A Hesitate Sun, 2007
|Painting | Oil on canvas|
|101 x 134 cm|
|Drawing | Composition of 6 drawings, mixed media on paper, framed in plexiglass vitrine and table (optional)
|85 x 100 x 75 cm
These are drawings done with a pencil, at once defined and unconcluded: a practice, that of drawing, which for Dauder is a parallel process, often on the fringes of the larger finished pieces. Drawing is a more primary exercise, out of which latent or buried aspects arise and are released. Drawing is experienced as an activity that is necessary for the creative process to take its course, to order impulses, to distil and visualize, from close to and from a distance, to study and reflect, even if the resulting compositions often have no specific function or destination. Some drawings are spontaneous and fast, others slow and worked on in different phases.
In the last analysis, the mystery posed by these drawings is the ability of the artist’s hand to be a channel of transmission and a translator of retinal impressions, of traces of memory, of the unequal accumulation of memories. By means of drawing, these elements may surface again in new configurations, transformed by their more or less prolonged passage through the neuronal circuits. New figures and images emerge, which in turn feed new cycles of perceptual impressions and assimilations traces that will be translated into who knows what new configurations by the hands of who knows what other artist. The fact is that when all is said and done we are pieces in a great chain of transmission of which the drawing is an occasional record, a link that fixes an instant of this tireless dynamism.
Patricia Dauder trained as an artist in Barcelona and Holland in the 1990s. Since then, her practice has evolved coherently in the fields of drawing, sculpture, film and the artist’s book and, to a lesser extent, photography. Her pieces are the result of slow and intuitive working processes, in which formal exploration guided by intuition and chance plays a significant part. The concept of montage is also of central importance to Dauder: her pieces often end up adopting a composite form, as sets of several elements that are closely related to one another.
Although many of Dauder’s works have as their starting point the observation of her real immediate physical environment, it often happens that, in the course of the creative process, the figurative often retreats almost to the point of disappearing, becoming a mere trace or a barely perceptible trail. And, in her practice, the idea of “trace” is linked to depth, a recurring element that Dauder explores through methods such as layering, surface scraping and the emptying out of volumes. Similarly, in her film works and in her books, the temporal dimension marked by the rhythm of contemplation which these formats demand becomes an element of exploration, through which Dauder effectively expands the meaning potential of her pieces.
Acciones en Mataró (Actions in Mataró), 2002
18 x 13 cm
The project Acciones en Mataró / Actions in Mataró (2003) by David Bestué and Marc Vives has a significant place in their career, in that it generated a methodology and an aesthetic attitude that marks the beginning and development of their work together up to 2012.
The two artists’ relationship, which dates from their time at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Barcelona, was consolidated in Olla de Grills / Potful of Crickets (2002), a noisy, not to say chaotic presentation superintended by Marta Darder as an end-of-year project for the Art Criticism course.
At that time, the two artists set out to rethink all they had read about the art world and their own personal myths in the context of the culture of the nineteen nineties. The influence of figures such as Gabriel Orozco and Félix González Torres and their fascination with the actions of Fischli & Weiss, with the souvenirs of Carlos Pazos, with Situationist practices or with the potential of the Theatre of the Absurd supplied the critical mechanisms with which to lay the foundations of an aesthetic personality that could evolve without losing the initial attitude: art is not an antidote to the truth, but a provisional resource of return to meaning, in David Bestué’s words.
Actions in Mataró initiated a model of production based on the carrying out and recording of actions, in this case in the street, in the form of minimal ephemeral interventions in and on benches, windows, doors or points in the urban fabric. In all of them there is a narrative about personal mythology and uncontrolled subjectivities. The actions are not visual statements or messages in the unidirectional and semiotically straightforward sense of the term, nor are they interpretations, understood as subsidiary forms of truth; still less are they axioms of or for nothing. The narrative strategy posits two speeds of reading, setting out from an apparently ingenuous gesture to arrive in the sum of its moments at a more complex hypothesis: is art an everyday experience and life an alienated experience? Intuitive and sceptical in manner, deploying the strategy of irony and underpinned by the power of ridicule, the actions are breviaries of their relations with art, the city, sexuality, myths, perversions or enigmas.
The evolution of the actions is effected between chance and reflection but they are never spontaneous gestures. Actions in Mataró amounts to a rereading of the public space from its own particular imaginary. The process involves the design of each intervention, an action and its visual archive. Nothing here is facile or random. Finally, the sum of times and places constructs a project in various formats: action, photography and publication. This structure, with the addition of the video format, will be continued in subsequent chapters of the actions in the home, the body and the universe.
In the dérive between personal moments and social models, the actions take place in a continuous present, which the artists visualize without resorting to grand gestures. The characteristic scenario of precariousness combines with the economy of means to invite speculation, never any affirmation of order. It should be noted that in the project carried out in Mataró there was an unmediated relationship with the public, who in some cases took part in the actions, and also that the first presentation of the project was in an unofficial venue, the studio of the artist Ita Puig, by way of the ACM association, which invited the artists to take part in the Visions de Futur / Future Visions event. The subsequent publication is a joint-venture non-commercial project with the Fundació 30 km/s.
Actions in Mataró is a preliminary exploration of the concept of the spectacle that the artists have gone on to develop in other works. Taking fiction as a paradigm and everyday situations and objects that tend to go unnoticed because they are so routine and banal as the starting point, the artists merge formalization and play with language in a scenographic recreation of the city.
Un segundo de horizonte (One second of Horizon), 2010
Installation | Laser line 360 degrees
With One Second of Horizon Wilfredo Prieto initiated a series of pieces in which he explored the genre of landscape from his own perspective. It was the centrepiece of the exhibition Negro, Mate, Seco/Black, Matte, Dry, presented at the Nogueras Blanchard gallery in Barcelona in 2009. On entering the space we found various objects that could be used in the construction industry: a flashlight, a helmet, a match or a level. It is this last element that produces One Second of Horizon — a laser line of 360° that is traced on the walls of the exhibition space, evoking an evening landscape, and embracing all of the other pieces. As people entered and walked around the space, there would be a moment when the laser hit them in the eyes and dazzled them, creating a parallel with that second in which we observe the rising or setting sun.
The laser level is set up in plain view, at random. The artist recreates a symbolic landscape that is also an environment which places the audience in a work setting, in an ‘in pass’ between the previous action and an action yet to come. It feels as if something has been left half done, or something is about to begin. As in much of Prieto’s work, the poetic play arises from the conceptual shock produced by juxtaposing two radically different realities. On the basis of construction materials and their positioning in the space and the viewer’s reading of these a landscape is created. It could be said that one of the basic elements of Prieto’s approach is the imagination, used as a driving force of creation and as a spring through which the eloquence of the gesture generates new moments and spaces. By way of these minimal gestures of maximum impact Prieto generates new readings and unexpected interpretations that subtly break with the standardized and normative.
As in most of his works, the artist here assumes the role of an observer of reality, an explorer and researcher of the everyday, his function reduced almost to pointing out and highlight certain aspects of the world, modifying their significance by means of small gestures that dislocate the perspective of reason. Prieto seems to intervene less and less in his work, in order to leave more room for the viewer. Since this work, Prieto has continued to explore the landscape tradition with works such as Constructivist and Deconstructivist Meadow Seen from the Sofa at Home with One’s Feet on the Table or Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, both from 2011. In these works he is once again in the realms of those personal landscapes fashioned from everyday objects taken out of context, which prompt us to imagine possible new scenarios.
(Sancti Spíritus, Cuba, 1978)
Wilfredo Prieto’s work moves along intersecting paths that draw from various artistic traditions of the last few decades such as Minimalism, Arte Povera and Conceptual Art, but take these into a realm that is all his own. By means of minimal gestures and the use of everyday materials, Prieto engages acutely and poetically with complex aspects of contemporary reality. His projects may be realized as tiny sculptures or as large installations — often deployed on the floor of the exhibition space — which characteristically make a strong impression on the viewer and set us to reflecting on subjects such as courage, desire, consumerism, power relations and the impact of economic and political fluctuations, issues that go beyond the immediately contextual to point to questions of a philosophical and global nature.
In his practice, the artist is a kind of observer of reality, an explorer and investigator of the everyday whose function is reduced almost to pointing out and highlight certain aspects of the world, modifying their significance by means of small gestures that dislocate the perspective of reason and suggest new readings. Over and above accumulating objects in the studio, the dynamic is centred on observing reality and identifying spaces and objects that have the capacity to generate alternative reading. Our expectations as viewers are brought into play, and we take on an active role through our ability to read, understand and relate. We go home in meditative mood, aware that in this small displacement of the real something has occurred that leaves us feeling uneasy. Prieto’s is an art that can be read quickly but must be digested slowly.