‘ilimit’ by Isidoro Varcárcel Medina at the Reina Sofía Museum
Isidoro Valcárcel Medina (Murcia, 1937) is a leading figure in Spanish conceptual art and winner of the 2007 National Prize for Plastic Arts. His work represents a committed attitude far removed from the commercial realm, and his pieces transcend typical exhibition spaces and contexts. Valcárcel has developed his work within a wide variety of formats—including films, sound and action pieces, architectural projects, etcetera—that reveal the multidisciplinary character of his work.
In particular, the artist has consistently used the book as a form of media to carry out further exploration, where the print edition is understood as an artistic practice itself. His work not only investigates the formal and material dimensions of the book, rather it goes beyond traditional ideas and limits to recognise its conceptual dimension as a vehicle for transmitting knowledge and ideas.
Many of these reflections are highlighted in Valcárcel Medina’s work ilimit, created in 2012 for Ivorypress. There, he explores the contrast between the concepts of ‘limited’ and ‘unlimited’, while also examining the terms ‘serialisation’ and ‘exclusivity’—recurrent in the world of art—on a deeper level. Consisting in an edition of nine copies, two artist’s proofs and 500 pages, each of ilimit’s volumes is unique, and each has been signed and numbered by the artist from page one to 4,500, volume after volume. In fact, the only content of these pages is their numbering, written in a total of fifty-eight different languages.
The commemoration of its anniversary has materialised in several exhibitions realised in collaboration with museums, libraries and international universities from countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and the United States.
For this particular exhibition, open until 10 June 2022, the nine volumes produced as part of Valcárcel Medina’s artistic and editorial project have been reunited and exhibited for the first time in a museum. Additionally, archival documentation that allows us to delve deeper into the proposal and the conceptual process developed by the artist will be exhibited, further giving shape to this unique and, at the same time, unlimited edition.