From May 9 to September 24, 2024

After an early period in which he focused on the material nature of fiction by producing sculpture-objects, Jordi Colomer took what he had learned out onto the streets to multiply the connections between imagination and reality. This shift raised numerous questions that recurred in his later work: mobility and nomadism, provisionality and peripherality, the popular imaginary and humour, community and utopia.

Façana Foto Festa Futur Fideus presents an extensive survey of Colomer’s work in numerous genres – sculpture, collage, photography, video, installations and live actions – from the late 1980s to the present day. This large selection of works is not intended to explain the artist’s evolution over the course of his career so much as to delve into those aspects that enable us to view it as a unitary whole.

To achieve this, we will be examining the performing dimension of his body of work, in which the illusory and the real converge in a continuous and complex back-and-forth. Most of the works in the exhibition are site-specific productions in a number of cities around the world, among them Barcelona, Bucharest, Sanaa, Mexico City, Istanbul, Tétouan, Modena, Palermo and Buenos Aires. In these locations, Colomer mounted a set of actions on diverse scales. In some instances, the event featured single actor, as in Anarchitekton (2002-04), No? Future!(2006) and Medina Parkour(2014). On other occasions, he called on particular communities, exemplified by Abecedario argentino(2023), and he frequently summoned citizens as a group, as can be seen in Crier sur les toits(2011), New Palermo Felicissima(2018) and Modena Parade/Corteo Modenese(2022). In all these cases, they were events – sometimes on a small scale, at other times more spectacular, such as parades, festivals and movements – in which the collective discovered new tools to address crucial questions. How and where are communities built? Who are their actors? What are their timeframes? How are their imaginaries constructed? Façana Foto Festa Futur Fideus. If, for now, just one letter is capable of all this, what might a whole alphabet bring us?

The exhibition consists of scenes organised in a succession that flouts the notion of chronological order. While the bulk of the exhibits were made after 2002 – when Colomer began to opt for street settings – various sculpture-objects produced in earlier decades are dotted in among them to emphasise the ‘theatricality’ that runs through his oeuvre. Pieces such as Nova Opereta (1992) and Maravillas (fragment) (1995-2004) already point to the power of fabulation which, now on a new scale, went on to fuel the utopian impulse that permeates later works, among them L’Avenir (2011), X-Ville (2015) and ¡Únete! Join Us! (2017). The material nature of fiction is not only emphasised in his early pieces but also takes on real form when it is transposed to the street setting, either through easy gestures (STANDARD MEX, 2019) or collective rituals (LaReMiLa Festa de la roba bruta, 2014). Consequently, the works in this cardboard museum can be regarded as an unusual exercise in prefiguration: that mode of direct action that tests possibilities in real time and in specific places. Fabulation thus becomes political by asserting that we can discuss collective life even as it is being imagined and pursued.

In order to present this ‘performing dimension’ capable of prefiguring another life, another communal model and another possible city effectively, Colomer’s adapts his work, as the exhibition shows, to the places, times and media he deems most suitable. His preferred settings are those that contain a considerable degree of ambiguity, enabling them to be reconfigured by the imagination. Urban outskirts (Avenida Ixtapaluca (Houses for México) [2009], Poble Nou [2013] and Anarchitekton [2002-04]), rooftops (The Istanbul Map, 2010) and even the desert (En la pampa, 2008) are places with sufficient entropic energy to speed up their transformation. Similarly, just as a happening can only experience the real time of its staging, in Colomer’s works the past and the future are nothing but fragments of fiction that feed a present collage. Remote utopian dreams of the Spanish Civil War (Prototips 1, 2004) and fun traditions that have fallen into abeyance (the festivities of Norwegian students in Svartlamon Parade, 2014) act as possible effective stimuli for the new event. With regard to the means and tools with which to consummate the reunion between possibility and imagination, the resources multiply. Festive and humorous aspects suspend the ordinary order (Svartlamon Parade2014), speakers urge us to experience new situations (No? Future!, 2006), slogans incite us to undertake unprecedented actions (Crier sur les toits, 2011) and models relocate the established (Anarchitekton, 2002-04).

Façana Foto Festa Futur Fideus brings together very disparate works, presented in an organic (dis)orderly manner, thereby encouraging permeability between different geographies, narratives and objects. The projects co-exist in an environment in which simultaneity, fragility and a diversity of routes reinforce each other in a kind of travelling urbanism typical of fairs and other temporary edifices. An exhibition, as if made of card, that ensures that each of its scenes retains the potential to continue agitating our ways of life.

Three new works have been produced for this exhibition: Abecedario argentinoSpanish Coast and El Balcó.

Artist

Jordi Colomer

Curated by

Martí Peran