the hell of the beautiful

I thought that was the best title I’ve seen in a long time, but then my next work is called hell, so I’m a bit biased. Also I’m pretty much just immersed in the collective fascination with the Baroque and the aesthetic gore of horror and grotesque. So, any exhibition with the title The Hell of the Beautiful is obviously going to have me slipping off my chair, and that’s even before I’ve read the artists’ list. The exhibition is at Salamanca Ciudad de Cultura, and there’s some really cool stuff on it at da2salamanca.

In general, we have approached the Neo-Baroque from three complementary viewpoints. Firstly, we have taken those pieces that literally refer to historical Baroque or reinterpret it from a current perspective, such as the work of Philippe Bradshaw, Lars Nilsson, Elena del Rivero or Eve Sussman, who refer to Boucher, Poussin and Velazquez, respectively. In other cases we have selected work that from a formalist point of view could be considered “Baroque,” in which ornamentation, allegorical impulse, tendency to excess predominate – with the Dionysian, the grotesque, the mask, transvestism, or blown-up painting. Within this section we have included artists like Matthew Barney, Erwin Olaf, Assume Vivid Astro Focus or Fabián Marcaccio. Lastly, we have selected work that can be considered conceptually Baroque, due to the extraordinary “vanitas” created, in pieces by Jake and Dinos Chapman or Berlinde de Bruyckere, installations by Jan Fabre, Judith Barry and Juan Muñoz, or the fascinating reflection on immigration by Julian Rosefeldt.

— Nonstarving Artists

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