The illusion of far west in Thyssen Museum Madrid

 

 

 

Sitting Bull, Billy the Kid, dusty plains with herds of buffalo, wild horses scanning the horizon and the paradisiac waterfalls... The exhibition "Illusion of the Far West" is a myth and a romantic enthusiasm, and a topical and colonizing argument, too but it presses the appropriate key to leave us, once again, shocked because of its landscapes, the dignity of the wild Indians, their communion with the most exuberant nature, its connection with all powerful gods... and with how those all discoveries of the painters and artists of the nineteenth century ended up going through the filter of the market and cinema, transforming those "noble savages" into a parody of misery, in the story of a disappearance announced.

 

 

 

 

The exhibition, curated by the artist Miguel Angel Blanco, brings together more than 200 pieces including paintings, photographs, prints, books, comics, movie posters, ethnographic pieces ... and so resembles a curio cabinet that blends art pieces and objects, "treasures" of that nature (precious stones, weapons, fossils, turtle shells, ...). As Guillermo Solana, director of the museum, has explained "it is a time when museums are too predictable, we have wanted to go up to that time when there was no division between art and nature, and where fantasy and reality go hand by hand. A moment in which the Indian territory had already been occupied and most of its inhabitants exterminated with their cultural traditions ".

 

 

 

 

Early Spanish explorers during the sixteenth century, the first contact with native tribes, landscapes and photographs of artists of the nineteenth and Thomas Hill, Henry Lewis, Albert Bierstadt, Carleton E. Watkins, they marked an exciting episode in the history Art, being the eyes that saw the exoticism and grandeur of the new conquered lands and its inhabitants for the first time. Another part of the exhibition is dedicated to the Indian chiefs, with their headdresses, body-painting and their objects of power. For the first time in Spain we can see the famous portraits by George Catlin and Karl Bodmer, Sitting Bull, Geronimo and Joseph - they offered themselves to record their image and power. Edward S. Curtis was the author of the photographic series The American Indian, a controversial and valuable artistic and ethnographic legacy, today largely lost, from which they have been selected multiple images. Curtis portrayed Indian Chiefs when they went to the capital to try to keep the rights of their peoples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the curator of the exhibition, has presented a set of book-boxes from his Forest Library made with materials from the territories of the American West. Until 7 February at the Thyssen Museum in Madrid we can stroll through the political, military and strategic US history, and take a tour of building his own legend as a nation. The rest of the world have drunkthis legend in cinemascope format and posters of Comanche, The Return of a Man Called Horse...

 

 

 

 

Among the parallel activities to the exhibition there is a visit called "Death had a price," this Saturday November 14 at the Meadow of Navalvillar de Colmenar Viejo, location of important westerns as "The Good, the Bad and bad "with Clint Eastwood," The last adventure of General Custer "with Robert Shaw," Three outlaws and a gunman "with Lee Marvin and" Django "with Franco Nero. This activity is aimed at students and graduates in Fine Arts, History Art, Museology, Philosophy, Communication Sciences, interdisciplinary practices and working artists.
 

Thirteen years have passed since its beginnings, and in all this time the Video Art Festival PROYECTOR has grown and consolidated its position as an essential event in this discipline. Since its inception, the initiative has tried to give visibility to a discipline that has always been relegated to the background in the usual exhibition circuits. Although video creation is not new, since it emerged by its own in the 60s of last century, the way to get to know it and enjoy it has not always been easy. On many occasions, the exhibitions only included a few isolated pieces within the main route, as if the video was the anecdotal contribution to the whole. However, our daily lives are invaded by moving images, and there is a paradox that video art, despite being a format of artistic expression very much in tune with the habits of today's society, remains a minority discipline

Frame from “Hel City”, by Gregorio Méndez Sáez, 2019

To some extent, PROYECTOR was born to reverse this situation, to value video as a creative format and to offer a wide, itinerant space to host a multitude of proposals, coming from inside and outside our borders. In this time, the growth of the festival has led it to travel the world, but also, to be a benchmark that each year arouses more interest. In the open call to receive proposals, they reach almost half a thousand, and a hundred works selected by the jury are a representative sample of different ways of understanding video creation, with pieces mainly from Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

In turn, PROYECTOR wants to be more than a video showcase and offers a large program with talks, workshops, masterclasses, meetings with artists, visits and concerts. A complete experience that always has the moving image as a backdrop.

El Instante Francisco Ruiz de Infante. El bosque que se mueve (errores de medida)

In this evolution, another circumstance stands out: video is a creative format that has its own codes, but it is also one of the disciplines most open to artistic hybridization and the widening of uses. The video may, therefore, be the genuine idea of an author who conceives an autonomous project to be carried out in this format, but it can also be the complementary result of an action or the documentary record of a previous performance being recorded to guarantee its survival. The versatility of the moving image and the potential that it has acquired in recent years allows us today to speak of numerous branches of art that focus on the fusion of languages and the integration of techniques and methodologies from other sectors, and in many of them, the video is still a cornerstone. So it is with technological art, interactive sound art, performance recording, the transformation from big data to image, artificial intelligence, and a long etcetera. Precisely for this reason, PROYECTOR offers a panoramic vision of this reality, with an extremely interesting program that plays with the variety and wealth of proposals.

Frame from “Herdança”, by Thiago Rocha Pitta, 2007

The 2020 edition will run from September 9th to 20th. As usual, the program displays in various venues throughout the city of Madrid, each of which will house a small section of the activities. This year the festival will count with the collaboration of the Casa Árabe, White Lab, Cruce, El Instante Fundación, ¡ésta es una PLAZA!, Extensión AVAM (Matadero Madrid), Institut Français de Madrid, Medialab Prado, Quinta del Sordo, Sala Alcalá 31, Sala El Águila, Secuencia de Inútiles and White Lab, in addition to the collaboration of the INELCOM Collection and the video art collection of Teresa Sapey.

The festival is also the ideal place to articulate the cultural fabric, since it involves numerous professionals in the sector, from curators to creators, from centres managers to critics and teachers. The 2020 program also has the collaboration of the FUSO Festival and the Museo Reina Sofía, which are providing some of their pieces for the exhibition.

In short, an appointment that lovers of contemporary art should not miss and that promises many novelties in this 13th edition.