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Being an Artist

Conceptualism, land art, feminism or Minimalism

When artists are deemed to be affiliated to certain movements, the breath and complexity of their approaches and works are often underappreciated.

Eulàlia Grau, Antoni Miralda, Fina Miralles, Antoni Muntadas, Carlos Pazos, Joan Rabascall, Àngels Ribé, Benet Rossell and Francesc Torres defy easy labeling and address the issue of the importance of the observer. This is a selection of artists that have been featured in a MACBA publication and whose work can be seen until 6 June in the exhibition In Real Time. The Rafael Tous Collection of Conceptual Art.

Teresa Grandas: Eulàlia, neither golden nor angels
In an article about Cancionero, Eulàlia alluded to the loaded dice with which we gamble our fate and ends by asking: ‘I ara digue’m tu: per a qui és l’art?’ [Now you tell me: who is art for?]. By asking whom art is for, she was questioning the spectator and appealing to a broader audience, the general public.
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José Luis Gallero: Miraldian Chronotopography Accompanied by critical documentation and biographical accounts
“I’ll always remember Manfred Schneckenburger, the director of Documenta 6, asking me, ‘So you are a participatory artist?’ That was when I found out what I was.” MIRALDA, 1988.
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Tamara Díaz Bringas: Becoming a Part of Something Greater (Countering a Pedagogy of Externality) 
I was lucky to have manual parents, I touched everything. My mother would say to me: ‘Fina, you’ve got a little eye in each finger.’
Handwritten text, Cadaqués, October 1994, in Maia Creus (ed.), Fina Miralles. Paraules fértils, vol. 1, p. 99.
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Anne Bénichou: An Ecology of Artistic Work: the Project, the Experiment and the Context. An Interview with Muntadas
I would like to emphasise the question of time. I undertake projects without knowing how much time they’re going to take and I give them the time needed for the work to get done. I think this time scale is very important, especially in a period when everything happens so fast: we are given three months to prepare a biennial, six months for an exhibition. For me, this concept of the project is very important; it institutes a way of working in the long term and generates a set-up that is ready when it is ready.
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Carlos Pazos: Perhaps at heart, I didn’t even want to be an artist
“I have never felt that my dedication to art was written into my genes. I am neither an artist by vocation nor am I gifted. I am an artist by sheer will, I am an artist by decision, by the stubborn resolve to turn myself into someone with a certain idea of risk, someone radically useless, convinced that one must not avoid making a fool of oneself: to be prepared to die with one’s boots on. I am talking about my role in society.”
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Pilar Parcerisas: Critical Essay on Capital as Spectacle
The work, shorn of all expressivity and emotion, no longer represents but rather is presented, cloaked in potential irony. Its effectiveness will rely on the interpretative skill of the viewer. Duchamp had already said that it is the viewer who completes the creative act.
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Teresa Grandas: The Poetics of Resistance
“In the case of the performance, the work no longer seeks to make an artistic entity of the object, but is rather the presence of both the artist and the spectator, who incorporate a subjective factor into the development of an action taking place within the marked limits of space and time. […] It is, in fact, an attempt to understand the work as something not necessarily durable.”
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Jean-Clarence Lambert: Benet Rossell, artor. Or How and Why We Met in Paris Nearly Thirty Years Ago
“Certainly, the artistic activity of the second half of the twentieth century, if we consider it overall, was experimental, mainly experimental. Triumphantly so. It used audacity and tranquility, negation and provocation. And often, very often, it appeared caught up in the spin of the new and a headlong flight from the old.”
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Francesc Torres: The Hermetic Bell Space for a Non-transferable Anthropology
All this to say that what is really fundamental about art from an anthropological point of view or from the point of view of human behaviour, which are one and the same thing, is not that the art is necessarily excellent but that it is done, full stop.
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