Post signals a time after; trans points us to the other side. The terms ‘posthumanism’ and ‘transhumanism’ are widely used at present. They may appear to be opposites but in fact they refer to same thing: an overcoming of the human condition as it has been conceived until now. This exhibition shifts between the generic in both prefixes against a backdrop of the human body and its identity, evoking a ‘post’ future while alluding to a breach of ‘trans’ limits. This is seen in the two-part video series Ofelia (2015) and in Sin título (Ciencia Ficción) (2007), two paintings executed on synthetic skins that evoke skins of human faces with no inner organs.
Marina Núñez’s work reveals a conceptual constant: her interest in the monstrous and in non-canonical characters, but it has also drawn on an array of artistic resources that have taken her from the oil paintings of her early career to more recent experimentation with advanced digital technology. This evolution has allowed her to discover technical resources that are more suited to expressing one of her mottos: “if the body mutates, identity mutates”; “if the body changes, subjectivity changes” too. This is why the substrate of her work has progressively altered to reflect her fascination for the literary genres of science fiction and terror, in particular Edgar Allan Poe, and the figure of the cyborg, a being that is neither totally human nor totally machine, or in other words, a “hybrid; impure, having no immutable essence”, echoing cyberfeminist writer Donna Harraway’s theories as expressed in Cyborg Manifesto (1985), an important point of reference in her work.
Marina Núñez’s artistic project looks to literature, essay, film and currently television series, but also to art history, although references to the latter are more veiled now. Behind the visual results obtained ostensibly from 3D technology we do find clear references to the Baroque, as in the case of Sin título (Monstruas) (2011), digital pictures showing female faces being blown off by a violent surge of wind, which are reminiscent of the thinly draped marble figure of Modesty in the Cappella Sansevero in Naples.
Eyeless faces contrast with the many pieces in which eyes are the absolute protagonist: eyes without faces that observe, that pursue, the viewer; that are transformed, the pupils subdividing into myriad pupils, as in Multiplicidad (2006); or are consumed, as the title of one of her videos, El fuego de la visión (2015), suggests.
After an exhibition at the Sala Alcalá31 in Madrid in 2015-2016, Marina Núñez made the following statement: “To integrate the ‘dark side’ allows us to intuit a more complete human being. Society hides monsters because they are scapegoats. Let’s embrace the messy, the unconscious and the pulsational”. To achieve this she proposes allowing “another subjectivity, another sensitivity, another experience, to arise from that which was discarded and buried until now, so that other, less rigid and brutal ways of being and living can emerge”.
Marcel Giró (Badalona, Spain, 1913-2011) sought exile in Brazil in the 1940s. Although
relatively unknown in Spain until now, he was a prominent exponent of the Brazilian
‘Escola Paulista’ and a member, along with German Lorca, Gaspar Gasparian and
Thomas Farkas, among others, of the Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante, a movement
founded in 1939 which, in the mid 40s, began to challenge pictorialism and inject a
modern aesthetic to Brazilian photography.
The exhibition includes unpublished prints from the pictorial 1930s that already betrayed
an interest in composition, a fundamental aspect that became a constant of
Giró’s later output.
In 1950, the photographers involved in the Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante began to
throw off the isolation that had surrounded Brazilian photography until then and assert
photography as an artistic expression in its own right, researching new frames, geometries
and interaction between light and dark. Thus was born the Escola Paulista,
as the critics of contemporary specialised publications called this new style of photography
emerging from the Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante. And thus was born modern
Brazilian photography. At the same time, a profound transformation of socio-cultural
thought and reality was taking place, reflecting the country’s attending urban and
industrial development and social and economic progress. All this was captured by
the Escola Paulista, as can be seen by its treatment of theme, composition, and its
experimentation in technique.
Thanks to the indomitable and avant-garde spirit of its exponents, the Escola Paulista
transformed the identity of Sao Paulo’s urban mapping, glimpsed in eccentric new
perspectives, which, forming compositions of lines, closed frames and chiaroscuro,
ushered in a fragmentary and ‘pastless’ city; in essence, a new Sao Paulo.
Marcel Giró shows up the ambiguities between figuration and abstraction. His photographs
confound perception by playing with the scale of the objects photographed
or emphasising certain graphic elements. With surprising formal unity, hard shadow
and cold geometry are juxtaposed with the greatest delicacy. Indeed, what enriches
Giró’s work is the ambiguity created by the interplay of figuration and abstraction.
For Giró, a member of an avant-garde movement, the search for new languages is
fundamental. He pursues a new aesthetic, employs a formal language that possesses
its own syntax, alters perspectives, takes the contrast between light and dark to the
limit, merging lines and textures to the point that his photographs seem to turn into
“paintings”, distorting reality in the process and converting it into an artistic object.
The quality and exceptional nature of Marcel Giró’s 30 x 40 cm vintage prints have
secured him a place in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, New
York), MASP (Museu de Arte de São Paulo), Itaú Cultural (São Paulo) and the Museu
Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC, Barcelona).
Habría querido hablar sin imágenes,
Sólo empujar la puerta…
Pero para lograrlo
Tengo miedo, incertidumbre, a veces piedad:
No se vive mucho tiempo como los pájaros
En la evidencia del cielo,
Y vuelto a caer a tierra,
No se ve ya en ellos precisamente sino imágenes O sueños.
“A la luz del invierno”,1977.
IRREPETIBLE es un proyecto de Mayte Vieta que nos invita a hacer un recorrido entre espacio y tiempo a través de la fotografía y la escultura. Un viaje hacia la nostalgia que nos conduce hacia el vacío, la ausencia y lo incompleto.
Entre lo íntimo y lo desconocido, la artista nos lleva a establecer un diálogo con la fragilidad humana, la vida y la muerte a través de un estudio de lenguajes y materiales que se reflejan en el enfrentamiento, la contemplación y la complejidad de los acontecimientos que nos vamos encontrando a lo largo del tiempo.
La artista reune en esta exposición una serie de piezas en las que ha ido trabajado durante los últimos años, con el objetivo de capturar instantes precisos para devolverlos ahora en esta muestra como un guiño del tiempo “Irrepetible”.
These latest assembled works titled MAGMA (S) / NUCLI (S) present in the AMORFA exhibition, have to be understood as a sequential mural, as if one were reading them through a magnifying glass…
Fragments which are enlarged, blown-up, misshapen, crumpled-up…
Fragmenting and grouping, tidying up Waste.
An objectual diary: the shock of rejected materials, select detritus emerged from gluing a series of Worlds: physical, earthly, seminal, kinetic, centripetal…
Likely this is a latest attempt to fix and place -at last- a personal language built from paroled materials which have congealed and turned into stone… while becoming FOSSILIZED ARTIFACTS.
Pep Duran, 2016
RESQUICIO / CLEFT
“All consciousness is a matter of threshold”.
Gilles Deleuze, The Fold
The word CLEFT conjures up a slender opening, and a trace – the trace left by a word that ploughs the consciousness and cuts the fleshy surface of the soul in furrows. Ploughing with words. The word plough.
There are words that invent worlds. Words that are not in the dictionary. Their absence disappoints the imaginary. Hence we dare to incorporate words into the dictionary. Words that find their way into our daily endeavours and end up bending concepts, expanding connotations, and necessitating explanatory footnotes. Language is alive and in constant transformation; it is malleable even in the early attempts to define new meanings. A warning: the word ‘dolitude’ is not in the dictionary; nor is ‘nebblosity’, ‘encyclosophy’, ‘cumulolimbo’…
The three realities pertaining to one same concept as certified by Joseph Kosuth in One and three chairs is proof of its formal representations: the object, its image and its referent. But what happens when the proposition is not to explore the boundaries of that multiple linguistic evidence but to open up a breach and transcribe an objection to language, a challenge arising from the blank page, until then neutral and silent?
The term conceptional, ie. newly conceived, is a response to Kosuth’s conceptual proposition. It shifts the emphasis to the conjunction of elements, to the fecundity of the semes in their variability, vividness, and lyricality. That which shows the seed of the conceptional is the project of a dictionary compiled for personal use only, in the style of the portable literature described by Vila-Matas: “All, as you can tell, have embarked on sharp, frenetic, desperate, portable projects — all, that is, except for Beta Bocado. Even Savinio (always the lead exponent of occasional slothfulness, that highly portable trait) has been working tirelessly and is immersed in a project as Shandean as it is unfathomable. So fed up has he become with encyclopedias that he’s making his own, for his own personal use. I personally think it’s a good thing; I mean, take Schopenhauer: he was so fed up with the histories of philosophy that he ended up inventing his own, for his own personal use”. Enrique Vila-Matas, A Brief History of Portable Literature, 2015.
Taking this a step further, imagine a definition, projected on a fictitious space simulating the exact place of its possible insertion in alphabetic order. It refutes a void and questions the cannon of a language in constant reinvention. The seed of daring floats to the surface. What would have happened if, instead of the word ‘chair’, Kosuth had used the word ‘loneliness’? What representation would he have given in place of the photo of the chair? And of the chair itself? The representation of the intangible raises problems on the conceptual plane.
Today, lots of more or less unintelligible ‘residual gestures’ are still being dubbed conceptual. If we refer back to the source, Kosuth’s seminal text, Art after Philosophy, in many cases, the ‘conceptual’ has been diluted:
“With the unassisted Ready-made, art changed its focus from the form of the language to what was being said. Which means that it changed the nature of art from a question of morphology to a question of function. This change – one from ‘appearance’ to ‘conception’ – was the beginning of ‘modern’ art and the beginning of conceptual art. All art (after Duchamp) is conceptual (in nature) because art only exists conceptually.
The ‘value’ of particular artists after Duchamp can be weighed according to how much they questioned the nature of art; which is another way of saying ‘what they added to the conception of art’ or what wasn’t there before they started. Artists question the nature of art by presenting new propositions as to art’s nature”. Joseph Kosuth, Art after Philosophy (1969).
Art was emerging as an operation without a residue and without trace, with aspirations of transparency, and whose finality was to push back art’s boundaries and question its own nature. In short, it was self-referential. If its function was to question its principles and beliefs, its value lay in the quest for its limits. Although the operation enjoyed form to a greater or lesser extent and this is its great contradiction, even in the initial certification of the three realities of language, the conceptual acquires a certain form.
Out of the challenge to its limits arises the fact of its anomaly. The constant, wild search for its own DNA throws up more uncertainties that certainties. Art queries both its own nature, and other bordering natures, for enquiry is its very essence. This querying, and perhaps the need for a justification of this enquiry as the artist’s main motivation, might explain the tag ‘conceptual’ used today. Conceptual today refers to a thought-based activity intended to endow content rather than transgress the limits of art. This gap goes by unnoticed and designating continues to have the upper hand.
Conceptional, on the other hand, directly derived from ‘conception’ – in the sense employed by Kosuth in his writing – leans more towards conjunction, fecundation. The use of the term conceptional seems to bear the weight of all that we bring new into the world – together, in mutual enrichment; and not because we transgress limits, but because we dilute them.
A drop of watercolour on a white sheet… does it change shape only if it meets with the ‘wrong’ type of paper allowing its potential as a ribbed shape to expand?
A blank sheet, intended for etching, is invoked by a drop of watercolour. The gesture leaves a handsome trace, which is incomprehensible if the composition of materials that created it is not known. The incongruity of the conjunction favours the spreading of the drop on the paper’s surface in a particular way, creating an intricate ribbing pattern in response to the fibres’ capillarization of humidity. The paper’s internal structure is crucial in making the watercolour behave in this way and not in another. The challenge here lies in the binary equations that do not follow the norm and which favour aperture, uncertainty.
Susan Guber puts it very well in her essay, The Blank Page. She stresses the prior importance of the blank page in the creative process and its identification with feminine creativity that chose the essential primary material on which to make the inscription. Just as the stain needs an inappropriate – or wrong – kind of paper to develop. This is the basis on which to build the challenge anew.
The same expressiveness of the blank page that Guber proposes and vindicates is that which originates or yields to each of the pieces present in the exhibition RESQUICIO.
“The blank page contains all stories in no story”.
The texts rush onto the blank page. The blank calls the text in its thirst for shadow.
In the work Desleído the rumble of the text is an interference; a kind of linguistic spume floating on the page’s surface. Distorted, smudged, meaningless lines. Like a decaying organism. The past participle ‘desleído’ would suggest it comes from the verb ‘desleer’, but in fact it comes from ‘desleír’, meaning to dilute a solid in liquid ; to water down ideas. It seems to unsettle its derivative ‘desleer’, which does not in fact exist in the dictionary. But to me it suggests a contrary action: one that encourages an active reading, for once we have soaked up the reason of a text, we allow it to transform us. Filtered by the body, the text is broken down in the intestine and forms a sediment, a layer that does not get diluted but instead germinates. A necessary step if we are to rebuild a personal language that is assimilated and distilled by lived experience.
Then, there is the construction of a space of voids in the series Solapado. The first few pages of a book, with its blanks, quotations, titles, the prelude of a content that never comes, insinuates itself to us overlapped by more blank pages that relegate it to the glaze of an unfathomable depth of latencies. It lies in the hypnotic, amniotic, blankness of that which keeps itself safe.
Another vast blankness: Siempre jamás leaves us lost in the enormity of the paper facing a horizon that divides the space. A horizon out of which indecipherable signs emerge like equidistant sides of a floundering two-party procedure. The voice collides and reverberates. The upper half of the word, cut along the top, retains enough elements to allow us to continue deciphering it and reading. The lower half, however, allows no such recognition. Folded in on themselves, the two lower halves form a pattern of non-communication. Imbued by the blurred logic of the present, dialogic forms are persistently numbed. Confrontation thus concealed, the complexity of the different points of view folds in on itself. The lines of confrontation being multiplied, the current parliamentary outlook is accounted for. Never land, the country of.
The text folded in on itself slides into the depths. Just as Gilles Deleuze expounded, the sliding brings the surface to the depth and depth to the surface. Two opposing forces exerting opposing movements. The surface and its most visible skin – language – slide into the intestine. While the intestine emerges at the surface of blank pages, that twist and fold and fold again like tectonic layers beneath the earth’s surface. In their restlessness, they assault the void with their curvatures.
The porcelain pages of Inherencia trigger the impulse of the curvature. The pearly pages of baroque reliefs of Escribanía develop the multiplicity of folds and double folds. Feeling becomes relief and recess. A relief that heralds light and shadow, hue and nuance.
“There are those who want a text (an art, a painting) without a shadow, without the “dominant ideology” but this is to want a text without fecundity, without productivity, a sterile text” Roland Barthes, The pleasure of text, 1973.
The shadow of art is fecundity. Hélène Cixous describes it very well when she refers to writing and her desire to relax the tension between that which conceals and that which becomes:
“Literature owes its life to the secret, its mission surpasses it. As soon as one writes to exhume, one secretes secrets”. Hélène Cixous, Language is the only refuge, 2009
The page is the body that harbours and secretes the fold. The fold is text; it is read in its interstices. The text folds the surface of a page, because it reveals the deep recesses of the soul as well as the complexity of the human surface.
FACES is an exhibition of 52 photographs taken by the film director Isabel Coixet during the making of her films. Faces and portraits of a variety of actors including Tim Robbins, Juliette Binoche, Rinko Kikuchi, and writers such as Henning Mankell and John Berger.
Isabel Coixet and the RocioSantaCruz gallery will give the money raised from the sales in this exhibition to Proactiva Open Arms, a non-profit organization based in Badalona that is currently bringing humanitarian aid to the refugees at Lesbos.
Faces are my landscape.
Not walls, not sunsets.
Not oceans or streets or skyscrapers.
Every face I have filmed is a piece of life I have loved.
A window onto others.
Onto those who have let me glimpse into their hearts and for a few moments given me a fragment of what they are – sometimes the best version of themselves.
Others, a pure version – unpolished, undistilled.
I remember with incredible precision – a precision that is never there when I am trying to remember where I put the keys or my phone – the exact moment I took each photograph. The degree of freedom, or alcohol. The high spirits. What the person on the other side of the camera was feeling. What I was feeling. The temperature. The atmosphere. The smell.
All these face accompany me.
I love them.
I can’t help it.
Isabel Coixet, 2016
Trompe l’oeil and the illusionism of power
A dialogue with Alejandro de la Sota:
Alejandro de la Sota asked, “Do you know what a papal throne is?”
“I’m not sure I do”, I answered.
“It is a chair squared”.
Just like his magnificently ironic architectural proposal for the Civil Government of Tarragona, De la Sota reveals with simplicity how power takes effect in life, creating pomp and circumstance to promote artistic works that legitimize power. Now ask yourselves if it is possible to turn a papal throne into a chair. The answer is no, it is not possible. And the reason for this is that when the sheen of power settles on an object, the latter is cursed by the heights to which it is elevated, the one climbing the ladder of power gets vertiginous in his attempt to reach it, and the object will be denied the chance to revert to its humble and vernacular form. The most we can do to combat this grandeur is eliminate its ability to represent power. We have three ways of doing this: by destroying it; attacking it with irony and satire; and appropriating it artistically. Only like this can we divest it of its conceited regard, its ability to seduce.
With his two chimneys – eminent occupants of Versailles – Lluis Hortalà has chosen the path of appropriating form and the meaning of power and shows them as mirrors of our human condition. They are reproductions of the chimneys we can see in Madame Dubarry’s Salon du Jeu and in Marie Antoinette’s billiard room: two pieces that Hortalà has recreated to speak of our flaws, our need to show ourselves to the world as perpetual winners. They are a marvellous example of how power perverts the fire in the cave or wood to survive the winter chill, transforming it – squaring it – into an ostentatious construction that manages to give out more light than the flames of the fire it should be serving, turning the sacred fire into a fatuous fire – even into a “no fire” – since they have been made not to give warmth and refuge but to be exhibited. In Hortalà’s chimneys, the heavy marble of the original chimneys has been replaced by simple wooden and oil planks. For this artist, ideas weigh more than marble. The trompe l’oeil chimneys trick the eye but not the sight, for they can make us believe that everything arises from the fire of passion, and of them all, the passion for power is one that burns the hardest and devours our dreams of glory. In the quietness of their exhibition, they seem to suggest that if we do not understand them as critical artefacts, we will surrender to their promise of immortality.
The power represented by the Chimneys is the power that no flame can heat. The cold body of one who has achieved glory, whether by birth, merits or the fates of life, will not be appeased by the dancing flames. As in the myth of Plato’s cave, men watch the shadows on the wall but cannot see the truth of what is happening in front of the fire and remain trapped in illusion, Hortalà’s chimney offers us the illusion of power to which we are forever shackled.
A direct and illuminating critique of monuments erected by men who live apart from reality but praise the power of a few. Every epoch has erected totalitarian chimneys. Every epoch has built scenographies to shut off reality and give in to an aesthetic plenitude that holds off the vagaries of life – as in the magic garden depicted in the frescos of the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta in Rome, where the painted birds seemed to fly, and we with them. Yet behind the monumental chimneys of Versailles there are craftsmen, artists, who conferred on them a dignity that saved them from the hollow ostentation that resides in every exhibition. As Giovanni Bellori denounced, “If a magnificent work is deprived of the industry of noble artists, it will not be able to attract admiring eyes and instead only ostentation of riches and wasted treasures will be seen…”
Hortalà invites us to see and touch the marbles that have tyrannised the powerful in their quest to possess them.
Mármol y poder de Ramón de España on El Periódico 17.04.2016
La exposición Altas horas es una propuesta de las obras de Jordi Teixidor a través
de la estructura formal (si se quiere también metafórica) de la puerta o de la ventana (tan matissiana). La obra de Teixidor nos propicia la reflexión, donde la mirada no pretende tanto comprender la verdad de lo que ve, sino de que sea verdadera.
Y al final, como en uno de los poemas de Mark Strand:
Las puertas a ninguna parte se multiplican
y el presente queda tan lejos, tan profundamente lejos.
Curro Claret. Thriller Collection. One Year Jewelry
Ediciones Originales will also exhibit a selection of graphic work and artists books by Peter Friedl, Carlos Pazos, Joan Fontcuberta, Perejaume, Ahlam Shibli, Rogelio López Cuenca, Hudinilson JR, Estrujenbank, Juan Ugalde, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Vera Chaves, Luiz Carlos Felizardo, Leopoldo Plentz, Jean-Christophe Ballot y Joan Rabascall, and others.
Prosa del observatorio/ Prose from the Observatory
Choral exhibition where seven artists – Mar Arza, Joan Bennassar Cerdà, Blanca Casas Brullet, Pep Duran, Ferran Garcia Sevilla andy Lois Patiño – will reinterpret the text by Julio Cortázar, Prose from the Observatory.