Magazine article Artforum International

Carlos Pazos: Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia

Magazine article Artforum International

Carlos Pazos: Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia

Article excerpt

The career of Carlos Pazos has always thrived on contradiction. A veteran Barcelona artist, he has long tried to distance himself from what his Catalan peers were doing. Although his name is widely known among artists, he is not well known to the public. Three years ago he was awarded the Premio Nacional de Artes Plasticas--the most important prize given by a Spanish institution--but little of his work is owned by museums.

Organized in conjunction with MACBA in Barcelona (its director, Manuel Borja-Villel, is the show's curator), "No me digas nada" (Don't Tell Me Anything), the enormous exhibition at the Reina Sofia, not only failed to clear up the ambiguities in Pazos's life and work, it actually heightened them: Three hundred works on display revealed the artist's desire above all to be in constant motion and to vary from the norm. The layout of this vast accumulation, including not only Pazos's own sculptures and installations but also objects from his private hoard, presented a scene quite unlike that usually found in museums. The motley and the kitsch faced off with the sober and the elegant; good taste stood side by side with bad.

The exhibition included rarely seen early pieces as well as Pazos's most famous work, "Voy a hacer de mi una estrella" (I Am Going to Make Myself into a Star), 1975. Made two years before Cindy Sherman began her "Untitled Film Stills," 1977-80, this series of twenty-one black-and-white photographs shows the artist incarnating various movie characters. At a time when Catalan art was primarily conceptual, with political overtones, Pazos turned to narcissism and simulation, foretelling the course of his work for the next five years, in which self-representation would be central. …

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