Feb 10–May 5, 2022

Poetics of the real

German Avant-Garde Design 1989-2019
Plaza de Cibeles 1, 28014 Madrid Map
Tue-Sun 10 am-8 pm

For decades, set design has played an increasingly important role in artistic practices and discourses, in which the presence of such concepts as “stage space”, “theatrical”, “dramatic” or “scenographic” has become commonplace - and indeed, in certain cases, essential - in their configuration. This has awakened a growing interest in set design as a specific artistic practice.

Poetics of the Real is an approach to contemporary set design through the creations of the latest generation of German set designers, unanimously considered to be the most important benchmark for the international avant-garde.

If their work is characterised by one thing in particular, it is the fact that they have turned what is real into an ethical and aesthetic principle, to bring to set design a truth and an autonomy that inherits and reformulates the legacy of the performative avant-garde of the twentieth century.

The fact that Ann Viebrock’s set designs resemble a cross between Benjaminian constellations and surrealist artefacts; that Bert Neumann’s stage spaces only look like a stage set when seen from behind; or that Katrin Brack’s set designs are often the recreation of natural phenomena such as fog or rain, speaks to us of the diversity of strategies and languages used by this avant-garde, which includes such creators as Annette Kurz, Aleksandar Denić, Rebecca Ringst, Jan Pappelbaum, Bettina Meyer, Klaus Grünberg, Nina Wetzel and the Rimini Protokoll and SIGNA collectives, among others.

The exhibition has been curated by set designer and exhibition curator Antonio Marín. His latest works include the design of exhibitions for the Reina Sofia Museum (MNCARS) such as Verse-Composing Machines, by Pedro G. Romero (2021, in collaboration with Mediomundo Arquitectos), Take Me to Another World, by Charlotte Johannesson (2021), and the set designs for the theatre productions Music and Evil, by Lola Blasco (Fernán Gómez Theatre, 2021), In the Words of Jo... Little Women (Teatro Español, Madrid 2020) and Yerma's Passion (Lorca Foundation of Granada, 2019).