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Private Passions, Public Visions. Collections D. O. Galicia

Private Passions, Public Visions. Collections D. O. Galicia


30 May 2008 - 7 September 2008
First floor galleries
Tuesdays to Saturdays (including holidays) from 11am to 9pm. Sundays, from 11am to 3pm
MARCO, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo
Fernando Castro Flórez

Summary / Presentation

This selection of pieces, loaned from Galician private collectors of mainly contemporary art of the 1980s to the present, helps us to trace a journey through the history of art and art collecting in our most immediate context. More than a simple display of the works, this exhibition aspires to analyse the particularities and relationships that transpire from a closer examination of their contents while serving as a kind of homage to, and appraisal of, the collections to which they belong. A multiplicity of factors shapes a collection's meaning and raison d'être. PRIVATE PASSIONS, PUBLIC VISIONS is a preliminary overview of the status quo of private art collecting in Galicia and at the same time an opportunity for the general public to enjoy works that have hitherto been barred from public viewing.

Works on display

The exhibition brings together a total of 115 pieces, made up mostly of paintings (41), sculptures (29) and photographs (34). There are also installations (5), videos (4), drawings (1) and scale models (1).


In presenting PRIVATE PASSIONS, PUBLIC VISIONS: Collections D. O. Galicia, the MARCO, the contemporary art museum of Vigo, brings into the realm of reality a project conceived long ago in which equal prominence is given to artists and collectors, the latter surely a pillar of the contemporary art system as well as a central cog in the enduringly complex relationships that have defined the association between art and its market throughout history.

Professor, art critic, and curator of this exhibition, Fernando Castro Flórez's selection of works spanning the Eighties to the present helps us to trace a journey through the history of art and art collecting in our most immediate context. Underpinning the exhibition is a historiographical reading of the flowering of contemporary art fairs in the 1960s, which prepared the way for the emergence of the concept of the ‘art system' in 1972. Fairs, biennials, auctions and other events related to the art market are a direct outcome of the growth of art collections, the real witnesses of actuality. As ARCO rapidly became a point of reference, opening its doors to international galleries and collectors, the presence of international art in Galician collections increased notably.

Drawing on the same principles that motivated us in the past to work with artists, curators, critics and researchers of our most immediate context, we aspire on this occasion to give due recognition to the efforts and the commitment that Galicia's private collectors have made in regard of the art of their time, and offer our visitors the chance to view pieces which, for the most part, have not been seen in public since their acquisition. Possessors of sound aesthetic criteria, these owners have sought to maintain their artistic patrimony through the formation of a collection of contemporary art works.

Whilst preparing the exhibition, what struck us, more than the actual criteria guiding the acquisition of the pieces, was the diversity of the factors that lend a particular collection its shape and meaning, and the sheer number of works which have collectively forged the memory of a time in history or which embody passing yet defining interests. The wisdom with which the collections have been put together, their proximity with regard to the MARCO's interests and the consistency and rigour of their assumptions, coupled with the fact that they are the fruit of personal effort, all contrived to make us conceive this exhibition and publication as the first part or chapter of an ensuing series.

More than a simple display of works, the exhibition aspires to analyse the similarities and particularities that transpire from their contents. This is possible because of the broad nature of the selection made, which allows for a range of individual differences to find expression. The exhibition also aims to serve as a homage to, and appraisal of, these collections while at the same time stimulate art collecting among the public. A multiplicity of factors shapes a collection's meaning and raison d'être. ‘PRIVATE PASSIONS, PUBLIC VISIONS' is a preliminary overview of the status quo of private art collecting in Galicia and at the same time an opportunity for the general public to enjoy works that have hitherto been barred from public viewing.



    Abraham Lacalle
    Adrian Piper
    Alberto Datas
    Ana Mendieta
    Andreas Schulze
    Angela de la Cruz
    Ángeles Agrela
    Anri Sala
    Antón Lamazares
    Antoni Muntadas
    Antonio Murado
    Armando Mariño
    Baltazar Torres
    Bernardí Roig
    Berta Cáccamo
    Candida Höfer
    Cao Guimarães
    Carlo Maria Mariani
    Carlos Amorales
    Carsten Höller
    Charles Sandison
    Chelo Matesanz
    Chema Alvargonzález
    Chema Cobo
    Curro González
    Damián Ortega
    David Salle
    Diego Santomé
    DJ Simpson
    Douglas Gordon
    Efrain Almeida
    Ernesto Neto
    Federico Guzmán
    Federico Herrero
    Fernando Sánchez Castillo
    Fiona Rae
    Francisco Leiro
    Frank Thiel
    Gregor Schneider
    Günther Förg
    Helmut Dorner
    Herbert Brandl
    Ignacio Basallo
    Imi Knoebel
    Íñigo Manglano-Ovalle
    Javier Núñez Gasco
    Javier Vallhonrat
    Jean-Marc Bustamante
    Jiri Georg Dokoupil
    John Coplans
    Jonathan Hernández
    Jonathan Meese
    Jorge Perianes
    José Antonio Hernández-Diez
    José Bechara
    José Pedro Croft
    Juan Carlos Román
    Juan Uslé
    Julian Opie
    Julião Sarmento
    Karin Sander
    Katharina Grosse
    Liam Gillick
    Luis Gordillo
    Manolo Paz
    Manuel Ocampo
    Manuel Vilariño
    Martin Kippenberger
    Mateo Maté
    Michel Majerus
    Miquel Navarro
    Olafur Eliasson
    Pedro Cabrita Reis
    Pedro Proença
    Roland Fischer
    Roman Signer
    Rubén Ramos Balsa
    Sandro Chia
    Santiago Cirugeda
    Sarah Jones
    Shirin Neshat
    Simón Pacheco
    Stefan Kürten
    Stephan Balkenhol
    Susana Solano
    Thomas Demand
    Thomas Hirschhorn
    Thomas Ruff
    Tracey Moffatt
    Txomin Badiola
    Ugo Rondinone
    Valeska Soares
    Vasco Araújo
    Vik Muniz
    Walter Dahn
    Xoán Anleo

Curatorial text

"In the indefatigable discourse of contemporary art we come across all sorts of vacuous praise devoted chiefly to artists and curators. Such acclaim is obviously accompanied by verbal diarrhoea that ‘contextualises' and highlights the hypnotic power of the museum, and often, by considerations regarding the art market that are either assimilated or apocalyptical. One of the most neglected features in the system of art is that of private collecting, and yet it would prove almost impossible for art to follow its course, however changing and strange that course may be, without the presence of individuals who for various different reasons decide to purchase a painting, a sculpture, a video or a photograph. I have the feeling that it is not just a question of the collector being the great unknown, but also that to a fair degree he is considered a sort of ‘necessary evil'. (...)

Not even the so-called institutional theory of art duly analyses the role of the collector, who is not only someone who buys one or two pictures to decorate his home or office, but could be someone obsessed by such a passion that he ends up accumulating an amazing number of works. Curator Robert Storr began a lecture in which he ‘explained' his idea of a biennial, being as he was director of the Venice Biennale, evoking a salon in which he contemplated in ecstasy works by the great masters of the avant-garde. For the general public, the ideal place for an artistic encounter is the museum, the heritage of which they sense, to a certain extent, to be their own.

PRIVATE PASSIONS, PUBLIC VISIONS stems from the interest shown by the MARCO of Vigo in highlighting the importance of Galician private collections. Surveying some of the most noteworthy collections we immediately confirm that they contain so many works of such high quality that these could be displayed in a number of different shows that offer different ways of looking. Painting reigns supreme, but several excellent sculptures can also be found, alongside contemporary photographic works. The almost marginal presence of video, however, proves that it is still relatively difficult for private collectors to integrate such productions in their own specific selections. In all cases, these are private collections that transcend what we could bluntly describe as decorative-domestic needs. When over a hundred pieces, some of them in museum format, are brought together, as they are by these Galician art lovers, what I previously branded as poison has now clearly entered into the collector's bloodstream.

Chatting with the proprietors of the works I corroborated that art, in all cases, forms a crucial part of their lives. They keep abreast of the current artistic trends more intensely and knowledgeably than many apathetic critics, or pure and simply mercenaries, travelling to the different art fairs, covering the biennials and, above all, managing to establish complicities with certain artists. They do not match the stereotype of the art buyer in the late eighties obsessed with speculation; on the contrary, their attitudes lie closer to those of the patron and, of course, to those of individuals who painstakingly, passionately and critically seek the pieces they desire for their collections, which can be considered works in progress.

At a time when we come across ready-mades everywhere, the collector's passion is to find something unique, something which must needs be his. Every collection is to a certain degree autobiographical, in keeping with prejudices, obsessions and drives that are not easily disclosed. The work of art that has acquired visibility on display returns to the private sphere when it is purchased. The current MARCO project, based on Galician private collections, sends back to the white cube that which was for the most part in storage or housed in family domains. It provides, therefore, an opportunity for cultural recognition of the role of the private collector and constitutes a gesture of generosity on the part of the owners of works who offer the general public the possibility of enjoying and reflecting on what they previously endorsed with the passion of their gaze. Magnificent works by artists such as David Salle, Francisco Leiro, Bernardí Roig, Antonio Murado, Martin Kippenberger, Chelo Matesanz and Baltazar Torres, among almost a hundred pieces, publicly present a fragmentary yet exceptional map of contemporary creative thought. The museum is not only a place for distraction, a piece in the general tourist organisation, but a privileged space in which to establish fluent connections between public and private, where the collector's gaze, the curator's selection and the spectator's judgement can establish mutually enhancing relations."

Fernando Castro Flórez
Curator of the exhibition


Fernando Castro Flórez

Fernando Castro Flórez
(Plasencia, 1964) works as a Professor at the Institute of Aesthetics and Theory of Arts, Autonomous University, Madrid. He collaborates as an art critic for the supplement of newspaper ABC Cultural. He has written regularly in cultural supplement of newspapers such as El PaísDiario16El IndependienteEl Sol, and El Mundo, among others; and magazines such as Descubrir el Arte and Revista de Occidente. Director of the magazine Cuadernos del IVAM and member of the editorial board of Pasajes. He has been member of the Museo Reina Sofía Board of Trustees and he is member of the Museum’s Acquisitions Committee. He has curated a number of exhibitions such as the Chile Triennial, the Curitiba Biennial or the Chile Pavilion at the Venice Biennial 2011. He has curated solo exhibitions of Anselm Kiefer, Tony Cragg, David Nash, Nacho Criado, Fernando Sinaga or Antón Lamazares

As an editor and translator, he has been in charge of publications such as Walter Benjamin work. He is author, among others, of the following publications: Elogio de la pereza. Notas para una estética del cansancio (Julio Ollero, 1992), Escaramuzas. El arte en el tiempo de la demolición (CendeaC, 2003), Sainetes y otros desafueros del arte contemporáneo (CendeaC, 2007), Una “verdad” pública. Consideraciones sobre el arte contemporáneo (Documenta, 2010) or Contra el bienalismo. Crónicas fragmentarias del extraño mapa actual (Akal, 2012).