The exhibition Pablo Serrano, portrayed portraitist, raises a double glance around the sculptor of Crivillén, taking the genre of the portrait as the central axis from which the sculptor is observed, but also the man. The exhibition has been curated from the center with its own funds and the loan of three pieces belonging to private collections: the Interpretation of the Portrait of José Camón Aznar, from the Fundación Ibercaja; a photographic portrait of Pablo Serrano loaned by the Alberto Schommer Foundation and a self-portrait of Pablo Serrano, from the Serrano Spadoni collection.
The exhibition begins by introducing us to the artistic and personal life of Pablo Serrano portrait painter. Throughout the glazed gallery (floor 01), there are a total of 18 portraits, belonging to one of his most personal series and the only one he worked on throughout his career: Portrait Interpretations. Famous personalities at national and international level: the main scientists, businessmen and intellectuals who occupied the cultural context of the second half of the 20th century and who influenced the sculptor’s professional, artistic and personal projection.
Pablo Serrano Aguilar, (8 March 1908, Crivillén, Teruel – 26 November 1985, Madrid) was a Spanish abstract sculptor. He is considered one of the most important Spanish artists of the 20th century.
He studied sculpture first in Zaragoza and then in Barcelona, until his departure in 1929, to Argentina. Between this country and the city of Montevideo (Uruguay) he will spend 25 years making sculptures, among which we can highlight his series Los toros, achieving a purity of forms comparable to that of Constantin Brancusi. In this period he began his friendship with the artists Lucio Fontana and Joaquín Torres García knowing first-hand the European avant-gardes.
In the years 1944, 1951 and 1954 he obtained the First National Prize of the Fine Arts Salon of Montevideo, being already the most recognized sculptor in Uruguay and a benchmark in South America, where currently public sculptures of Serrano can be seen in countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Puerto Rico or Mexico. He returned to Spain just after obtaining the Grand Prize at the 1955 Montevideo Biennial, obtaining the same year the Sculpture Grand Prize at the Hispano-American Biennial in Barcelona. He founded the Grupo El Paso in 1957 with artists such as Antonio Saura, Manolo Millares, Rafael Canogar orJeanne French. El Paso becomes the avant-garde movement that introduces abstract art to the peninsula, revitalizing the postwar Spanish art world.
Create numerous sculptures. In 1957 he exhibited individually at the Ateneo de Madrid expressionist works Interpretations to the portrait in which he masterfully captured what Serrano himself called “metaphysical face” and abstract found Irons and soldiers reinventing the tradition of forging that Julio González started. Later he begins his series Burning the object using fire as destruction and at the same time creation of a new order; These innovative and radical experiences on empty volume in relation to Martin Heidegger’s theories will be carried out in cities such as Milan, Berlin or at MoMA.from New York. Also highly valued by critics are Rhythms in Space, mobile sculptures that gravitate with great elegance, almost completely devoid of volume. He exhibits in the main museums in Europe and America, becoming one of the most influential artists of the second half of the 20th century.
His consolidated fame allows him to be selected to participate in the New Spanish Painting and Sculpture exhibition, with a two-year itinerary between the MoMA in New York, and other North American museums such as the one in Washington, Chicago or New Hampshire. In 1961 he received the Julio González Prize at the Barcelona May Salon and a year later he presented 23 works under the title Vaults for Man in the Spanish Pavilion of the XXXI Venice Biennale, achieving great critical success. In 1964 he made the series Los fajaditos, beings gagged and annulled, a metaphor in response to the Francoist campaign of 25 years of Paz and related to the Artifacts of his friend Manolo Millares.
He exhibited his Men with a Door in 1967 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. In 1973 the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art, now the National Museum of the Reina Sofía Art Center, dedicated an anthological exhibition to him, and in the same year Pablo Serrano exhibited at the National Museum of Modern Art of the Villa de Paris, the city in which he owned a study that previously had belonged to the also sculptor Alberto Giacometti. At the end of that year, he participated in the First International Sculpture Exhibition on Calle de Santa Cruz de Tenerife with the work Homage to the Canary Islands.
In September 1975 he exhibited at Sala Gaudí Barcelona, who placed his work on the famous Ramblas in Barcelona, and who today, renowned Gaudifond Arte, owns part of his work. He xhibited his series El pan at the Darthea Speyer Gallery in Paris in 1979, the same year in which Joaquín Soler Serrano interviewed him in his program A fondo on TVE. A year later an anthological exhibition is dedicated to him at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon in which Serrano performs a happeningwith a Burning of the night object. In 1982 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts for the universal significance of his work. That same year he exhibited in Moscow and in the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad, being the only Spanish artist to whom a solo exhibition has been dedicated in that museum so far.
In the months of September, October and November of the year 1985, he exhibited his series Divertimentos con Picasso, the guitar and cubism at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. He died in Madrid, ceding part of his works to the Pablo Serrano Museum in Zaragoza, which is responsible for investigating, exhibiting and disseminating the artist’s legacy. His heirs Pablo B. Serrano (son) and Valeria Serrano Spadoni (granddaughter) confirm this donation. After his death, interest in his figure increases and innumerable exhibitions of his work continue to take place in cities such as Strasbourg, Rome, Buenos Aires, Brasilia, Santiago de Chile, Rabat, Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona… At the same time, the catalog is being prepared reasoned of his sculptural work that is scheduled for publication in 2014.
His works are owned by the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MoMA), the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Villa de Paris, the Foundation Gulbenkian in Lisbon, the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp, the Gaudifond Art collection, the Vatican Museums, the National Museum Reina Sofía Art Center, etc.
Exhibition (1st floor and 2nd floor)
The first part is (Pl 01), therefore, dedicated to the modeling of some of the contemporaries that the sculptor redefined in the privacy of his workshop from the reinterpretation. By examining them, the portraits themselves are able to tell us how Pablo Serrano observed, learned and materialized with plaster, not only the physical presence of the portrayed, but his “metaphysical face”, as the artist himself stated.
I have always been interested in the interpretation of the portrait. Because in every man there is a physical and a metaphysical face. I am interested in every human being in this, its two spaces: those that live and inhabit. I watch him. I learn it. When I already know him, I interpret him. I no longer need his physical presence. Rather, it hinders me.
The second part of the exhibition (Entreplanta 01) is framed under the title, Pablo Serrano portrayed, which outlines the artist’s initiative to project his public image after the first successes generated upon his arrival in Spain and his increasingly notable presence in the publications of the time and interviews. This exhibition tour reveals to the visitor, through photography, how they were seen and immortalized in reports commissioned by Serrano himself, some of the most important photographers of the time: Juan Dolcet, Nicolás Müller, Núñez Larraz, Ibáñez or Henry Ries, but also artistic creation projects, as is the case of Alberto Schommer.
All these images are a testimony of Serrano’s relationship with her work in different settings, which not only show the professional dimension, but also the most human one through her life in common with the artist Juana Francés. Starting from the photographic creation of the time, a very heterogeneous repertoire of scenes is presented that recall the figure of artist Pablo Serrano and make up a photographic set with artistic value and documentary interest.
The exhibition closes alluding to Pablo Serrano self-portrait. From a selection of self-portraits, the visitor is asked how Pablo Serrano looked at himself and we discovered some curiosities such as that Serrano himself felt physically and intellectually identified with the figure of Unamuno.
In 2017, the Aragonese Institute of Contemporary Art and Culture (IAACC) renewed the permanent exhibition of the sculptor Pablo Serrano. The museum incorporated new works into the permanent exhibition and rearranged the exhibition discourse highlighting the creator’s most outstanding series with the aim of offering a more global vision of his entire career.
The permanent exhibition presents the artistic evolution of Serrano’s work since his return to Spain in the mid-1950s. It begins with figurative works or the Portrait of Joseph Howard, to continue with works from his series Irons, passing through the series Burning of the object and Drama of the object, Rhythms in space,Men with doors, Units Yunta and the Amusements with Picasso, the guitar and cubism; all of them arranged chronologically.
One of the fundamental series of the 1960s is Vaults for Man, concave and irregular grotto-like structures, of which 23 were presented at the XXXI Venice International Biennial Exhibition in 1962. This series represents the definitive commitment that the sculptor felt with man and his existence: the vault as protection of the individual and conceived as the maternal womb, which protects us from the outside world.
Pablo Serrano’s work never stopped evolving throughout his artistic career, since his intention always revolved around the reflection of the idea, the object and the creative process. Sculpture and drawing embodied his philosophy of life, always expressing his concerns for the individual, using sculpture as a constant transmitter of ideas through which to achieve communication and show emotions.
Pablo Serrano Museum
The Aragonese Institute of Contemporary Art and Culture (IAACC), popularly known as the Pablo Serrano Museum, is a center dedicated to modern and current art, which has as its founding repertoire a large collection of works by the Aragonese sculptor Pablo Serrano (1908 – 1985). In addition, thanks to the private collection Circa XX (attached in 2013) it has examples of Spanish and foreign artists from all over the 20th century, from Emil Nolde, Pablo Picasso and Calder to Warhol, Jean Tinguely andAnthony Caro.
It is located on Paseo María Agustín, 20 in Zaragoza, Spain. The museum is located in the old craft workshops of the provincial hospice, known as Hogar Pignatelli, which were rehabilitated by the Aragonese architect José Manuel Pérez Latorre to adapt them to their new museum function.
The need to increase the spaces of the IAACC Pablo Serrano, for the conservation of its collections and the organization of exhibitions and other activities, promoted the expansion of the building in 2005. The architectural project was drafted by José Manuel Pérez Latorre and in 2007 the works were awarded construction to Obrascón Huarte Laín. The expansion tripled the useful space, which went from 2,500 m² to more than 7,000 m² today, of which 3,000 m² is for exhibition spaces. On March 23, 2011, the new Museum inaugurated as the Aragonese Institute of Contemporary Art is inaugurated.
Inside, a wide sample of Pablo Serrano’s work is exhibited to the public. Informal sculptures from the 1950s stand out in the permanent exhibition of his work. The museum also has an important set of works by Pablo Serrano’s wife, Juana Francés, as well as a collection of contemporary graphic art and a selection of recently added painting by Santiago Lagunas.