Non Serviam (I Will Not Serve), 2014
Edition| Poster of a performance
97 x 68 cm
(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.
Lost in the city, exhibition that includes works from Cal Cego, at MACA
Works by Bern & Hilla Becher, Candida Höfer, Gregory Crewdson, Thomas Ruff and Frank Thiel, from Cal Cego Contemporary Art Collection, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Alacant
In the context of the exhibition Lost in the city, curated by Jose Miguel G. Cortés.
From 4 of July until 30 of October, 2017
Star of David-Hamburger Version, 2001
|Sculpture | Silver brass, NiCr coated glass, wood and paint
|45.8 x 99.5 x 99.5 cm
Hybrids between architecture and sculpture, metal structures with glass and tinted mirrors, at once transparent and reflective, Dan Graham installs his pavilions in public spaces, parks and cultural institutions. Their optical complexity crystallizes a complexity of relationships — between the watcher and the watched, between what is reflected and what remains invisible and hidden by the reflection, between the structure and the ambit inside it confined by the reflection — in which the viewer’s expectations are at once stimulated and frustrated, demonstrating how the forms of the city affect the behaviour of its citizens. Inside the pavilions, not only the movements of the viewers but any change in ambient conditions such as the intensity of the light or the temperature change their reading as subject and object are fused prismatically, and the discovery of oneself as viewer is directly related to the awareness that the pavilion appears to have of itself.
These structures arise out of a claim about the historicity of public space: from the gazebos in Baroque garden, from the teachings of Venturi and Scott Brown and, above all, from the book Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas, in which the urban is understood as a concatenation of spaces of entertainment. Notwithstanding these postmodern references, the language of the pavilions derives from the forms that minimalism adopted as a grammar: the basic cube comes from the lattice structure of the American city, from the minimum unit of the urban block reduced in scale. The same reduction also extends to the natural environment: Graham has spoken of how the pavilions adopt the forms of the setting sun in the paintings of Robert Mangold, of those situations that occur everyday at twilight in our big cities, when pollution turns the sky golden brown.
This succession of references also gives a semantic content to of the choice of the polarized mirror, that fundamental material of the urban landmarks of large corporations, which creates a singular effect of surveillance, transparent from inside and reflective on the outside, concealing the idea of economic production that takes place in their interior. If big business seeks to identify with nature by reflecting the sky, the pavilions reflect in contrast an active viewer conscious of these necessary contradictions in the reading of the city centre: the pavilions can be seen as the critical reverse of the situation of power looking out from the top of a skyscraper.
For Dan Graham, the model is of fundamental value in its own right, and not just an intermediate step in the completion of a work. In an architectural project, the model embodies a fantastic vision or an exercise in propaganda prior to the realization of a built work. In the field of art, within the economy of forms that the artist imposes, the model manifests the potential of the structure that will eventually be built: the body’s ability to undertake a spatio-temporal reading of a significant object, hybridizing aesthetic form and urban complex in the critical public space of the viewer’s gaze.
Respiración artificial / Performance / Eco oscuro, 2016
Artificial Respiration. Performance. Dark Echo (2016)
|Edition | Posters. MOREpublishers, Ghent
|89 x 59,4 cm. (x3 cm.)
These three posters were produced by MOREpublishers (Ghent) on the occasion of an individual exhibition by Dora García at the IVAM art centre in Valencia in 2016. The tripartite title of this show identifies each of the posters in a continuous narrative linked by a single image. The drawing represents two heads joined by a Möbius strip, in what is a recurring theme in the artist’s work: the identity in continual change, the fusing or merging of characters as well as the process ofsplitting, gender, the double or doppelgänger and more. There is also a utopian dimension in this drawing, inspired by an amphibious science-fiction imaginary.
Artificial Respiration is a performance in which a group of participants observes the city (Valencia; Madrid) by way of different audio recordings and transcripts. The outgoing text comprises more than three hundred entries in the form of verses or prayers, edited by the artist while maintaining the colloquial style of the original recordings. The technical description of the surroundings and the delayed transmission of the reality engender an instantaneous narrative: a writing and a reading without end producing a projection which, as in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, illuminates the understanding between two people, a writer and a reader, one recounting and the other listening. The piece takes its title from Respiración artificial, the homonymous novel by the Argentine writer Ricardo Piglia, who is embodied in the book by Emilio Renzi, his alter ego. This writer’s work is proof that virtually anything can be fictionalized. For example, the reading of theory or psychoanalysis, Lacan and Freud, as adventures of the adventures and misadventures of the subconscious. ‘Isn’t psychoanalysis a great fiction?’ Piglia asks. In the novel, history, research and politics are camouflaged in the artifice that is fiction. In the performance, two people alternately read out verses, interweaving fiction and reality.
Performance takes its inspiration from the film of the same name directed by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg in 1970, one of the most iconic of British ‘art’ films, in which the principal roles are played by Mick Jagger and James Fox. This is a work of ‘read theatre’ to be enacted by six actors or performers and is based on a script that I wrote as a colophon to my collaboration with the artist in the aforementioned exhibition at IVAM. Six scripts, one for each character, lie on the table until the actors periodically activate them. The script, which gives an account of the actuality of the multiple meanings of the term ‘performance’ (in art, dance, music and the experimental scene), is the continuation of one of the questions asked by the artist: Where do the characters go when the novel ends?
Third and last, Eco oscuro – Dark Echo– is the title of a novel by Francisco ‘Paco’ Baena in which the work of Dora García appears in fictionalized form and ends up determining the relationships between the different characters. These three collaborative pieces serve to generate a continuinarration that goes on and on and characterizes all of the artist’s production as a mechanism always open to the Other.