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Photo: Miquel Coll

Action: a provisional history of the 90s

Jose Antonio Sarmiento

Exhibition, 2020


While in Europe the 1980s represented a return to order, to the demand for a certain formality in art and to the conventional formats of painting and sculpture widely accepted by the market, the 1990s revived a large part of the Conceptual experiences of the preceding decades, notably the sixties and seventies. In this way, practices related to the human body were recovered, which we jointly call action art. In Spain, this history has a particular relevance, with multiple initiatives that had an immense impact on art from then onwards. This art of action was frequently expressed in the form of performances – which usually occurred in very restricted or unconventional contexts such as festivals or gatherings – and their more heterogeneous expression that has come to be called performativity.