Bittersweet Generation | Juan Francisco Rueda

Bittersweet Generation | Juan Francisco Rueda

27/10 – 11/11/2022


“Bittersweet generation” is a group exhibition project, curated by Juan Francisco Rueda, which brings together some of the great names of a new generation of artists born between the 1980s and 1990s. Julio Anaya Cabanding, Ana Barriga, Imon Boy, Ela Fidalgo, Bel Fullana, Gala Knörr, Rafa Macarrón, Cristina de Miguel, Vanessa Morata, Adriana Oliver, Marria Pratts, Juan de la Rica, Miguel Scheroff, together with some of their main role models, such as Matías Sanchez, Javi Calleja and Edgar Plans, establish numerous connections, reflect the concerns of this generation and construct a multifaceted portrait of it.

It is undeniable that some of the painters between 25 and 35 years old share a stylistic “family resemblance” and a popular and globalized mindset. Aside from other developments in current-day painting, such as formulations around meta-painting, these artists tend toward a borderless iconography, sharing existential concerns which come under an imaginary which, in general, takes us to the digital world and the internet era. Figuration is an essential register, from an extreme degree of iconicity to the symbol. In the words of the curator, they share a way of being in the world: “It is essential to include the concepts ‘millennial generation’ and ‘generation Z’ in this narrative. […] their poetics is, to a greater degree than other artists from the same chronological period, the effect and illustration of issues of a social and aesthetic nature concerning their contemporaneity, defining these generational frameworks.”

The exhibition allows us to glimpse how the bittersweet takes the form of attractive, profoundly chromatic painting, apparently vitalistic, but enclosing unease and a great burden of uncertainty, being able to shape an epochal or sociological portrait, since many works can be considered as ironic social documents and allegories of this time. In many cases figuration introduces key debates, such as transhumanism, female empowerment, the projection and construction of identity and the individual-community relationship. Thus, it should be stressed how the representation of the body, especially the female body, takes on an indisputable importance in the works of Cristina de Miguel, Bel Fullana and Ela Fidalgo. Moreover, “Imon Boy, Knörr, Barriga, Morata and Oliver demonstrate tremendously personal figurations, with more or less candour but, in general, with an acidic and conflictive background, which refer to different issues”, indicated Juan Francisco Rueda, such as memes, the viralization of images, hedonism and social customs. Thus, while the piece by Vanessa Morata is closely linked to popular mythologies and to the cult of present-day art, representing profoundly pop domestic interiors with varied objects and artistic images, in the diptych by Adriana Oliver we find echoes of a pop figuration which triggers memory and experience, activating springs related to the family. Juan de la Rica incorporates the organicism of certain historical vanguards, and is exemplary of the enunciation of pop surrealism. Rafa Macarrón, who welcomes us with Playa (Beach), reveals a personal and non-transferable universe, crossed by an iconic imaginary, but outlined or summarized, in which fantasy and certain landscape echoes emerge. The symbol and the outline are also essential elements in the painting of Marria Pratts, who has been developing a hybridization between what is pictorial and other disciplines. The evocation of the sculptural emerges precisely in the pictorial work of Barriga, the sphere of a return journey for her. We can likewise find knowledge of and an encounter with the history of painting in the artwork of Julio Anaya Cabanding and Miguel Scheroff who, in addition to their mutual dialogue, offer rich and revealing glimpses of the icons of art.

Together with them there are role models, figures who already observed certain keys and solutions which the younger generation has accepted as essential. They are artists with an undeniable international importance and success, such as Edgar Plans, Javi Calleja and Matías Sanchez, who foresaw the landscape of present-day painting mapped out by the curator Juan Francisco Rueda.


Fundacion Carlos de Amberes
Claudio Coello, 99
28006 Madrid

Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturdays: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sundays and bank holidays: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.