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RWM Specials: FONS AUDIO #27 Jordi Colomer

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Ràdio Web MACBA

Jordi Colomer studied Art at EINA, Art History at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and Architecture at the Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura de Barcelona, all in the context of the progressive Barcelona of the eighties.

After a brief foray into abstract painting he soon began to experiment with the possibilities of a type of sculpture that expanded into the fields of set design and architecture. Works from this period include 24 Goldfish inacabats, Frase (Der Wachtturm) and Como en casa, all dating from 1991, which are a kind of unintended trilogy in the form of a critical repertory of domestic-bourgeois situations and objects that are on the brink of extinction.

These works already show one of the interests that would keep coming up throughout Colomer's career: the questioning of the role and the position of the spectator in the exhibition space and in relation to the works.

Then there is El lloc i les coses (1996), which is a kind of scenography—essay on the vices and virtues of rationalist architecture and of museum spaces.

These works are part of a first stage that could be described, in aesthetic terms, as a vehicle for a very physical minimalism put together out of poor, fragile, strangely familiar materials.

From 1996 onwards, Colomer started to use video as a medium, introducing the elements of narrative, fiction and the human figure into his work. In 1997 he presented his first video installation in an especially built site-specific screening room at MACBA: Simo (1997) is a tragic-burlesque story about our paradoxical relationships with objects, and it took Colomer one step further in his exploration of the limits and properties of exhibition spaces.

Other cinematic micro-narratives from this stage include Pianito (1999), Les Jumelles (2001) and Le Dortoir (2002), which were produced during a period when Colomer created highly elaborate sets in which the setting totally determines the behaviour of the characters.

To counter this, in 2001 Colomer began to feel the need to take his 'actors' into the streets and allow them to interact with reality and contaminate it with fiction. His scenographic research opened up to urban space, exploring the many different stages on which social life is played out (neighbourhoods, roads, deserts, rooftops, etc.) This stage of his work revolves around journey-works such as Anarchitekton (2002-2004), a travelling project involving four major global cities (Barcelona, Bucharest, Brasilia, Osaka), in which the individual actions of one character (Idroj Sanicne) encapsulate the possibilities for poetic survival in the contemporary city.

Other pieces from this period include NOFTURE (Le Havre, 2004), Cinecito (Havana, 2006), En la Pampa (Atacama desert, Chile, 2008) and Avenida Ixtapaluca (Houses for Mexico) (Mexico, 2009).

Jordi Colomer has created set designs for works by Joan Brossa, Samuel Beckett and Valère Novarina, and one for an opera by Robert Ashley. He currently lives and works between Barcelona and Paris.

He has participated in numerous solo and group shows in Spain and internationally, including: Prototips ideals at Espai 10, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona (1986); Gold-fishes at the Shedhalle Rote Fabrik, Zurich (1992); Arabian Stars at Espacio 1, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2005); Jordi Colomer at the Jeu de Paume, Paris (2008); and Prohibido cantar / No Singing. Obra didáctica sobre la fundación de una ciudad paradisíaca at Matadero Madrid, Madrid (2012).

Timeline

00:30 1991: Frase (Der Wachtturm), Como en casa and 24 Goldfish inacabats. Pieces from a domestic scenography.
04:02 Alta comèdia (1993) and Teatro Maravillas (1995). Inhabited scenographies. The shift from the stage to the city.
06:00 El lloc i les coses (1996). The reinvention of the architectural model.
07:32 Simo (1997). The sculptor: Sisyphus in the white cube.
12:05 Simo . The roles of the spectator.
13:05 Simo . Simon, the hermit of the desert.
14:15 Simo . Burlesque, Beckett and silent cinema.
15:36 Collective creation processes.
17:31 From Le dotoir (2002) to Anarchitekton (2002-2004)
19:22 Anarchitekton. Barcelona. The city limits.
20:23 Anarchitekton. Bucharest. Urban planning and dictatorship.
21:20 Anarchitekton. Brasília. Another modern utopia.
22:17 Anarchitekton. Osaka. Behind the neon lights.
22:32 Anarchitekton. Jordi Colomer versus Idroj Sanicne. On performers and artists.
25:00 Anarchitekton. Precedents: Père Coco y algunos objetos perdidos en 2001 (2002).
25:57 Anarchitekton. Architectural models: an ephemeral life.
28:56 Anarchitekton. The characters take the streets.

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