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Seminar The Spanish Night

   - Madrid, 24 >> 25 November 2006
   - Sevilla, 27 >> 30 November 2006
   - MNCARS, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía [c/ Santa Isabel 52, 28012 Madrid]
   - Universidad Internacional de Andalucía [c/ Américo Vespucio 2, Isla de la Cartuja, 41092, Seville]

The Spanish Night is a symposium that has been organised in collaboration with the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía-UNIA arteypensamiento and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the aim being to hold an exposition with the same name in MNCARS in 2007.




In 1991 art historian Ángel González García published an article entitled The Spanish Night- considerations on the role of "Spanish" representations -flamenco, bulls, Holy Week, and even the Spanish Civil War - in modern and vanguard European Art. Few attempts have yet been made to shed light on the questions posed in those reflections. Elements of flamenco - a cultural ecosystem that ranges from traditional style flamenco singing to bulls, and from the picturesque to gypsy love - have been the object of extraordinary ongoing interest, at least until 1945, which makes this critical vacuum a source of surprise. Only in recent years have expositions about the influence of Spanish art on end-of-century international art, begun to fill the vacuum. This is surprising given the role flamenco plays in the make-up and development of what is modern, particularly in the Spanish context, both in art and in the construction of a new identity; and the role that the representations of flamenco play in the various crises in European artistic modernity, consult: Manet, realism, art nouveau, Picasso, classicism, rappel à l'ordre, Picabia, orphism, dada, surrealism, Bataille, etc.

The objective of these conferences is to re-focus deserved attention on the subject in the aftermath of the seminar Flamenco: Popular Modern Art held in 2004 under the direction of José Luis Ortiz Nuevo and Pedro G. Romero. The objective of the new seminars is to approach the subject from a double perspective. Firstly, the Madrid symposium will examine the meaning the representation of 'modern' in modern and vanguard painting, referring to specific studies and opening a wide range of questions on the origins - sometimes chance origins - of the representations of flamenco. Secondly, the event in Seville will offer flamenco a voice. It will concentrate on the viewpoint of flamenco culture, which has so far been treated as a subordinate culture, emphasizing a non-hierarchical, educated and popular view, as has been the case historically.

We shall search for the point of convergence between these two approximations, a space that instead of hiding antagonism or non-agreement shall put the paradoxical meeting between flamencos and modernists on public view. In 2007 the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía will present the exposition The Spanish Night. Flamenco, Vanguards and Popular Culture 1864-1939: an unprecedented rapprochement between shared stances, and the main pretext for organising these seminars.

We also believe that this convergence of opinions may help us develop our understanding of flamenco song, sound and dance. General opinion holds that flamenco is an art, and in accordance with the rules of art we simply need to examine the origins, evolution and current status of flamenco in order to update the aesthetic considerations of flamenco art. Ortiz Nuevo stated that, like the railways, aesthetics is a science that rapidly advances.

The ideas discussed above should identify the framework of the territory in which to work, or at least, the coordinates of a map with which to define the contours of this territory. That is, to identify and present the amalgamation of characteristics of flamenco in modern art: painting, sculpture, photography, cinema, decorative and industrial art, etc. They shall reflect the knowledge that extends and complements other efforts to identify the various characteristics that constitute expressions of flamenco art, both the representations of flamenco within the culture of vanguards, and the subsequent effect that those representations had on flamenco.

For example, one work that is paradoxical as regards modernity is Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli by Ronald Firbank. It is the culmination of modernist decadence and vanguard experimentation, of queer narrative and catholic conservatism, of modern objectivism and post-modern subjectivity - making flamenco an amalgamation, an amniotic fluid that facilitates a strange combination of primitivism, vanguard and tradition.

The seminars shall present a final image that definitively places flamenco among the modern arts with which it has coexisted over time. They shall present another, more singular image of flamenco, which compares the crises and critiques of modern movements with flamenco's exemplary paradoxical role. In addition, flamenco fixes on a vision that is different, approachable, democratic, open, a clear path by which to approach a wider public that has also been the aesthetic experience of art and the modern vanguard movement. In conclusion, these seminars shall act as a double exercise that both widen the conception we have of modern art and what happens in flamenco.



Friday, 24 November 2006

· 10:00 h. Presentation by Ana Martínez de Aguilar, Director of MNCARS
· 10:30 h. Sjeng Scheijen: Carmen in Russian. The Russian Perception of Spanish Culture in Fin de Siècle and Avant-garde Art
· 11:30 h. Ulla Magar: From Ballroom Carnival to Avant-garde Ideology - Dance in Early 20th Century Art
· 13:00 h. Jody Blake: Goncharova's Spanish Dancers


· 17:00 h. Miguel Ángel García: Fantastic Fantasies
· 18:00 h. Julio Pérez Perucha: Resolving a Predicament
· 19:30 h. Round table discussion moderated by Patricia Molins and Pedro G. Romero

Saturday, 25 November 2006

· 10:00 h. Jo Labanyi: The American Connection: Sargent and Sorolla
· 10:30 h. Javier Pérez Rojas: Flamenco Images in Plastic Arts in Spain (1910-1930)
· 12:30 h. Gerhard Steingress: Flamenco: The Two Sides of an Exploited Art


· 17:00 h. Eugenio Carmona: The New and the Castilian. Reflections on the Spanish Reaction to the First Vanguards
· 18:00 h. Round table discussion with Ángel González García and the other participants in the symposium

* Attendance subject to registration. For more information contact the Education Department of MNCARS. Telephone: 91 77 41 00. e-mail: Esta dirección de correo electrónico está protegida contra los robots de spam, necesita tener Javascript activado para poder verla


Monday, 27 November 2006

· 19:00 h. Georges Didi-Huberman: Land and Shock

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

· 17:30 h. Adolfo Jiménez: Flamenco as a Symptom (a flamenco interpretation)
· 19:00 h. Eloy Martín: Approximation of the Image of Andalusia and the Andalusians in Catalonia, 1792-1936
· 20:30 h. William Washabaugh: Astonishing Films: from "Maria of the O" to "Spirit and Mystery of Flamenco"

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

· 17:30 h. José Luis Ortiz Nuevo: Words, Images, Fantasies, Dreams. From the Death of Silverio, 1889, to the Advent of Bewitching Love, 1915
· 19:00 h. José Manuel GamboaFlamencomaton: A Visual History of Flamenco
· 20:30 h. Jorge De Persia: Falla and Picasso: a Transformation of "Spanish"

Thursday, 30 November 2006

· 17:30 h. Susana Asensio: Trans-national Flamenco: Reinvention and Vanguards on the New York Scene
· 19:00 h. Rocío Plaza Orellana: Dance, Company and Performance. Stories of Understandings and Misunderstandings in European Theatre
· 20:30 h. Génesis García: Flamenco Woman: Symbol of Wickedness

Round table discussion moderated by Patricia Molins and Pedro G. Romero at the end of each day

[All sessions will be open to the public]




Susana Asensio, holds a doctorate from the University of Barcelona in Anthropology of Music. She has examined traditional and trans-cultural music and the political dimensions of cultural expression.

Jody Blake, curator of the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas.

Eugenio Carmona, head of the Art History department at the University of Malaga.

Jorge De Persia, musicologist. Music critic for La Vanguardia newspaper. Author of such books as Xavier Benguerel, Búsqueda e intuición and En torno a lo "español" en la música del SXX.

Georges Didi-Huberman, philosopher and art historian. Lecturer at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales de Paris.

José Manuel Gamboa, writer, critic and flamenco producer. Author of Una historia del flamenco y de Perico el del Lunar; un flamenco de antología.

Génesis García, doctor of Romanesque Philology. Director of the flamenco collection of the publishing house Almuzara. Author of Cante flamenco, cante minero: una interpretación socio-cultural.

Miguel Ángel García Hernández, part-time Art History lecturer at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid.

Ángel González García, Art History lecturer at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid.

Adolfo Jiménez, doctor-psychiatrist. Psychoanalyst. Member of the Escuela Lacaniana de Psicoanálisis (AME).

Jo Labanyi, head of the Spanish Culture department at New York University.

Ulla Magar, art historian, Munich.

Eloy Martín, Modern History lecturer at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

José Luis Ortiz Nuevo, flamenco, poet, founder of the Seville Flamenco Biennial. Director of the Biennial "Malaga in Flamenco 07".

Julio Pérez Perucha, cinema historian, Madrid.

Javier Pérez Rojas, head of the Art History department at the University of Valencia.

Rocío Plaza Orellana, Set design lecturer at the Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático de Sevilla. Author of books such as Bailes de Andalucía en Londres y París (1830-1850).

Sjeng Scheijen, art historian and exhibition organiser, Amsterdam.

Gerhard Steingress, Sociology lecturer at the University of Seville.

William Washabaugh, Anthropology lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Author of Flamenco: Passion, Politics, and Popular Culture.