Mayoral presents the exhibition “Surrealist Women” in Barcelona until the 1rst of April. The show includes: video, documentation and twenty works by eight surrealist women: Valentine Hugo, Maruja Mallo, Lee Miller, Frida Kahlo, Dora Maar, Remedios Varo, Ángeles Santos and Leonora Carrington. This project, exhibited for the first time in Spain, is curated by art historian and art critic Victoria Combalía.
In this artistic proposal some unpublished pieces stand out, such as Frida Kahlo’s Self-portrait as Genitals (1944), or five works by Valentine Hugo, liker her print Portrait of Picasso, and the Cadavre exquis by Valentine Hugo with André Breton and Greta Knutson.
Jordi Mayoral, director of the gallery, explains why this project has been
carried out: “We thought that showing a selection of their creations was
not only timely, but also an act of justice and artistic recognition. Our goals
are to offer an exhibition of some of their works and to stimulate reflection
on these women artists. We want to understand how, and in what ways,
they keep on questioning our young creators and our society today; we
want to recover them and their artwork, because they reveal a great story
of innovation and creation.”
The curator, Victoria Combalía, points out: “When the gallery asked me to
prepare an exhibition of surrealist women artists connected to Catalonia,
I thought it would be difficult, but also a great challenge. Some of these
pieces have never been seen in the Spanish State before, like those of Valentine
Hugo and Frida Kahlo. The selection of artists has been made according
to whether they had Catalan origin, exhibited or travelled around
Catalan territory, or had a romantic liaison with a Catalan, as in the case of
Frida Kahlo’s passion for Catalan artist Josep Bartolí.”
Victoria Combalía Dexeus was born in 1952 in Barcelona.
She received her BA in Art History from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Her dissertation, finished in 1974, became a little book, an essential point
of reference today: La poética de lo neutro. Análisis y crítica del arte conceptual
(The Poetics of the Neutral: An Analysis and Critique of Conceptual Art), published
by Anagrama in 1975, and re-edited by De Bolsillo in 2005.
In 1975 she went to Paris to study at, in the École Pratique de Hautes Études,
where she was a student of Tzvetan Todorov and Julia Kristeva, and attended
lectures by Michel Foucault.
From 1974 to 2013, she taught Contemporary Art at the University of Barcelona,
and retired as a professor in October 2013.
From 1979 to 1981, Victoria Combalía was a visiting scholar at the Institute of Fine
Arts, New York University, where she worked on her doctoral dissertation, which
was about Gustave Courbet and modernity, and bore the title: “Gustave Courbet:
A Research into the Genesis and Influence of His Art.”.
From 1983 to 1996 she was Head Critic for the Arts Section of the newspaper
El País. And from 1996 to 2009 she collaborated monthly on the op-ed page.
Together with Alícia Suárez and Mercè Vidal, she founded the magazine
ARTILUGI (1977-1982). And with Albert Ràfols Casamada, Maria Girona, Joan
Hernández Pijuan and Carles Hac Mor, she founded the art and poetry magazine
Victoria Combalía is a specialist in Dora Maar and Joan Miró.
She is a founder-member of the Catalan Association of Art Critics, and a member
of the Spanish Association of Art Critics and of AICA (International Association
of Art Critics).
In 2003 she was appointed Chevalière des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of
Culture of the French Republic.
On 5 May 2009, the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) awarded
her the President Macià Medal.