Guggenheim Bilbao exhibition The Roaring Twenties
Bilbao entered the tourist routes “thanks to the demiurgic action of the ex-machina architects”, as an architect and critic Davide Galleri written in his book Tramonto della città global. Dal maxischermo alle metropoli del contagio (Sunset of the global city. From the big screen to the contagion metropolis). In fact, many people only know Bilbao for the iconic museum designed by Frank O. Gehry, often happy to take a tour of its exterior for the obligatory photographs.
However, this iconic container, and for those who don’t remember, hosts some exciting exhibitions. One of them is indisputable ‘The Roaring Twenties’, a cooperation between the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Kunsthaus Zürich and organized by Cathérine Hug and Petra Joos. Open in May, it can be visited until September 19, making it an ideal stopover for anyone traveling to northern Spain.
The title is intriguing and, from the roaring twenties of the last century, a truly extraordinary decade marked by the aftermath of the First World War and marked by a pandemic; it highlights interesting analogies with the current crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. A circumstance which nevertheless awakened the will to live and a strong desire for change.
Going back to the 1920s, it was not only a time when cities were developing at a rapid rate but, more importantly, a time when conventional social, role and family models were challenged and overturned. This spirit of innovation has been translated into art with experimental works that are still relevant in the cultural landscape. This is why “The Roaring Twenties” offers above all the opportunity to reflect on our current situation. Especially since, unlike many exhibitions devoted to the Roaring Twenties, this one brings together artistic movements such as Bauhaus, Dada, New Objectivity, and icons of design and architecture, emphasizing the formal diversity characteristic of these years of transformation.
Focusing on Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Zurich, the exhibition thus offers a comprehensive view of the creative techniques and disciplines used in painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, film, collage and design. The result is an exposure of approximately 300 works divided into seven narrative chapters, in which new figures appear alongside familiar names, while some of the contemporary artists on display, who explicitly refer to the formal language and themes of the 1920s in their work, make a connection to the present. There are many aspects that we find a hundred years later: today we also face an invisible enemy, not a world war but the climate crisis, and today as then, from 1918 to 1920, an influenza virus spread around the world, killing millions of people. And come to think of it, the common point between the two eras is the sense of reality shaped by an increasingly fragmented and accelerated world, which today, as then, can lead to discoveries of the greatest magnitude, for example, quantum physics in the early 20th century.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has launched a crowdfunding campaign to make interventions on one of his outdoor works: the famous green sculpture Puppy by Jeff Koons. After 24 years in the open, some components of the irrigation system must be replaced and part of the stainless steel structure that supports it. In short, #BringPuppyToLife is the opportunity to actively participate in the restoration of what is as much a work of art as a vertical garden.
Mostra: the roaring twenties
May 7 to September 19, 2021
parish priest of Catherine Hug and Petra Joos
Allestimento: Calixto Bieito, artistic director of the Arriaga Theater in Bilbao
Image: vedi leggende
Further information: https://www.uggenheim-bilbao.eus/
Sito crowdfunding: https://davidaapuppy.guggenheim-bilbao.eus/