A path of complaints
Jenny Holzer, Eulàlia Valldosera, María Ruido, Dara Birnbaum and Alice Creischer accompany us on a journey marked by the domination and abuse of power of capitalism, taking a stand against a system that exploits women even more.
«The most exquisite pleasure is domination. Nothing can compare with the feeling». With incisive messages on social contradictions, sexuality, violence and the abusive logic of power, Jenny Holzer has turned language into her creative material. The Inflammatory Essays are deeply poetic and have great powers of suggestion, a very visual discursive mosaic.
«Plastic bottles containing household cleaning products are scattered on the floor in a random manner. The bottles stand against the ray of light of the slide projectors with empty carrousels, so that their shadows are projected onto the wall as enlarged silhouettes. Their profiles superimpose and combine with one another forming figures on the wall that recall the female body. They visualise various aspects of the relation mother-daughter, woman-wife-mother, woman-mother, archetypal concepts of femininity all of them, yet also suggesting other symbolic aspects such as woman-fairy or woman-seducer. In a corner of the room, an antique ceramic vessel forms an anamorphic profile next to images of other antique vessels from different cultures.» (Eulàlia Valldosera, 1996).
Drawing on an autobiographical episode that led her to take antidepressants for a while, María Ruido made a documentary that reinforces the thesis that, even in mental health, everything private is also public. In this sense, personal experience is the effect or outcome of a system for managing the path imposed by the capitalist regime. Estado de malestar denounces how this state of chronic sadness and of constant malaise is directly linked to the burden of job insecurity, eternal uncertainty, digital society and extreme individualism that we are driven to bear.
In a performative confrontation, Dara Birnbaum, armed with a 35mm still camera, takes a relatively fixed position as she tries to defend her territory. Meanwhile, four people attempt to penetrate her physical and mental space with the help of a super-8 camera. Both sets of images are then transferred to a third medium – video – and screened on two monitors. Attack Piece is construed as a metaphor of the role of the media, more specifically television, on the lives of viewers, but at the same time, the work makes a radical break with her predecessors by emphasising a gender position that would become an essential part of the artist's later work: the aggressors are all men, and the person being attacked is a woman.
Based on the work of Gustave Courbet, Alice Creischer uses a "real allegory" for planning the power structure of the "Republic of Berlin". Intensely narrative, her work is articulated around the search for instruments to visualise the forms, moments and situations in which the history of capitalism and its operating principles become stories of exploitation, exclusion and distortion of the fundamental principles of Western democracy.