las Columnas Straubinger
Aleksandar Battista Ilic
Factory of Found Clothes
Agustín Perez Rubio
The main focus of One Sixth of the Earth (Ecologies of Image) is on moving image work, with which it develops a broad 'ecological' frame to present and contextualise a wide range of work from very diverse and different countries and cultures. Miki Kratsman's work documents the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In Felix Curto's artistic career the experiences he gathered throughout the Mexican geography and its various social and cultural layers are essential. The work of Azucena Vieites articulates itself around the use of drawing as "technique and ideology". The first of 4 exhibitions of the cycle Form and Meaning brings together a selection of projects of the artist and musician Hiwa K. In Our Gardens Forests Are Getting Ready, by Rafael Sanchez-Mateos Paniagua, showcases dwell between an old world that ends and a new one beginning to form.
One Sixth of the Earth. Ecologies of Image
Curator: Mark Nash
Coordination: Helena López Camacho, Eszter Steierhoffer
28 January - 3 June, 2012
Artists: Dan Acostioaei (Romania), Victor Alimpiev (Russia), Matei Bejenaru (Romania), Yevgenia Belorusets (Ukranie), Irina Botea (Romania), Pavel Braila (Moldova), Mircea Cantor (Romania), Community Art/ Aleksandar Battista Ilic, Ivana Keser, Tomislav Gotovac (Croatia), Stefan Constantinescu (Romania), Factory of Found Clothes (Russsia), Dimitry Gutov (Russia), Flaka Haliti (Kosovo), IRWIN (Slovenia), Gulnara Kasmalieva y Muratbek Djumaliev (Kyrgyzstan), Zbigniew Libera (Poland), Little Warsaw (Hungary), David Maljkovic (Croatia), Almagul Menlibayeva (Kazajistan), Anna Molska (Poland), Deimantas Narkevičius (Lithuania), Mircea Nicolae (Romania), Kristina Norman (Estonia), Adrian Paci (Albania), Alexander Ponomarev (Ukranie), Ghenadie Popescu (Moldova), Tobias Putrih (Slovenia), Anri Sala (Albania), Lukasz Skapski (Poland), Société Réaliste (France / Hungary), Milica Tomic (Serbia), Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor (Romania), Andrej Zdravic (Slovenia), Driant Zeneli (Albania), Artur Zmijewski (Poland).
One Sixth of the Earth (Ecologies of Image) presents art from the last decade from countries that were part of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. The main focus of this exhibition is on moving image work, the medium of choice of many contemporary artists, with which it develops a broad ‘ecological’ frame to present and contextualise a wide range of work from very diverse and different countries and cultures.
Within the overall ecological metaphor invoked in the title, this exhibition engages a number of contradictory and at times completely opposed themes, which have to do both with the trajectories of the individual artists involved but also the widely differing histories of their respective countries of origin and/or where they are currently artistically active: Cultural nomadism – artists now able to travel in search of the best place for training and practice; the emergence of strong local art scenes (often building on networks established in Communist time) which may present artists with difficult choices of advancing their careers at home or abroad; the rise of new nationalisms (with their attendant xenophobia and racisms that have affected many countries in the region); issues of gender and sexual identity (in some cases linking with progressive cultural politics of a previous, communist, generation).
At the centre of our exhibition is a new commission by Tobias Putrih who has designed a viewing space inspired by the work of OsKar Hansen whose concept of the “Open Form” helps define the sensibility of generations of contemporary architects and artists, as one in which the spectator becomes an active participant in the exhibition process. A second commission by Société Réaliste consists of a new typeface ‘Monotopia 1989’ a date that marks both the founding of dissolution of the Communist bloc.
The works presented in the first room of the exhibition, Hall 4.2, explore the resonances of cultural and historical past in our contemporary present – Dimitry Gutov asks how to read the landscape of contemporary Moscow – it is upside down, or are our ideas equally misplaced? David Maljkovic uses the device of science fiction to ask a similar question about Zagreb. Little Warsaw and Irina Botea refer to the archive to confront past idealism with the banality of the present-day. Yevgenia Belorusets documents the opacity of power in post Soviet Ukraine. Victor Alimpiev hints at the weight of symbols from the past. Dan Acostioaei evokes the fetishism of commodities, Christina Norman and Flaka Haliti present us with artistic interventions against Xenophobia and genocide.
The Reading Room presents a number of artist book projects, and juxtapose two kinds of nature rambles: Community Art together with the veteran artist Tomislav Gotovac —who died last year—and Zbignew Libera’s more sexually ambivalent exploration of a similar theme.
In Hall 4.1 Tobias Putrih’s cinema hosts a range of narrative works more suited to a traditional cinematic presentation where the audience can follow from beginning to end. Nicolae Mircea intertwines personal and architectural histories from Bucharest. Anri Sala interrogates his mother’s involvement with the Albanian Communist party. Matei Bejanaru reminds us of the literary culture of Romanian factory workers, Stefan Constantinescu – the iconic history of the Dacia that rivalled the East German Trabant in South Eastern Europe. Deimantas Narkevičius revisits cold war era nuclear bunkers. Pavel Braila presents the primitive railway technologies connecting former West and former East. Driant Zeneli exemplifies the ambition of younger artists to ‘touch the moon’. In this hall we also present the project of Andrej Zmijewski that explores different kinds of political and social gatherings as a contemporary ethnography of democratic forms.
Hall 3.1 presents work which deals with issues of gender and sexuality: Anna Molska takes a fetishistic approach to the male body; Almagul Menlibayeva presents her body as an object of fascination while exploring the ecological devastation of the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan; The Factory of Found Clothes’ operatic documentary presents dilemmas of present day motherhood no longer protected by the Soviet welfare state; Milica Tomic provocatively explores the resonance of Karl Marx’s Das Capital for moneyed collectors of today; Mircea Cantor echoes Alimpiev’s interrogation of symbols.
Halls 5 and 6 include some explicitly ecological works: Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor show Roma children playing with the down of willow seeds; Ghenadie Popescu explores the pollution of the river Bîc in Moldova; Alexander Ponomarev deploys the resources of the Russian navy to erase an island from the map. Lukasz Skapski presents the ingenuity of Polish famers, faced with a shortage of spare parts to invent their own agricultural machinery. Adrian Paci echoes Walt Whitman’s ‘body electric’. Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev celebrate the resilience of nomadic women traders. In conclusion, using the formal devices of experimental film-making, Andrej Zdravic explores the pristine beauty of Solvenia’s river Soča (also the site of some of the fiercest fighting in the First World War).
AS IT IS. On Miki Kratsman's Photography
Curator: Octavio Zaya
Coordination: Cynthia González García
28 January - 3 June, 2012
Miki Kratsman's work documents the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its consequences in the daily lives of the civilian population, marked by oppression for decades. Thanks to his work as a photojournalist for the past twenty years, Kratsman had privileged access to locations usually inaccessible to Israelis and unknown to the international media. What we have here is an overview of the occupation, the consequences of a devastated reality–a territory destroyed, abandoned or razed buildings, and desolate fields–after which a policy of control and isolation can be recognized. However, the author does not rely on the theatrical or on easy tricks in his photography. It can be said that Kratsman does not exploit his topics, or the subjects of his topics. On the contrary, he locates us in front of the "everyday banality" of a parallel reality.
While at first his main journalistic effort was purely documentary, currently his work focuses more on capturing images of the day-to-day, to show the relationship between the inhabitants and the exceptional context of violence they live in. In other words, the daily reality of occupation systematically photographed.
For this exhibition at MUSAC a selection of photographs belonging, or not, to various series has been assembled. Thus, the Territory series brings us images of landscapes marked by displacement and destruction. The most recent, and still in process, Targeted Killing was carried out with the same type of photographic lens that the Israeli army uses in its controversial policy of the targeted killing of Palestinians. The characters photographed in this series are innocent Palestinians, despite the fact that the way in which they have been photographed gives them, in the eye of the viewer, a character of casual "suspects". Meanwhile, Wanted portrays different terrorists wanted by the Israeli army. From Kratsman's point of view, the accumulation of pictures that represent the daily routine is most important, most significant and even more disturbing than the documentation of a specific spectacular event. Thus, three slide shows feature a photographic archive of more than 4,000 images, which, along with six booklets by the artist, complete the exhibition.
Miki Kratsman was born in Argentina in 1959 and emigrated to Israel in 1971. He is in charge of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design's Department of Photography in Jerusalem and his photographs regularly appear in the newspaper Haaretz. During the organization of this exhibition, Kratsman received two prestigious awards: the one awarded by the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, and the Emet Prize for science, art and culture, which is regarded as the most important of Israel. This is the first solo exhibition of the renowned photographer's work in a Spanish Museum, though he has shown his photographs in prestigious venues like the CCCB of Barcelona (2006), the Biennale in São Paulo (2006), the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin, (2005) and the Venice Biennale (2003).
Curator: Agustín Pérez Rubio
Coordination: Eneas Bernal
28 January - 9 September, 2012
In Félix Curto's (Salamanca, 1967) artistic career the experiences he gathered throughout the Mexican geography and its various social, cultural, economic and political layers are essential. This American country has been for more than a decade where the artist has been residing for long periods of time, a context where personal taste and interest in an era–that of the American and European counterculture from the 1960s to the present day–ended up combining with his professional work.
The exhibition American Junk takes its name from the eponymous title of Edwin Gilbert 's book American Chrome, a B series novel that reveals the perverse games of the American automobile industry in the 20th century. The title alludes, in turn, to the popular nickname given to many "gringo" objects which, already in disuse in the United States, continue traveling through Latin America. Popular items such as license plates, refrigerators or radios, which are collected by the artist, who subsequently modify them in his workshop to compose objects, installations and sculptures that would have the tribute to authors and references essential in the life of the artist as nexus.
Besides these artifacts, the tour of the exhibition is completed with a wide selection of recent drawings and paintings. All of them bring to light a creative universe that stands out for the synthesis of the materials, the language games, and for showing the work process. Concepts highly visible in the dripping works both in paintings and drawings as well as in the objects that the artist minimally intervene. The poetry of authors such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady; the encounters with cinematographic works such as Paris-Texas, Easy Rider or Il Sorpasso; and especially the musical cult authors like Chet Baker, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, or The Box Tops, together with more present musicians ranging from Herman Dune, Mark Olson, The Smiles & Frowns or Sonny Smith to the low-fi music of the band The Magnetic Fields, set out the sensitivity of Curto's work.
These affective references grow in the more than 60 works that comprise the exhibition . Works that manage to stress the spectator, approaching them to intimate landscapes–as it happens in the pieces Dad or I've Loved Her so Long–but also to share the paths and searches of Curto through a territory where it is possible to listen again to the wishes of all those who sought to build "another" world, evidencing the fissures of American culture and the dream of "an American way of life".
The result is an approach to the author's poetic maturity, who shows a landscape crossed by the social, by the border relations linked to oppression or consumption, thanks to some artistic productions which establish other narratives and other cultural references that, ultimately, present life experiences on these by-products of the global economy which surround us and populate the policy of our memory.
Cross Dissolve–Break You Nice
Curator: Agustín Pérez Rubio
Coordination: Carlos Ordás
28 January - 9 September, 2012
The exhibition Cross Dissolve–Break You Nice is presented as a follow up to a work long ago begun by Azucena Vieites (Hernani, Guipúzcoa, 1967) through various previous proposals at Valparaiso (Chile), Centro Cultural Montehermoso (Vitoria) or Villa Iris (Santander). The work of Azucena Vieites articulates itself around the use of drawing as "technique and ideology", as a result of a conscious and significant choice for the resolution of a plastic project based on the review and iconographic appropriation of images which come from society and contemporary culture. Through an exhibition project that materializes in an installation in which the artist is facing large formats for the first time, led by the architecture of MUSAC, the issue of representation is addressed, both from the recreational and the fantasy, as well as from the experience and expectations present in the processes of daily life.
With a marked feminist character in reusing and producing her images, Vieites investigates on the order of the genders with respect to children and the relationship of consumption of images from popular culture. It is so as her work combines fashion photographs, logos, musical imagery or childlike graphic games. Vieites incorporates the idea of translation in an effort to contextualize the understanding of a particular moment of contemporary culture. In this sense, it is not surprising that in her images appear previous materials related to popular culture: fashion magazines' photographs, logos and graphics relating to the world of music, or small childlike graphic games.
For Vieites the DIY (Do It Yourself) ethics, born with the punk movement in the 1970s, is still today fully in force in relation to the generation of a new order in which the possibilities of self-management acquire special relevance, especially from a feminist point of view. It is from the concept of self-management that the relationship with the techniques of the fanzine in the work of Vieites are understood. The term "fanzine" refers to self-managed and independent publications, edited with modest and accessible means. Many of these publications are made just for recreation and fun, as a form of political resistance and activism, and can be used as an informal educational tool and as an alternative to cultural devaluation. Likewise, fanzines traditionally (and especially in the "pre-Internet" era) allow those with minority interests to connect with other people with similar interests, as well as produce and document the representation itself.
Vieites' work also reflects on the concept of editing, the idea of "original work", and makes use of repetition and fragmentation as recurrent method. In the words of the artist, "techniques such as screen printing allow me to obtain an image once and again, over and over, and this technique brings out issues that have to do with the idea of original, copy, unique, serial or reproducible work. In the effect of repetition, what it is represented vanishes, is distorted. The image is constructed from that repetitive effect. Something takes place in the interstices that exceeds representation itself, something that rarefies it. From my point of view, one of the reasons for the artistic practice to exist has to do with the capacity to cause estrangement."
For the artist, the fact that an image can be repeated, copied, involves the issues of its "natural" character, as well as a reflection on the opposite original/copy, denying the primacy of the original and the derivative of the copy, and incorporating an idea of the absurdity with respect to the absolute image and linear forms of narration. Also, in terms of identity, it leads to not thinking of it as unique and without discontinuities.
For a Few Socks of Marbles
Curator: Leire Vergara
From January 28th, to June 10th, 2012
Exhibition cycle: Form and Meaning
Venue LABORATORIO 987
Coordination: Cynthia González García
In collaboration with:
Conservatorio Profesional de Música José Castro Ovejero, León
The first of four shows of the exhibition cycle Form and Meaning, this exhibition brings together a selection of projects of the artist and musician from Iraqi Kurdistan Hiwa K, in his first exhibition in Spain.
During the 1980s, Hiwa K began his practice through painting, after an informal training along with other intellectuals, musicians, playwrights and artists in Iraq. Resident in Germany with political refugee status, in 1998 abandoned painting and began to play the Spanish guitar after studying with flamenco guitarists such as Paco Peña and Paco Serrano.
His interests revolve around the circulation of culture, the different contacts between migrant and local elements, the professionalization of artistic practice and the myth of the individual artist. Thus, many of his works are the result of collaborations and have to do with the process of teaching and learning as a daily practice, rather than the pursuit of knowledge as a formal discipline. He has participated in international events such as Manifesta 7 in Italy.
Laboratorio 987's exhibition presents two new productions: For a Few Socks of Marbles, the installation that gives the show its title, and With Jim, Once Upon a Time in The West*, a musical performance based on Sergio Leon's western Once Upon a Time in the West, with music by Ennio Morricone. The filming of this performance piece will be subsequently shown in the Laboratorio.
* Sunday 29 January at 13:00 pm, at the Conservatorio Profesional de Música José Castro Ovejero, León, Spain.
Free entrance until full capacity is reached. Duration 10 minutes approximately.
Rafael Sánchez-Mateos Paniagua with las Columnas Straubinger
In Our Gardens Forests Are Getting Ready
Curator & coordination: Eneas Bernal
From January 28th to June 10th, 2012
Venue: Showcase Project
A passionate work, a poetic artifact that attempts to present, display, transmit, make objective, set into motion, through art's devices, the sensitive explosions that have taken place and that continue to take place, from North to South, today. Movements and interruptions in life styles that the new struggles and the new forces of popular resistance are already making possible everywhere.
The works displayed in MUSAC's Showcases dwell between an old world that ends and a new one beginning to form. From the strength and beauty still unprecedented in Charles Fourier's clairvoyances, in combination with the struggles faced by us, our struggles, current or past, but always present. Series, analogies and combinations are displayed, trying to learn from those events that surprised the world and cheered up our lives with new political passions.
This work is an artistic experience that has been executed by Rafael Sánchez-Mateos Paniagua (Madrid, 1979) with Las Columnas Straubinger, composed by the fellow travelers that sustain this experience.
Image: © Ghenadie Popescu
Navigable Bic, 2008
Colour video with sound 17’ 40’’
Courtesy of the artist
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