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September 2020 – Barcelona Gallery Weekend – Artévete Program
by Gisela Chillida Espinosa

To inaugurate my BGW route, I enter The Imaginary Museum displayed at ProjecteSD, an invitation to explore the connections between the works -drawing, sculpture, painting, photography, text- by Patricia Dauder, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Dora García, Ana Jotta , Jochen Lempert, Marc Nagtzaam, Peter Piller and Xavier Ribas, Isidoro Valcárcel Medina and Daan van Golden. In there, I wander between a David somewhat more tanned than usual, another equally toned torso and what could be a prehistoric figure or a satellite in the vastness of outer space, I walk between landscapes that could be beaches that end at a foot from Courbet and a subtle curved line that turns the wing of a ratchet signed by Dürer into a colorful feather headdress.   ‘Art         is here             again’: I read in the tripartite painting by Isidoro Valcárcel Medina.

I leave the museum imagined by André Malraux and continue on my way to the Herstory Museum that occupies the (almost) new ADN space. The project She, the eye, the finger, the hand, curated by Alexandra Laudo, brings together the work of three artists with very different trajectories but who approach artistic practice to criticize the canons and visual stereotypes both in the history of art and in popular imagery. A look that observes and possesses, finger that points and selects, hand that makes and transforms. For Margaret Harrison, María María Acha-Kutscher and Núria Güell, the feminist position is inseparable from other subaltern struggles such as the labor movement, decolonial practices, anti-racism or queer theory. Therefore, they trust the possibility of reformulating these narratives through the incorporation of dissident voices and non-hegemonic stories.

With my sight already dazed, I decide to close my eyes and let myself be guided by the other senses. Can the exhibition stop being an encyclopedic essay to become an organoleptic device? Blindly, I change the scale and zoom into A Landscape with Marina in Àngels Barcelona -the latest project by Mabel Palacín developed together with the architect Mirko Mejetta and which also has the collaboration of Maia Koenig, an Argentine experimental multi-artist and the South African painter Jake Aikman- where I reactivate the value of touch and taste. There, “We hear, then we see”. Still with my eyes half open, I walk up to Bombon Projects. Writings for the sighted skin by Anna Dot is an exhibition dedicated to the tired gaze with the desire to offer you a pause, stimulating the body and inviting it to dance, allowing it to be guided by the skin. I lightly touch the walls while guiding myself with white canes.

I go out and I keep dancing. This time, on top of the dead who rest under a church converted into a party room. I am now at EtHall. There, in the basement, everything seems to be even darker: mines, cemeteries, crypts, sewers … Places where you can neither see nor be seen. In Deaden the Deadened, Eulàlia Rovira calls us to descend below our feet so that we find ourselves with layers and layers of sediment that separate us from other worlds. To get to the bottom of things you have to let yourself fall. And hitting rock bottom is also what allows us to push ourselves forward.

I then take a run-up. I jump hard and cross the line of land until I reach the street: a place to see and be seen, a place to participate in world affairs, a place for order, health, leisure and civitas. I meander to Fundació Arranz-Bravo. In Joan Pallé’s Negativeland 2 everything seems to burn: a 5G tower, cars, policemen, buildings … protests that disturb a hierarchical and oppressive social order with an act that literally and metaphorically consumes itself, explosions of uncontrolled public violence in opposition to a cruel optimism, street riots against a global, patriarchal, colonialist, heteronormative capitalism, zero-level revolutionary insurgency that arises from the feeling that we must “do something”, a blind and desperate act of those who have been excluded from the political-social space and want to make its presence manifest through a passage a l’àcte that admits its own impotence: like it or not, we are here. We are the problem. No matter how much you wish to not see us.

 

Text by Gisela Chillida Espinosa for GRAF. Gisela is curator and art critic.

 

Editorial note: In the exhibitions of this route you will find artworks that are part of Artévete, a program of Barcelona Gallery Weekend to promote affordable collecting. This year, from today until September 26th, registration is open to participate in a raffle of three prizes – € 2,000 each – in order to acquire any of the artworks in the program. More information at www.artevete.com.