Mariana Castillo Deball
Guy de Cointet
Allora & Calzadilla
Loreto Martinez Troncoso
Marie de Brugerolle
Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy
Maria Ines Rodriguez
Cynthia Gonzalez Garcia
Maria Ines Rodriguez
Helena Lopez Camacho
Mariana Canepa Luna
The group show 'The Cry' examines through the works of 17 international artists the meaning of the scream as a primeval gesture from a plethora of contexts and perspectives. 'I Was a Male Yvonne de Carlo. Critical Art Can Be Sophisticated' explores the use of the profound mechanisms of comedy as tools for unmasking, analysis and critique of the ideological, social, economic, cultural and political systems by a series of artists from the national and international scope. A project shall be dedicated to Hungarian architect and theoretician Yona Friedman and a solo exhibition to French artist collective Claire Fontaine. Then a survey of the works of Fernando Sinaga, and a specific project by Uqbar (Irene Kopelman & Mariana Castillo Deball).
MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (León, Spain) presents a new exhibition season on June 25th. P.I.G.S. is the first solo exhibition of French artist collective Claire Fontaine in Spain, the opening instalment in the new Sala 1 project, a space set aside for the presentation of site-specific projects made by artists with well established trajectories but who have not yet garnered much visibility in Spain. The group show The Cry examines through the works of 17 international artists the meaning of the scream as a primeval gesture from a plethora of contexts and perspectives. MUSAC's halls 4, 5 & 6 will host I WAS A MALE YVONNE DE CARLO. Critical art can be sophisticated, even entertaining, a specific project for MUSAC curated by Dora García and Marie de Brugerolle. The show explores the use of the profound mechanisms of comedy as tools for unmasking, analysis and critique of the ideological, social, economic, cultural and political systems by a series of artists from the national and international scope. Ideas K is a survey exhibition of Spanish artist Fernando Sinaga curated by Gloria Moure, underpinning Sinaga's work throughout much of his creative trajectory, from 1984 to date. The independent project space Laboratorio 987 opens a specific project by Uqbar (Irene Kopelman & Mariana Castillo Deball), the third show of the Amikejo yearly exhibition series, curated by Latitudes (Max Andrews & Mariana Cánepa Luna). Last but not least, MUSAC's Showcase Project shall be dedicated to Hungarian architect and theoretician Yona Friedman, on occasion of the publication of the second book of the Collection Art and Architecture AA MUSAC.
I WAS A MALE YVONNE DE CARLO. Critical art can be sophisticated, even entertaining
Ignasi Aballí, John Baldessari, Guy Ben-Ner, Julien Bismuth & Jean-Pascal Flavien, Stanley Brouwn, Robert Crumb, Guy de Cointet, Kirsten Mosher, Itziar Okariz, Allen Ruppersberg, Jack Smith.
Curators: Dora García and Marie de Brugerolle
Coordination: Carlos Ordás
I Was a Male Yvonne de Carlo. Critical Art Can Be Sophisticated, Even Entertaining is an exhibition curated by artists, and therefore emerges more from a question of attitude than a professional curatorial stance. It is an exhibition born of the desire to understand and pay homage to the work of artists Guy de Cointet and Jack Smith. No matter the distance separating the work of these two artists, both share common traits: elegance, humour, bravura, defiance, and a very delicate sense of camp –-actually the term was adopted by Susan Sontag to speak about Smith’s work. But most specifically, they share what the title of the exhibition describes: the capacity to critique (critique the cultural establishment, critique the status quo, critique the collective imagination) with style: humour, comedy, intelligence.
Hence it is from the work of these two artists that the exhibition takes form. The fact that comedy is a brilliant strategy for institutional critique is no news to the great tradition of (Jewish) stand up comedy from Jerry Lewis to Andy Kaufman. Here, between sitcom and slapstick, we encounter the work of Guy Ben-Ner (Stealing Beauty, 2007) and Kirsten Mosher (Gumhead, Gumhead Sister, Gumhead, ready or not, all 2011). We could place the work of Ruppersberg [(Untitled, 1991) and Baldessari (Teaching a Plant the Alphabet (1972), I Am Making Art (1971), and I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art (1971)], more in the tradition of caustic nonsense challenging, in an absolutely undaunted manner, the sacredness of contemporary art and literature. This wayward disrespect for the institutional is clearly felt in the work of Itziar Okariz (Mear en espacios públicos y privados, 2011), while we feel the work of Ignasi Aballí is closer to the innocent, childish prank which embarrasses the superego parents (Listado (Sexo), 2011, and Soplidos (Blows), 2008).
Humour as derision of any authority could not be complete without Robert Crumb. The wonderful draughtsman and revered star of counterculture surprises, in the image on the invitation to this exhibition, with a merciless vision of the artist (always Crumb himself), trousers down, doubting between sex fantasies and social engagement.
Quite the opposite, we could say, of Stanley Brouwn’s white abstract humour. In 3 Corners (2007), he reduces ad absurdum the essence of architecture, sculpture and habitation; he is an artist in the best dandyish tradition of coolness, detachment, and intelligence.
Lenny Bruce used to say "comedy is tragedy plus time". So indeed there is a sense of a bygone era, a certain nostalgia, in the tragic figures composed by Jack Smith in his appearance at the Cologne Zoo (Jack Smith in Jack Smith’s Fear Ritual of Shark Museum, Cologne Zoo (series), photographs by Gwen Thomas, and Birgit Hein's Jack Smith: Cologne, 1974). This same sense of the senseless, the artist as lonely and absurd wandering hero, appears in the performance conceived by artists Julien Bismuth & Jean-Pascal Flavien and their descent through an extremely shallow river. And then, the oriental excesses of Jack Smith in Flaming Creatures (1962), Normal Love (1965) or the film that gives the title to the exhibition, I was a male Yvonne de Carlo (1970) all send us back full circle to the work of Guy de Cointet. Guy de Cointet's women: ethereal, beautiful, elegant and witty, exchanging wonderful lines of dialogue that sometimes make us think of Oscar Wilde and at others, of Dallas, are the very epitome of the exhibition subtitle: criticism can be sophisticated, even entertaining.
Exhibition Halls 4, 5 & 6
Absalon, Allora & Calzadilla, Hernan Bas, Irina Botea, Luisa Cunha, El Resplandor, Lara Favaretto, Terence Gower, Jesper Just, David Maljkovic, Christian Marclay, Teresa Margolles, Loreto Martínez Troncoso, Olivia Plender, Ugo Rondinone, Javier Téllez, von Calhau.
Curated by: Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy and María Inés Rodríguez
Coordinator: Cynthia González García
The title of the exhibition evokes this liberating gesture, whether as a public call that incites political emancipation or as a more private sort of expression that manifests a particular sentiment, as Edvard Munch’s emblematic expressionist painting reminds us. What is explored here is not gesture as the mark that identifies an artist’s work of art, but the way in which concerns and emotions are expressed and structured in our time.
The exhibition is organized into three conceptual blocks each of which addresses different meanings of a single complex expression: the cry of pain, ire; the call for help, which pleads for assistance; and the political clamour, the invitation to the congregation. These three approaches enable locating the manifestation or the reception of the cry in the universe of the individual as well as in the society. The Cry includes the work of 17 visual artists, five of whom participate with projects produced for this occasion. Except for the work by Absalon (1963-1993), which stages an audible, real, constant and bloodcurdling scream, the set of works in the exhibition evoke and unleash other associations related to this expression, which range from the silent and hushed cry, its reverberation in the community, to its repercussions in the other, as inescapable witness to an event.
In the central part of the exhibition is the “public plaza”, which is the platform for the presentation of three new performances by the El Resplandor group consisting of the von Calhau duo and the artist Loreto Martínez Toncoso. This public plaza will therefore embody an active social sound space. The exhibition design is a special project by the artist Terence Gower, who has actively participated in the curatorial process and developed what we might call an “emotional architecture” (a term coined by the Mexican artist Mathias Goeritz) to house the works by the guest artists. The graphic identity of the exhibition title, which draws on the considerations we wish to convey in this project, was produced by Scott Ponik.
Exhibition Halls 3.1 and 3.2
Claire Fontaine (Paris, 2004)
Curator: María Inés Rodríguez
Coordinator: Eneas Bernal
Artists’ collective Claire Fontaine focuses on reflections about contemporary society, analysing through its works the relationships between spheres of power, the individual and the position of the artist. The proposal for Room 1 revolves around the acronym P.I.G.S., coined by English-speaking financial media to refer pejoratively to Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain since the 2008 economic downturn.
The show consists of three specially produced works. P.I.G.S., which also lends its name to the exhibition, is a representation of this selective map of Europe. Consisting of hundreds of matchsticks, it alludes ironically to the global socio-political instability that is the by-product of the recent financial downturn, at once a poetical comment on the countless lives that have been wasted, truncated and sacrificed by the corruption of the system. P.I.G.S. is ultimately a reminder of how, and to what extent, we are being governed.
CAPITALISM KILLS LOVE (Santa María de León) refers to the multicoloured facade of the MUSAC itself and also to the digitalised colour spectrum of the stained-glass windows of Santa María Cathedral in Leon. The font used in the text is called “K”, a typeface in turn taking its name from the Czech author Franz Kafka, as a tribute to him and to his unfinished work Amerika, which anticipated the political frangibility of the West and of the American Dream. The third work, Private (2010), is an explicit metaphor of the limits we all come up against, as well as a violent reaction against interactive artworks in general. Though visually discreet, being totally horizontal and anti-monumental, acoustically, it is an aggressive and invasive work that interacts with the other two pieces on display on two different levels: it cuts against the grain of their forms, yet conceptually it underscores the very violence that underlies private property by using the sound of the bell, commonly associated with discipline and alarm.
Claire Fontaine. Notas sobre economía libidinal. Journal, 66 pages.
The texts gathered in this publication deal with the financial economy and the affective economy, and expand the field of research proposed in the exhibition. As a whole, “P.I.G.S.” expands our vision of an economic reality that has social and political effects on Europe and on the world, a particular interpretation of contemporary history that involves only the most financially unsound countries, thereby avoiding the responsibilities and the conditions northern European countries are also undergoing due to their own weaknesses and inadequacies.
About Claire Fontaine
Claire Fontaine defines itself as a "readymade artist". Its works, with a special mention for textual installations (messages, billboards and neon or fluorescent signs) made indistinctively in urban spaces or art galleries, are often underpinned by an open, multiple reflection driven by social critique. Based on devices posing direct questions to the spectators, like Foreigners Everywhere or Please, Come Back, Claire Fontaine’s works can be viewed as exercises analysing relationships between spheres of power, the individual, and the artist’s position within society. As the artists themselves say “Art would simply be a way of paying attention to those interruptions, a space in which to talk about issues that are otherwise buried, an arena for formal intervention not to be seen as a means to liberation so much as a purely aesthetic space. As such, it would hold an enormous potential for criticism of the general organisation of society.”
Since its creation in 2004, Claire Fontaine has earned widespread recognition, exhibiting its works in leading institutions such as Palais de Tokyo in Paris, PS1 in New York and more recently, Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, among other venues.
Dates: 25 June – 18 September, 2011
Venue: Sala 1
Fernando Sinaga (Saragosse, Spain, 1951)
Curator: Gloria Moure
Coordinator: Helena López Camacho
Fernando Sinaga, an artist born in Zaragoza and established in Salamanca, developed his artistic career between Spain and Germany, and within the great sculptural movement that has taken the national and international art world in full swing from the 60's to the 90's. His work emerges from one of the defining fields of poetical exploration in the visual arts during the second half ofthe 1960s is the consideration of perception and its processes as motifs in themselves, something that produced, and still produces today, major ramifications.
Sinaga mines this domain with remarkable subtlety, to this end relying mostly on colour and perceptive displacements. That said, we should also underscore that, treated as a process, this perceptive poetics opens up the material boundaries of the works, redefining them as an interference with the audiences. Additionally, the “open” approach posits the experience of sculpture as a mental operation engaging with thought rather than understanding.
However, in contrast with the “serialisation” and asepsis proper to minimalism, Sinaga’s work adopts a position that we could regard as naturalistic to the extent that, in using minimal counterpoints and appropriate supports, he attempts to trigger complex irreversible processes of perceptual concatenation. Nothing is left to chance. Rather it is predicated on an infinitesimal interdependence characteristic of natural processes. As a consequence, in Sinaga’s practice, the interactive openness to audiences is combined with the naturalistic tone of the minute variation to give shape to a manifest landscape of interiors allied to architecture, in which colour often not only activates composition, but defines it in open planes from an interplay of correspondences between spaces and forms.
Ideas K, the survey of Fernando Sinaga’s work at the MUSAC, overviews the symbolic, geometric, optical, material and chromatic imaginary undergirding the artist’s practice from El Desayuno Alemán (1984) right up to his most recent work. The idea behind Ideas K is to underscore the specific and experimental nature of Sinaga’s work as well as its transversal and diversified thrust, as revealed by the compelling correlation of the connections and links running through his practice over the last 26 years.
The project vindicates artist’s independent temperament while showcasing the wealth and complexity of his work. In Sinaga’s creative practice, crossing boundaries involves much more than a simple interactivity between the works, whether objects or images. More to the point, it involves an appreciation of space as a visual and plastic element rather than a neutral container of creations. Likewise it entails considering art more as an aesthetic experience in which one takes part than as a distanced contemplation.
Covering an area of over 600 m2, MUSAC’s exhibition hall 2 will deploy, on one hand, a body of work largely consisting of photographic and audiovisual pieces by Sinaga, accompanied by works on paper that will act as a common thread running through the parcours, punctuated in turn by several small cabinets.
About Fernando Sinaga’s work
One of the defining fields of poetical exploration in the visual arts during the second half of the 1960s is the consideration of perception and its processes as motifs in themselves, something that produced, and still produces today, major ramifications. Fernando Sinaga mines this domain with remarkable subtlety, to this end relying mostly on colour and perceptive displacements. That said, we should also underscore that, treated as a process, this perceptive poetics opens up the material boundaries of the works, redefining them as an interference with the audiences. Additionally, the “open” approach posits the experience of sculpture as a mental operation engaging with thought rather than understanding.
In Sinaga, the notions of interactive perception and creation also entail another, though directly related, feature that places him at the forefront of his generation. In contrast with the “serialisation” and asepsis proper to minimalism, Sinaga adopts a position that we could regard as naturalistic to the extent that, in using minimal counterpoints and appropriate supports, he attempts to trigger complex irreversible processes of perceptual concatenation. Nothing is left to chance. Rather it is predicated on an infinitesimal interdependence characteristic of natural processes. As a consequence, in Sinaga’s practice, the interactive openness to audiences is combined with the naturalistic tone of the minute variation to give shape to a manifest landscape of interiors allied to architecture, in which colour often not only activates composition, but defines it in open planes from an interplay of correspondences between spaces and forms.
Dates: 25 June – 11 September 2011
Venue: Exhibition Hall 2
Mariana Castillo Deball (1975, Mexico City, Mexico) e Irene Kopelman (1976, Córdoba, Argentina)
Curators: Latitudes (Max Andrews & Mariana Cánepa Luna)
Coordinator: Carlos Ordás
Exhibition series: Amikejo.
Amikejo is a series of four exhibitions by artist duos at MUSAC’s Laboratorio 987. Amikejo was a tiny state that existed from 1908–1920 between the Netherlands, Belgium and present day Germany and was founded on a desire to foster more effective international communication through the synthetic language Esperanto – Amikejo means ‘place of friendship’ in Esperanto. This episode-place was a unique synthesis of cartography, language, nationhood, politics, economics and subjectivity, and is entreated as a twin site to Laboratorio 987 by lending its name and conceptual borders to the exhibition series.
Uqbar is an occasional collaboration between artists Mariana Castillo Deball (born 1975, Mexico City, Mexico) & Irene Kopelman (born 1976, Córdoba, Argentina) initiated in 2006. Its practice has led to sculptural installations, seminars and publications, and frequently involves the cooperation of individuals outside the artistic field, including scientists and writers.
For Amikejo, Uqbar will explore the idea of working together as a subject in itself. The “interchanges, mutations, transmutations, metamorphosis and contaminations that working together entails ... the hybrids we create together, not belonging to one or the other but rather creating an in between zone”, as the artists have described. The exhibition at Laboratorio 987 will be based on the principal of chirality or ‘handedness’. Chirality is a property of an object that is not superimposable on its mirror image. Human hands are perhaps the most recognizable example of chirality: the left hand is a non-superimposable mirror image of the right hand; no matter how the two hands are oriented, it is impossible for the forms of both hands to coincide. Cases of chirality can be found in many different organisms in nature, such as in the twisted petals of certain orchids, shells and fish scales. It can be observed at a molecular and microbial level, in the formation of left-handed or right-handed crystals, and even in rare cases in humans who are born with the heart on the right side of the body. Chirally opposite objects have the exactly same shape, and yet are also completely different. Uqbar will “take this phenomenon as a metaphor of two organisms working together, reflecting on each other’s mechanisms, mirroring each other; and at the same time being completely different and alien to each other. The exhibition will be composed of a spiral staircase, which will serve as a viewpoint for other artifacts and objects. Uqbar will create a psychedelic chiral ecosystem, featuring hanging papier-mâché epiphyte sculptures and enlarged stone microfossils, as well as “Banyan tree drawings, a video of a chemical reaction, fables among non-humans and drawings of hybrid creatures”.
Dates: 25 June - 11 September 2011
Venue: Laboratorio 987.)
Métropole Europe / Europa Metrópolis
Curator: María Inés Rodríguez
Coordination: Cynthia González García
Yona Friedman (Budapest, Hungary, 1923. Lives and works in Paris). His work has spanned areas ranging from architecture, art and animated film to education and writing. His highly visionary ideas have nurtured various generations of architects and urbanists, influencing groups such as Archigram and even Kenzo Tange. He created urban concepts such as the Spatial City, based on the free organisation of a city by citizens using low-cost mobile and reusable modules. According to Yona Friedman himself, his work consists in “seeing the world not only as an entity that is describable by statistical methods but as a world comprised of individual entities that I have called granules of space. Entities of unforeseeable behaviour”, through which it is possible to create a mobile architecture and an emancipated society.
This exhibition, designed by Friedman for the Showcase Project, emphasizes his reflection on the advantages of realizing the idea of a European metropolis, the “biggest non-city in the world”. The groundwork for the creation of this metropolis, consisting of a network of big cities connected to each other by systems of fast trains, already exists. All that is necessary for this to be put into practice is a political will to subsidize affordable fares. This network would give rise to increased mobility among citizens, the social fabric would be restructured and new strategies in the labour market and cultural life would be embraced. This project would enable alternative approaches to the economic, social, cultural, political and administrative problems that the recent financial crises have brought to light.
This showcase has been produced as an extension of the monograph Architecture with the people, by the people, for the People. Yona Friedman from the Collection AA MUSAC, published by MUSAC / ActarBirkhäuser, with writings by Kenneth Frampton, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Manuel Orazi, Yona Friedman and María Inés Rodríguez.
Publication specifications: Architecture with the people, by the people, for the people. Yona Friedman Collection Art and Architecture AA MUSAC
Edited by: MUSAC / ActarBirkhäuser
Published by: ActarBirkhäuser
Editor: María Inés Rodríguez
Design: Michel Mallard Studio, París
Texts: Kenneth Frampton, Yona Friedman, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Manuel Orazi, María Inés Rodríguez
Venue: Showcase Project
Date: 25 June - 18 September 2011
Image: Allora & Calzadilla, Sediments Sentiments (Figures of Speech), 2007. Mixed media installation, live performance and pre-recorded sound-track. Wood, expandable foam, jesmonite and paint 235 x 320 x 220 cm. Courtesy the artists and Lisson Gallery, London
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