In 1981, an exhibition titled A New Spirit in Painting was presented at the Royal Academy in London. It sought to revalue the role of painting in an era where the focus of attention was more practical, linked to postmodern movements such as conceptual art, installation, performance, and video art. Under the premise that pictorial production had been left in the shadow of those new practices, and that it deserved to be recognized, Rosenthal, Serota, and Joachimides, curators of the exhibition, selected the work of thirty-eight artists, among whom were Francis Bacon, Matta, Balthus, Willem de Kooning, Lucian Freud, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, and Frank Stella. This exhibition, in essence, was an early response to the new artistic currents that were emerging in painting and sculpture, and widely expressed the feeling that there was a return to these expressions.
It is under this context that Spirit Painting is born. Spirit Painting is composed of different approaches to contemporary painting from the perspective of thirteen artists: Nina Beier, José León Cerrillo, Simon Fujiwara, Nathan Hylden, Christian Jankowski, Marie Lund, Benoît Maire, Elsa-Louise Manceaux, Diego Salvador Rios, Eduardo Sarabia, Alejandro Romero, SANGREE, and Ariel Schlesinger, with the aim of rethinking painting and visualizing the paths towards which it is directed.
This exhibition does not intend to distance the pictorial exercise from the conceptual but seeks to highlight convergences between painting and riskier artistic practices, such as experimentation with materials, the use of alternative processes, and the creation of conceptual discourses. Spirit Painting give us a glimpse of how painting pursues unusual paths, using new methods, materials, and discourses. With this, the painting as an artistic expression resists and adapts to contemporaneity to claim its place within the current art scene.