José María Sicilia (Madrid, 1954) is one of the most significant representatives of Spanish painting from the Eighties. He begins his artistic career at the School of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid and in 1980 moves to Paris. From his arrival in France the artist works in large format and sees a constantly evolving painting.
During the Eighties several events are essential to his international recognition: the 1982 exhibition at the gallery Trans/Form of Paris, the presentation of his work in Spain in 1984 by gallery owner Fernando Vijande and a solo show in 1985 at the Blum Helman Gallery in New York. In 1989 he receives the Nacional de Artes Plásticas Prize which reaffirms a solid path which is structured around a pictorial series, whose dynamic stroke and freedom in act means he is associated with Expressionism during the Eighties.
Among his major exhibitions during the Nineties is L'horabaixa -Majorcan term for twilight- which brings together work by the artist with the use of beeswax as a common denominator. The show takes place in 1997 at the Palacio de Velázquez in the Parque del Retiro, where Sicilia had already exhibited his paintings nine years earlier, in 1988 at the exhibition José María Sicilia. Pinturas de 1987.
The poetic line present in the Catalan artist's work transcends the lyrical and studies the problems of vision more thoroughly which Sicilia consistently delves into from the beginnings of his career. The search for the "heart" of the painting through dialogue between the bottom and the surface and the use of light as a defining element of that relationship and the image as a vehicle of emotion and tension, capable of structuring the space of the colour are some of his characteristic features.
The flower as an object and subject of his paintings, accompanies him throughout his career, from his work done in New York in the Eighties. At the beginning flowers materially and gesturally represent themselves but they evolve over the years, going through various stages until they reach a high point in the series La luz que se apaga, which he begins in 1997.
For this exhibition the artist presents at the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos in Burgos a series that consists of twenty-five works, using the flower as an excuse again. White is the exclusive background for them all, except for the bluish tones of three-fold leaflet in En Flor VII, En Flor XIV and En Flor XXI and the painting En Flor XXV. The En Flor series is specifically made for the monastic space it occupies, and takes spirituality as a backdrop. Sicilia looks into the soul through the subtlety of Japanese paper, which has two layers of veils which cover the colours of the flowers. However, it is worth noting that the artist states that he never talks of flowers but of painting.
Museo Reina Sofía Publications
28 February – 1 July 2024
Olga de Soto
Reconstruction of a Danse MacabreProgram: Fisuras
21 February - 24 June 2024
The Practice of Art
1 December 2023 – 10 March 2024
Ulla von Brandenburg
29 November 2023 - 11 March 2024
15 November 2023 - 4 March 2024
The Turning Point
23 February – 7 June 2024
What They Saw
Historical Photobooks by Women, 1843-1999Library and Documentation Centre