted” children roam between strange books and even stranger sounds and chemical paradises. Dreams of revolution, desires for revolt, inquisitive lives. Gunpowder and magnolias. Hippies on the Cíes Islands, but there’s still Portugal. What is the avant-garde if not a cross on a map, on the skin of an era, certain forms that speak of a mode of inhabiting it, advancing on it, reluctantly, between collective reveries and new techniques? Something that is passed on, complicates, fades.
Through the paths leading from Marxism-Leninism and the fight for national liberation to pop culture — with or against post-modern banality, denying or desiring the local evolution of Madrid’s Movida cultural movement or, in its absence, an emancipated country — the experience of the Rompente collective is articulated. Fanzines, meetings, verses, performances, collages, concerts, video clips and vinyl records shape a sprawling poetic-political archive of cultural resistance. The dead, the forgotten, the triumphant and the next generation would pass before the cage of a monkey called Paco, who looked them over with great bewilderment from the Atlantic coast, in a 2010 documentary made by Piño Prego. As the decades pass, another myth is born, a memory, an inheritance. Until, finally, there is a revival.
Four decades on from the Rompente collective’s disbandment, this encounter is organised to reflect and work upon the historical significance of this community of artists, poets, musicians and likeminded figures, and upon the collective’s memory, forms of artistic production and political by-products. The activity also examines the articulations of the movement concerning related phenomena in the context of the post-Franco transition, on a regional and national level, that appeared and disappeared in the decades that followed. In the voices of leading figures and witnesses, and via the perspectives of younger poets, critics and researchers, a collective journey is set forth around the world of the Atlantic underground in the 1970s and 1980s, the echoes and forms of which still interrogate us from the seas of Vigo.
Carlota Álvarez Basso (Vigo, 1964) was in charge of the Museo Reina Sofía’s Department of Audiovisual Artworks from 1992 to 1999 and, since 2018, has overseen the Special Projects from the Museo’s Sub-Directorate for Art.
Ángel Calvo Ulloa (Lalín, 1984) is an exhibition curator and art critic. He holds a degree in Art History from the University of Santiago Compostela and an MA in Contemporary Art from the University of Vigo. He has curated projects such as Complexo Colosso (Centro Internacional das Artes José de Guimarães - CIAJG, 2021) and Habitación. Archivo F.X. (Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo - CA2M, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya - MNAC and La Nau, 2018–2019). Moreover, he has carried out projects for other institutions such as the Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo (MARCO), the Centro de Cultura de España en México (CCEMX) and the La Tabacalera Self-Managed Social Centre in Lavapiés, Madrid. Together with Juan Canela, he has published Desde lo curatorial. Conversaciones, experiencias y afectos (Consonni, 2020).
Alba Cid (Ourense, 1989) is a poet and researcher from Galicia. Atlas (Galaxia, 2019), her first poetry collection, received the National Prize for Literature in the “Miguel Hernández” Youth Poetry section, awarded by Spain’s Ministry of Culture. Her poems have been translated into German, Spanish, Greek, English and Portuguese, and have also been included in digital magazines and publications such as Poem-a-Day, Asymptote, Enfermaria 6, Kenyon Review, Oculta Lit, The Offing and Words Without Borders. She is a contributor with Radio Galega and with an array of magazines, as well as being part of inter-artistic projects tied to immaterial heritage in aCentral Folque and a member on the editorial board of the magazine Dorna. She is an occasional photographer and illustrator, and explores etymologies, natural history and different cultural practices.
Manuel Jabois Sueiro (Pontevedra, 1978) is a journalist and writer. He started his career in journalism with Diario de Pontevedra, before moving on to El Mundo, and since 2015 has written reports, features and columns for El País. He also has a daily slot on the Cadena SER programme Hora 25. As a writer, he has published the collection of articles Irse a Madrid (Pepitas de Calabaza, 2011), the short memoirs Grupo Salvaje (Libros del K. O., 2012) and Manu (Pepitas de Calabaza, 2013), as well as a longer work on the 11M terrorist attacks entitled Nos vemos en esta vida o en la otra (Planeta, 2016). His book Malaherba (Alfaguara, 2019) sealed his standing as one of the most popular Spanish writers of his generation. Miss Marte (Alfaguara, 2021) is his latest novel.
Germán Labrador Méndez is the director of the Museo Reina Sofía’s Public Activities Department.
Menchu Lamas (Vigo, 1954) is an artist who has been a reference point in contemporary Spanish painting since bursting on the scene through exhibitions held in Galería Buades in Madrid and shows on the Atlantic movement. Her work is inherently emblematic with a personal iconography, characterised by chromatic intensity and a fusion of abstract and figurative techniques. Her works have been displayed at international shows that include the São Paulo Biennial, Europalia in Brussels, Five Spanish Artists in New York, Caleidoscopio Español in Dortmund, Spansk-Egen-Art in Stockholm, Currents at The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston, and Art d´Aujourdhui-Art de Femmes, in Vienna. She has also exhibited at galleries in Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Paris and Milan. The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC) is currently putting together a broad monographic exhibition on her work, curated by Chus Martínez.
Roberto Oliveira Ogando (Salceda de Caselas, 1979) specialises in contemporary percussion. He earned a degree at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague, Netherlands, and holds an MA in Music Performance with First Class Honours from the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Ireland. He is also a PhD student at the University of Santiago de Compostela, writing the thesis Procesos estructurales electroacústicos (Structural Electroacoustic Processes) on Enrique X. Macías. He is the co-founder of ONME Gestión Cultural S. L. and is currently a member of the Organistrum group at the University of Santiago de Compostela and a collaborating researcher at the Centro de Estudos de Sociologia e Estética Musical (CESEM) from the Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
Alicia Pajón Fernández (Lugo, 1993) holds a degree in Music History and Science from the University of Oviedo and is a PhD student at the same university. Her thesis analyses discourses around music in Spanish newspapers during the Transition to democracy. She is part of the Grupo de Investigación en Música Contemporánea de España y Latinoamérica Diapente XXI.
Antón Reixa (Vigo, 1957) holds a degree in Galician Studies and has been an active part of the poetry world since the end of the 1970s with the Grupo de Comunicación Poética Rompente. He has published numerous poetry collections, including Ringo Rango (Xerais, 1992), Algo Raro Pasa Raro (Oficina de Arte y Ediciones, 2015) and Outlet (Chan da Pólvora, 2020). His prose most notably includes Transporte de Superficie (Edicións Positivas, 1991) and Michigan/Acaso Michigan (Xerais, 2018). A singer and lyricist in Os Resentidos and Nación Reixa, his lyrics are compiled in the book Viva Galicia Beibe (Xerais, 2016). As an audiovisual producer and director, the series Mareas Vivas (1998–2002) and the film El Lápiz del Carpintero (2002) stand out. In theatre, Melancoholemia. Vida de Mamarracho (Kalandraka, 2020) is his most recent text, and he performs in the monologue version. In 2021, he was awarded the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts by the Spanish Government.
Alberte Valverde (Baiona, 1977) is a secondary education teacher at IES Indalecio Pérez Tizón de Tui. He holds a degree in Galician Studies and Portuguese Studies from the University of Santiago de Compostela and a PhD in Philology and Cultural Identity from the University of Vigo. His PhD thesis was centred on the Rompente collective and avant-garde discourses in Galician literature, while his research work focuses on the field of Galician and Portuguese literature over the past forty years, particularly in the respective transitions from dictatorships to democracy and from a socio-literary perspective. In parallel, he writes literature reviews in specialist magazines such as Grial and Kamchatka. At the current time, he contributes to the José Saramago Chair at the University of Vigo.
Friday, 13 May 2022
—Conducted by Germán Labrador Méndez
5:15pm Table 1. Galletas Rompente (1975–1983): Memory-Moment-Movement
Ángel Calvo Ulloa. Dirty Hands. The Old Through the New
Menchu Lamas. Creative Laughs
Manuel Jabois Sueiro. Some Notes on Rompente
Antón Reixa. The Poetic Rear-view Mirror of the Years
— Moderated by: Carlota Álvarez Basso
6:30pm Que hostia din os rumorosos? (selection). Recitation
—Conducted by Antón Reixa
7pm Table 2. Facer pulgarcitos hoxe: Aesthetics and Politics in the 1970s
Alicia Pajón Fernández. Vigo, Lisbon Capital? Music, Politics and the Underground in the Transition
Roberto Oliveira Ogando. The Electroacoustic Works of Enrique X. Macías in Context (1977–1979)
Alba Cid. A dama que fala é un galimatías: Rompente, Sketching a Vanguardist Poetic Genealogy
Alberte Valverde. Fóra as vosas sucias mans de Rompente