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23 julio 2024

Creative Horizons: modern and contemporary art at the IAACC Pablo Serrano

The Instituto Aragonés de Arte y Cultura Contemporáneos (IAACC) Pablo Serrano in Zaragoza is a space dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of modern and contemporary art. The museum houses an extensive collection of works by the Aragonese sculptor Pablo Serrano, considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century, as well as works by other national and international artists.

Pablo Serrano’s works can be seen in emblematic spaces in Zaragoza, such as on the façade of the Basílica del Pilar, with the limestone relief “The Coming of the Virgin”, or on the façade of Zaragoza City Hall, with the sculptures of San Valero and the Guardian Angel.

Historical and artistic context of Pablo Serrano

Pablo Serrano was born in 1908 in Crivillén, Teruel, Spain. He began his artistic training in Zaragoza and then continued it at the School of Arts and Crafts and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Barcelona. At the age of 20 he emigrated to Montevideo, Uruguay, where he lived and worked for 25 years. There he produced figurative sculptures in an expressionist style, receiving great recognition and prestige. On his return to Spain in 1955, he joined the ‘El Paso’ group, an avant-garde movement that introduced abstract art to the peninsula. His work became more abstract and experimental, using materials such as iron. From the 1960s onwards, his work achieved international recognition, being exhibited in important museums in Europe and America. He received numerous awards, including the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 1982. He died in Madrid in 1985, leaving behind an artistic legacy of great value. Pablo Serrano contributed significantly to the development of abstract art in Spain and the world.

 

 

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Una publicación compartida de Go Aragón (@go.aragon)

History of the Museum

The IAACC Pablo Serrano was inaugurated in 1994, in the carpentry workshops of the former Hogar Pignatelli. Located at number 20 Paseo María Agustín in Zaragoza, it was refurbished by the architect José Manuel Pérez Latorre, who succeeded in creating a modern and functional space that respected the original structure of the building. On the ground floor of the museum, visitors can find a space dedicated to explaining the museum’s architecture.

The museum’s collection is made up of more than 300 works by Pablo Serrano, including sculptures, drawings, engravings and paintings. It also includes works by other renowned international artists such as Antoni Tàpies, Joan Miró, Eduardo Chillida and Jorge Oteiza.

The IAACC Pablo Serrano offers a wide range of educational and cultural activities, such as guided tours, workshops, conferences and concerts. The museum also has a library specialising in modern and contemporary art where books can be consulted or rented.

The IAACC Pablo Serrano building

Initially built in the early 20th century as the workshops of the Provincial Orphanage, the museum was inaugurated in 1994, ten years after Serrano’s death. The architecture of this museum is a testimony to the evolution and adaptation of a historic building to house contemporary art.

The building is characterised by its Aragonese industrial architecture, with a sober and functional façade, open-plan floors and a structure of iron pillars and beams. The refurbishment carried out between 1987 and 1993, under the direction of the architect José Manuel Pérez Latorre, aimed to adapt the building to its new function as a museum, preserving its original architecture and creating diaphanous and flexible spaces. The final result, after an extension between 2008 and 2011, is an architectural complex that fuses the industrial aesthetics of the last century with modernity, offering versatile spaces for the exhibition of contemporary art. There is a room dedicated to explaining the museum’s architecture on the ground floor of the museum.

A collection of iron, bronze and concrete


The permanent collection of the IAACC Pablo Serrano is made up of more than 1,500 works by Pablo Serrano, including sculptures, drawings, engravings and paintings. It also includes works by other artists such as Antoni Tàpies, Joan Miró, Eduardo Chillida and Jorge Oteiza.

The permanent exhibition offers a comprehensive overview of Pablo Serrano’s artistic career, from his figurative works to his most emblematic series, such as the Bóvedas para el Hombre (Vaults for Man). The latter series, presented at the Venice Biennale in 1962, symbolises the sculptor’s commitment to the protection and refuge of the individual in a complex world.

Throughout his career, Serrano constantly explored new forms of expression, using sculpture as a means of communicating ideas and emotions. His legacy lives on in this exhibition, where his works continue to inspire and captivate generations of viewers, keeping alive his unwavering passion for art and reflection on the human condition. Serrano was an innovative artist who experimented with different techniques and materials. In his works, he used iron, bronze, concrete, wood and other materials. He also employed techniques such as welding, casting and modelling.

Featured Series

Vaults for Man:

A seminal series of the 1960s, the “Vaults for Man” feature concave, irregular structures that symbolise the protection of the individual. A total of 23 of these works were exhibited at the 1962 Venice Biennale, highlighting the relevance and influence of this series on the international art scene.

Burning of the Object and Drama of the Object:

These series explore the destruction and transformation of the object as a metaphor for human existence. Through manipulation and experimentation, Pablo Serrano creates works that evoke a sense of drama and change, inviting reflection on the ephemeral nature of life.

Rhythms in Space:

The “Rhythms in Space” series is characterised by the fluidity and dynamism of the forms, creating a sense of movement in the work. Pablo Serrano plays with composition and geometry to convey a palpable energy that invites the viewer to immerse themselves in a unique visual journey.

Men with Door:

Representing the duality of the human being, the “Men with Door” series presents human figures next to a door that symbolises the opening to the outside world. These works explore themes of identity, freedom and the search for new horizons, inviting reflection on the meaning of human existence.

Yunta Units:

The series “Yunta Units” explores the idea of togetherness and collaboration between human beings. Through the representation of intertwined and fused figures, Pablo Serrano creates works that celebrate the strength and potential of teamwork and solidarity.

Divertimentos with Picasso, the Guitar and Cubism:

This series pays homage to the artist Pablo Picasso and the Cubist movement, exploring the master’s influence and legacy on Pablo Serrano’s work. Through a personal and playful reinterpretation, the artist presents a series of works that reflect his admiration for Picasso and his exploration of the visual language of Cubism.

The Aragon and the Arts Project

The Aragon and the Arts Project is an initiative of the IAACC Pablo Serrano that seeks to highlight the evolution of art in Aragon from 1940 to the end of the 20th century. Divided into four phases, this project focuses on temporary exhibitions covering specific periods. The current exhibition, focusing on the period from 1957 to 1975, highlights the contributions of Aragonese artists in the midst of social changes and artistic transformations. From the impetus of the El Paso group to local artistic activity, the exhibition addresses a variety of themes and artistic movements. In addition to the exhibitions, the project includes complementary actions such as research, acquisition of works, collection of documents and restoration. It also highlights the importance of photography and film, which experienced a resurgence during this period, with artists and filmmakers such as Joaquín Gil Marraco, Luis Buñuel and Carlos Saura making their mark on the Aragonese art scene.

Activities at the IAACC Pablo Serrano

The IAACC Pablo Serrano offers a wide range of cultural and educational activities for all audiences. There are guided tours for the general public, educational centres and special groups. In addition, the museum organises practical workshops where participants have the opportunity to experiment and create art inspired by the works of Pablo Serrano. Some of the works created by children during workshops can be seen in the museum.

Many visits are offered. For example, there are dramatised visits with actors. These visits offer a unique experience where actors play relevant characters, such as Juana Francés and Pablo Serrano, to explain the works from their points of view. This theatrical and experiential approach can provide a deeper and more emotional understanding of the art and the lives of the artists.

A comprehensive experience

The IAACC Pablo Serrano offers a comprehensive visitor experience. The museum has a modern and accessible space, a quality cultural programme and a professional team ready to attend to the needs of the public.

A cultural space of great importance for the city of Zaragoza and the rest of Spain, it houses one of the most complete collections of works by Pablo Serrano, one of the most important Spanish artists of the 20th century. In addition, the museum offers a programme of high quality temporary exhibitions and a wide range of educational and cultural activities.

Read the interview with Julio Ramón, director of the IAACC Pablo Serrano. Julio Ramón: “The aim of the IAACC is being achieved, to show contemporary art in its context”.

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