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November 2019
by Margot Cuevas

What if the one that got away came back


Gallery Weekend returns to Barcelona once again, this is its fifth edition, and we were in need a bit of adrenaline after the rentrée in September with Art Nou. Full of proposals and activities to see, I am going to take one of these good coffees to look at the map of all the galleries and think of a possible route. I would not know where to start. Maybe in the bedroom of Casa Vicens.

“Scales” is the exhibition curated by Susana Corchia at the Casa Vicens where six works by different artists represented by the participating galleries inhabit the architecture of Gaudí for a month; who would not do it. The tuning of materials such as iron, wood, ceramics or stone come together between the works and the house, a dialogue on matter, almost chameleonic. The walls embrace and welcome the works of Jean Denant, Maria Pratts, Francesco Arena, Vanesa Muñoz, Marc Larré and Jordi Mitjà. It is perhaps in the main bedroom of the house where this combination comes together with Jordi Mitjà’s “Precarious monument with disabled coins”, where two zinc-plated pieces are intertwined as two lovers. I wonder how many things have these walls seen, how many hugs, how many conversations, how many happy moments and not so happy? I leave Casa Vicens with a feeling of warmth and tenderness, I think I need more coffee.

Thinking about the time and memory that keep the scales of Casa Vicens I am going to go to Hospitalet, at Nogueras Blanchard, where Alfredo Rodríguez (ft. Juliana Cerqueira Leite) presents the first chapter, “Love”, of the cycle “The Swamp of Forever” curated by Carlos Fernández-Pello. In this cycle, time unfolds in four aspects, first love, followed by coincidence, the standard and the origin. I have always thought that love and coincidence go hand in hand. Here, time and memory condense in a body that is like a swamp, a body with the history of an ecosystem in process. A utopian body, or rather a ruthless place. Alfredo Rodríguez’s photographs make the body an equivocal presence, an expanded flesh, where only love, like a mirror, places the body in the here again.

Suddenly comes into the gallery Erick Beltrán’s traveling “big head”, which is part of the “Compositions” program curated by Juan Canela for the Gallery Weekend. In this character the figures of “head” and “no-one” are recovered that are represented like the double-headed of Janus the Roman. As he walks through the space he distributes a newspaper that contains a visual essay on the speculation of the city and how it affects and redefines the territory, the objects and the citizens. He approaches me and gives me a newspaper, and stares at me for a long time, waiting for me to say something to him, as if we knew each other.

On my way home I think of visiting the new Alalimón gallery, where there is the exhibition by Rocío Verdejo “Allegory to memory”. The whole route is having a certain melancholic air, as if I was thinking of a forgotten body or had to remember something. The space is staged with a floral installation, a projection and photographs that evoke an ethereal figure, there is a certain dreamlike sensation that blurs the atmosphere.

When I go up the stairs to look at the artist’s books that are in the entrance to the gallery, I find myself again with the “Big head”. But this time his bicephal head was in his hands as the performer was preparing to enter. And we recognized ourselves when we met in the gaze. Yes, we knew each other indeed. He presented us with an algorithm some time ago. Maths has never been my thing.

Text by Margot Cuevas for GRAF. Margot is curator and researcher.