A Possible Route

Curatorial text in occasion of  5X5Castelló2013 Project at Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló and El Convent-Espai d’art, Vila-real. From October 25, 2013 to January 12, 2014.

5x5Castelló2013 EACC Álvaro de los Ángeles El Convent-Espai d'Art

At present, visual art is open to and absorbs contents from various social and cultural fields and re-inscribes them in spaces conceived for their consumption with a twofold goal: to use hybrid techniques and subject matters, coexisting naturally and endowing contemporary art with a clear cultural and social vocation; and the acceptance that any innovation is possible and with the potential to transcend the specific field it emerges from.

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The Land Reclaimed by Photography

Published by EST. Publicacions on ocassion of the exhibition The Art Circle. Directors, by Mariela Apollonio at Kir Royal Gallery, Valencia, Spain.

A conscious scrutiny of reality transforms our perception of the real. That is where photography, and any contemporary derivative of the image, holds sway, for it constitutes and informs something based on the referent, whereas it used to represent it before. Jean-François Chevrier puts it this way: “The 20th century is, as Fernand Léger would have it, the century of ‘constructors’ […] So much had never been said about functional creation as in this century, in which all the functions of art have been challenged.[1]” It has proved to be a transforming power, and continues to be so at the beginning of the 21st century. But in its essence, photography – or at least certain active foundational practices attributed to photography – still maintains a link, however slight, with the document, with the testimonial evidence. Several concepts come into play in this operation: “reality”, “document”, “image”, “practice”, and, to mark the limits of the territory where Mariela Apollonio has settled and in which she has constructed a voice for herself, some others should be added, such as “institutional critique”, “staged pictures”, “the ‘thingness’ of the subject”, “photographic art” and “architectonic space”.

Full text available on: EST. Publications

 


[1] Jean-François Chevrier, La fotografía entre las bellas artes y los medios de comunicación, Barcelona, Ed. Gustavo Gili, 2007, p. 75.

Authorship and authority. On Joxerra Melguizo’s work

Extracted from Joxerra Melguizo’s text in ocassion of the book published by Euzkadi Goverment.

art-forum-berlin

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One of the principles of art, and one that has developed like a hypertrophied muscle, has been to place authority before the authorship of a work. Works are valued by the square centimetre or metre, by the weight of their volumes, by the size of the support or by the production of the video or film they present. Even in those cases of actions or performances mounted in order to be consumed by time, in the belief that they would thereby avoid the physicality that was liable to have a value placed on it, the records that bear witness to their existence have been reproduced, creating copies, and hence mass-produced works, that have entered the art market via the back door, which has quickly been equated with the main entrance in terms of prestige and monetary value. Nothing in art can escape being valued. Nothing, therefore, can avoid valuation and, by pure logic, everything has been sold or is up for sale. However, an inherent element of these modes of valuation and value is authorship by such and such an artist. Once a particular artist or respect for his work has been has been widely accepted, expert opinion on his works is produced regardless of their individual quality and is based principally on size, volume and/or the final production costs. The debate on the output capacity of each artist in relation to the quality of his work is a recent dilemma and has been affected by the market itself and its derivations.

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Tools of Art. Rereadings

Publication for the exhibition Tools of Art. Rereadings, at Sala Parpalló, Valencia, June-September 2008. Translated from Spanish by Lambe & Nieto

Redefinitions
The definition of the Spanish word herramienta, or tool in English, relates the concept to the etymological Latin root ferramenta in its description of “instrument, commonly made of iron or steel, used by artisans”. The importance of the fact that the tool in question is made of iron or steel is mirrored in the word, grounding the definition in its material specificity. Later on we will return to the other explicit association with the work of an artisan.

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Creating a surrounding world

On Daniel G. Andújar‘s Hack Landscape.
Published in PhotoEspaña 2006 Naturaleza:

Arcades first appeared in Paris in the first third of the nineteenth century and became increasingly commonplace, as Walter Benjamin points out, with the growth of the textile trade, which marked the beginning of a hitherto unknown relationship between the inhabitant as a customer/buyer (user) and the city. Glass, iron, overhead light and artificial lighting -“The arcades were the setting for the first gas lighting” wrote Benjamin – covered entire blocks of buildings. This new architectural concept was in keeping with the period of change and the industrial revolution it formed part of. However, it also represented the ubiquity of a city inside a larger city, a clear attempt to create a “new” world inside a known one, while evoking the ideals of progress and well-being, albeit founded on a virtual idea, unreal or unattainable, that the physical and tangible world no longer seemed capable of generating or achieving.

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The Culture of Fear. The Fear of Culture

Translation from article first published in mono Magazine #6 El miedo y otras catástrofes. Valencia, April 2005. Translated from Spanish by Elida Maiques.

The umbilical relationship that cultural production has with public budgets is very well known due to its necessary and constant feed, at least (and in order to limit this analysis), in Spain. From this dependency, which deserves criticism as much as praise for contributing to many achievements, tensions arise, along with authoritarian and/or submissive attitudes (depending on the side). Public culture management tends to direct its support and to subsidise a culture that relates to its principles, which activates models similar to those it proposes or outlines. One can safely affirm, therefore, that a series of subtly abusive acts are then consummated. This not only forces external cultural producers to closely follow certain ideologies that have previously been tacked, but these acts also increasingly impoverish (not only economically) those offering different visions of a reality doubtlessly eclectic and kaleidoscopic. In other words, management of public budgets is not carried out with an essentially public aim; public meaning here to embrace and give proportional visibility to both the general majority and the diverse. On the contrary, it has become a continuation of models created by those in power at the time, while very little relevance is given to the rest of the options. Opportunities are given only to the extent in which it is understood that within a democratic society, cultural industry must offer different and opposed examples of discussion and analysis.

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Between No-place and No-Man’s Land

An approach to Lynne Cohen’s photographs

Lynne Cohen. Bacelos Gallery, Vigo, 2004.

The captions of the images reproduced in the printed media, have the characteristic of locating the places where the facts occur, placing the event in its historical context, naming those appearing in the scene (a trimmed, fragmented, subjectively reframed scene), situating ourselves before a rendition that might otherwise remain unintelligible, too abstract, or even too easily manipulated. In this way, we acquire additional information which has been filtered by the author or the media publishing it. This information comes surging from the author’s own experiences or ideology, even if only based on the fact of adequately showing the image and writing its succinct caption.

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