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Bestué -Vives

Acciones en Casa (Actions at Home), , 2005

Video | colour | sound






“Acciones en casa” (Actions at Home) is a continuation of the first Bestué/Vives joint project “Acciones en Mataró” (Actions in Mataró). This time they move their set inside a flat in the Eixample neighbourhood of Barcelona and change the format from book to video. The work consists of a succession of very spontaneous scenes in which Marc and David act out more than a hundred improbable, absurd or simply impossible situations. The first is “Stealing a plant from the vestibule and showing it on the balcony” (in which they do precisely that), and this is followed by others such as “Risking your life” (where one of them walks across a slippery wet floor) and “Using the microwave as a little light” (in which one of them reads a book by the light of a microwave oven with its door open). There is a certain narrative thrust throughout the video which, one way or another, manages to make each action shift to the next along something like logical lines. This is a carefully premeditated work in which everything is perfectly calculated, and it uses strategies that reveal a great knowledge of film language. Nonetheless, the video eschews impeccable performance, forced lighting or any other detail that might distract interpretation of the work from its unquestionable domestic aesthetic.

A lot of these actions contain notable references to the recent history of art, with visual commentary on the 20th century’s iconic works. Hence, the complex structure of “Sink fountain” is directly linked with Jean Tinguely’s sculptures, thereby constituting a comment on meta-mechanical Dadaism and kinetic art. “Falling yogurt” sketches a perfect reticulated structure and clearly refers to minimalist aesthetics and post-conceptual art. The work as a whole is in turn indebted to projects like Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s famous film The Way Things Go (1987), and the work of Roman Signer.

“Actions at Home” ponders how a succession of domestic exercises, in which only the protagonists are involved, can be transformed into an immense parable on the role of art and its capacity for questioning things. It might well be understood as an exercise in listing, a way of ordering and classifying all of these actions and the interpretations they give rise to. Again, it recalls the importance of one’s own experience and the emotional involvement of both artist and public. A successive and superimposed string of readings is made on the basis of registering small feats. Armed only with their inventiveness and a marked sense of precariousness, Bestué and Vives generate a flow of camaraderie with the spectator that modifies and expands the way art is read. The work demonstrates how the artist’s (and, by extension, anyone’s) discrete and humble actions can engender a chain of events that has a great impact on the way in which we are supposed to see life.


Ferran Barenblit