Còpies, 2000 - en procés

Copies, 2000 - en procés
Installation, Variable dimensions

Oriol Vilanova belongs to a generation of artists that are interested in the re-reading of the past and its not always evident ideological processes. He collects postcards bought in second-hand markets showing museum galleries, public monuments and military portraits, among others, which he then uses to put forward an idea of the past that is taxonomic and encyclopaedic but also imposed and hierarchical. Using a resource as basic as distance and repetition applied to universal symbols of triumph is a very efficient practice against the unambiguous and misleading accounts of power.

Còpies is centred on the triumphal arch, a reoccurring icon and monumental construction for the commemoration of military victories. Vilanova has collected 1,181 postcards of triumphal arches bought in second-hand markets throughout the world. The author presents the work as an open ‘collection, group or archive’ that increases with the incorporation of new postcards. Some of these arches no longer exist; others are still used with pride by non-democratic regimes that see military commemorations as part of the collective memory and history. The large series of triumphal arches gathered by Vilanova represents the exercise of power typical of Western culture, with its heroic deeds and victories. It is a standardised model that has expanded as a copy.

The collection of postcards is at once an account of the history of photography and of the modern gaze: from its beginnings to the present, the large series of triumphal arches shows the changes in photographic techniques, format and compositional criteria. The work is closely related to another by the same artist: John, 2012, a sculpture of six half-open wooden doors giving access and leading the gaze toward Còpies. It is a minimalist work conceived as a cabinet of curiosities. The title refers to the well-known English collector John Soane (1753–1837).

Technical details

Original title:
Registration number:
Vilanova, Oriol
Date created:
2000 - en procés
Date acquired:
Being restored
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Postcards. Various materials
Variable dimensions
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation. Work purchased thanks to Agrolimen
© Oriol Vilanova
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

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Guided tour of the work Còpies (2000-in progress) by Oriol Vilanova, with Joan Ramon Resina
Oriol Vilanova recites 'Còpies'.
FONS ÀUDIO #23. Oriol Vilanova