Los Encuentros de Pamplona (The Pamplona Meetings) (June 26-July 3, 1972) were the turning point in a national artistic evolution in the last years of the Franco dictatorship, in addition to noting a symbolic end to the predominance of informalist painting and abstraction, accepted and used by official cultural policy. The meetings came about from private initiative to support contemporary music creations, sponsored by the Huarte family. From the organisation of a musical event by the Alea Group (Luis de Pablo and José Luis Alexanco), the project quickly grows into an international festival where the new artistic, poetic and cinematographic forms accommodate themselves. The fact that it should be the artists themselves who create and design is insisted upon.
With a definite documentary tone, this exhibition seeks to find its place in contemporary Spanish art history. Following the French formula of "street art" the whole city was transformed into a large stage, bringing life to public spaces and the laboratory of ideas, where more than three hundred and fifty artists -coordinated by Professor Ignacio Gómez de Liaño- presented their proposals without limits imposed by institutions that govern creation, seeking to involve the spectator and passerby. In this respect, architect José Miguel Prada Poole’s pneumatic structures achieve special prominence as a symbolic space for meeting and artistic activity.
The Meetings bring forward the existence of a rejuvenated national avant-garde that maintains close ties and shares aesthetic and stylistic interests with new international trends (Fluxus, Situationism, video art, Action art and happening), which is seen in the response and presence of the artists, musicians and intellectuals such as John Cage, David Tudor, Steve Reich (expo reference to La caverna 1994), Silvano Bussotti, the ballerina Laura Dean or Dennis Openheim. In all participants there is a dominant experimental attitude that manifests itself in specific music presentations and electroacoustics. In addition, there is an attitude of "mixing genres, the abolition of borders between creative fields and cultural traditions" in the words of Fernando Huici, curator of the exhibition together with Fernando Francés. In that way -as remembered by Alexanco- it is not only about "making the senses coexist" but also "mixing the avant-garde with the traditional, as the artistic with the audible" favouring multiculturalism. This is evident in: the Kathakali of Kerala dances, the work of Vietnamese musician Trân van Khê, the Zaj concerts, Diego el del Gastor performances, or those of the Arze with the native txalaparta. Moreover, this coexistence with heterogeneous takes shape in the way the city integrates different pieces by Isidoro Valcárcel Medina and Espectador de Espectadores (year), by Equipo Crónica.
Collection artworks included in the exhibition