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Serie Negra

Equipo Cronica (Rafael Solbés & Manuel Valdés Blanco)

Valencia. Galeria Val i30 en Colaboracion con Juana Mordó. 1972
The extraordinary, scarce Pop artist book by the influential Spanish art collective 'Equipo Crónica'.

Issued in the form of a film storyboard - even the cover reproduces the blue folder of a storyboard or screenplay - 'Seria Negra' is a monochromatic screenprint composition of individual frames printed in a lush chocolate and cream. 'Equipo Crónica', the collective that produced the book, were a Pop-influenced duo of Manolo Blasco Valdés and Rafael Solbes (a third member had departed in 1967) founded in Valencia in 1964. Early exhibitions with Clavé, Saura, Tàpies and others prompted Valdés and Solbes to form first 'Estampa Popular', a broader, looser grouping with shared artistic aims and then the smaller, more focussed 'Equipo Crónica'.

'Equipo Crónica' despite its use of seemingly bland and decontextualised American-influenced Pop imagery was always subversive, but artists had to be subtle in Franco's Spain and the collective's oeuvre was rarely overtly so. The present artist book with its 1930s /1940s film noir imagery of gangsters, shakedowns, molls and gangland hits, all against bizarre found backgrounds (Lichtenstein's work seems to feature heavily) is disorientating but highly original.

Monochrome paintings with added colour and large screenprints of some of the images were also issued and each of these feature a large multi-coloured vignette not present in the book versions.

'The Spanish artist's group Equipo Crónica chronicled social and political concerns through a satirical art. While their themes referred to Spain's government and institutions, and to its great - but stifling - artistic past, the group also took aim at American imperialism and military might.' (Weitman / Wye pg. 115).

OCLC reports copies at MoMA and the Fairleigh Dickinson Library only; we can trace no further copies.

[see Wye & Weitman's 'eye on europe: prints, books & multiples / 1960 to now', MoMA, 2006;
[Single folded sheet]. Small 4to. (210 x 228 mm). A single sheet pasted into the wrapper at both ends with screenprint recto only and folded to form 20 pages, the pages featuring 14 numbered silkscreen compositions conceived either as single pages or double-page spreads, final verso with details of the compositions, reproductions of the authors' / artists' photographs (with eyes blacked out), their fingerprints, signatures and other details; sheet size: c.200 x 4,444 mm. Pasted as issued into original publisher's blue portfolio with elastic fastening, white screenprint label with title to front cover with additional details in black.

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