Castles in the Air

German artist Hans Haacke poses next to his artwork entitled Helmsboro Country, on the opening day of his retrospective exhibition, 'Castles in the Air', at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, Spain. Hans Haacke (Cologne, 1936) is considered a pioneer of what has come to be known as institutional critique, a branch of conceptual art that emerged at the end of the 1960s. He received his training and resides in the United States. His art moves from pure conceptualism at the beginning of his career towards a more critical discourse in later years. Haacke's pieces question the mechanisms and functions of cultural, political and economic institutions, which serve as active tools in the construction and transmission of identitary and ideological values that bolster the discourse and the expansion of globalisation. He constructs systems of relations using literal elements taken from daily life, the critical meanings of which become apparent upon the symbolic collision that occurs when they are juxtaposed. The underlying intention is to reveal, more than to denounce, the relationship that exists between art and social behavior. Castles in the Air is on view at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid until July 23, 2012 Santa Isabel, 52 28012