Six conflicts Brief tales of contemporary art
Depending on the points of departure or arrival, these six sessions will take us on a reflective journey that will help us establish brief tales on contemporary creation, necessarily open and always in relation to the political, economic and ideological conditions that originated them, thus determining their interpretation. We will talk about the role of art in the political and cultural imaginaries in Catalonia and Spain; about the body as a mirror of the complex processes of identity; about the analysis of the image as a battlefield for political merchandising; about the problematics of memory and its narrators; about the break-up of the representational limits of art.
Faced with an official interpretation of art linked to fantasy, more attention should be paid to those manifestations, debates and discourses that explore the real, can reveal the secret relations of things and catalyse the subtext of a historical moment and space. Many works of art are investigations on what could not be, on images that remained unseen: what artistic logic lies behind them?
On the other hand, faced with a history of art aimed at legitimising cultural products within the restrictions of museum consumerism, we need a history of art that reflects on the social function of artistic products and brings forward tools of interpretation that are more enriching than the strictly formal. We can do two things: analyse the work in order to find the cultural motives behind it, or explore the cultural motives first in order to understand how works of art are created and the role that they are given. We will concentrate on the second option.
Every Monday from 1 October to 5 November, 7.30 pm
Monday, 1 October
Vanishing point: Antoni Tàpies, Les quatre cròniques (The Four Chronicles), 1990, mixed media on wood, 251 x 600 cm. Collection of the Generalitat de Catalunya.
Starting with this work by Antoni Tàpies, commissioned by the Catalan Government for the Government Hall of the Palau de la Generalitat, we will trace the artistic and cultural imaginaries of the Catalan political body at the time of the democratic Transition and during the 1980s.
Monday, 8 October
Vanishing point: Work by Santiago Sierra for the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2000.
The controversial work by Santiago Sierra at the Venice Biennale, 2000, will allow us to construct a story on the role of contemporary art in Spanish cultural policy. We will explore the concept of post-modernity that came to the fore in the early eighties in order to illustrate the dominant interpretative model of the legacies of the past, and the articulating role of art and culture in the constitution of the new democracy and the new image of the country.
Monday, 15 October
Vanishing point: Eulàlia Valldosera, Embenatges (Bandages), performance, 1992.
The imaginary of the body in Spain has gone through some very well defined phases: the struggle for visibility, spectacle, hedonism, violence and limits. Often these imaginaries mirror themselves on those existing in other European contexts, but we can also find specificities related to the role of the image in social communication.
Wednesday, 17 October
Vanishing point: Toni Serra, Minnesota 1943, single-channel video, 1995.
In the early nineties, a new generation of video artists, inspired in part by some of the proposals of the sixties and seventies, radically changed the treatment of video in relation to the audiovisual universe of the individualised spectacle of the mass media. Thanks to these attitudes, a significant part of contemporary creation began to adopt certain political, aesthetic and philosophical arguments on the role of creation beyond institutionalised art.
Monday, 29 October
Vanishing point: Pedro G. Romero, Archivo F.X. (F.X. Archive FX), 1999–
The conversion of memory into past promoted by a significant part of modern thought has produced some intense reflections on the function of historical documents. As the German philosopher Walter Benjamin pointed out, ‘not all past takes place in the past; part of it involves the way of resisting the impostures of the present, not as an archive or grave, but as a struggle against that habit of filling everything with signs to clear away men and women’.’ At the same time, the re-emergence of images – immediately turned into past – in the digital universe often leads to a false homogenisation of the original function of images and the motives that generated them.
Monday, 5 November
Vanishing point 1: Rogelio López Cuenca, Intervenció a l’Expo92 de Sevilla (Intervention at the Seville Expo92), elements of signage, 1992.
Infiltrations, camouflages, confusions: artistic techniques at the service of the short-circuit of naturalistic logic. We will search actions and interventions in artistically non-codified spaces, designed to act as a vaccine against the nature of the image, increasingly destined to lie and deceive.
Jorge Luis Marzo (Barcelona 1964). Art historian, curator, writer and lecturer. Recent exhibitions: El d_efecte barroc. Polítiques de la imatge hispana (The Baroque D_effect. Politics of the Hispanic Image), 2010–2011; Low-Cost. Lliures o còmplices (Low-Cost: Free or Accomplices), 2009; Spots electorals. L'espectacle de la democràcia (Political Ads. The Spectacle of Democracy), 2008; Hem prées la ràdio (We've Taken the Radio), 2006–2007; Tour-ismes. La derrota de la dissensió (Tour-isms. The Defeat of Dissension), 2004; Indivisuals, 2002; En el lado de la TV (On the Side of TV), 2002; El cor de les tenebres (Heart of Darkness), 2002. Recent publications: La memoria administrada. El barroco y lo hispano (Administered Memory: The Baroque and the Hispanic) 2010; ¿Puedo hablarle con libertad, excelencia? Arte y poder en España desde 1950 (May I Speak Freely, Your Excellency? Art and Power in Spain since 1950), 2010; Spots electorals. L'espectacle de la democràcia (Political Ads. The Spectacle of Democracy), 2008; Arte Moderno y Franquismo. Los orígenes conservadores de la vanguardia y de la política artística en España (Modern Art and the Franco Regime. The Conservative Origins of the Avant-garde and Art Politics in Spain), 2008; Fotografía y activismo social (Photography and Social Activism), 2006; Me, Mycell and I. Tecnología, movilidad y vida social (Me, Mycell and I: Technology, Mobility and Social Life), 2003.
Tel. (+34) 93 481 46 81
programespublics [at] macba [dot] cat