AND EDUARDO BALANZA OPENED UP THE DOORS OF HIS STUDIO…

The difficult task of defining Eduardo Balanza's work becomes easier when you share a live experience with him. We enjoyed a visit to his studio on Saturday, February 22, within the “Art Madrid-Proyector'20” action program. It was the perfect opportunity to getting to know his work and personality, and to understand the clear connections that exist between his various works. Between eclectic, versatile, technological, experimental, audiovisual, editorial... and many other qualifications applicable to the work of this author, the encounter with Eduardo helped us discover a generous artist, concerned above all with socio-political and environmental issues, who apply technology in a very rational way to his projects, and who is not satisfied with a simple reading of his pieces.

Photo by Txema Alcega

Eduardo Balanza (Murcia, 1971) graduated in Audiovisual Media, studied documentary film and screenplay at the International School of Film and Television in Havana, as well as at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He needs to travel, and for several years he was roaming between Berlin and Spain while working in theatre companies as a set designer. As a plastic artist, he has developed a multidisciplinary work taking sound and music as a starting point on which to research and build pieces, installations and performances. However, even these attempts to explain his career fall short, since, although the influence of video is evident in many of his works, in others the construction of artefacts or the emergence of conceptual discourse through periodic publications are the essence of the piece. As he himself admits: "It is true that I studied photography, screen printing, 3D, I worked in cinema, in fashion as a photographer, advertising and campaigns, theatre... The multidisciplinary involves attitude and creative concern." Indeed, Eduardo is attitude and concern.

Photo by Melisa Medina

What is clear is that Eduardo Balanza shows great humility and transparency in all his work. The transformation of each life experience into learning reveals the complexity of our world, the diversity that inhabits it, the different ways of understanding that exist and the need we have to adapt ourselves, beyond pure survival. In a recent interview, Eduardo explained: “Living has also become a bit of resistance. Living requires adaptation, as in an ice age." And part of that adaptation consists of admitting mistakes, knowing how to rectify because nothing is linear and today's society imposes on us a dictatorial obligation of permanent success totally fake without margin for error. On this, the artist comments:

Sometimes failure is pleasant. You have to lose battles, be thrown into the mud and have to get up. There is no need to be afraid to start from scratch; from failure, you learn a lot. We get frustrated very quickly, we have no stamina.

Photo by Txema Alcega

This humanistic approach to his own life trajectory has made identity, music and war his three main axes of work. Music as a factor of union, and war, of separation, and underlying these opposing forces, which sometimes collide and sometimes point in the same direction, is the collective identity. The artistic exploration of these intangible realities, but drivers of many current social movements, transforms into an infinity of projects that this author develops from his personal experience, wanting to transfer to his works all the rawness, aridity and harmony that the real world offers us. Eduardo explains that:

Where culture does not arrive, barbarism arrives. ... There is a clear absence of many values. Music, identity, collective identity, group movements are trending and the most interesting thing right now is collage. War, music and identity are my subjects, in the end, everyone talks about the same thing.

During the visit to his studio in Madrid, Eduardo presented us with the artwork “B71”, an electroacoustic instrument inspired by the baroque organs that combines sound and technology with an impressive result. The B71 organ is an instrument that works activated by vibrating loudspeakers on plates capable of connecting to meteorological data websites, according to the coordinates entered in the system to generate surround music based on loops. B71 works in both manual and automatic modes, generating its own sounds by itself. Visitors were able to fully understand its operation and test the organ while Eduardo explained all the technical implications of this installation work.

Frame from "La fragilidad de habitar", 2019, Eduardo Balanza

In addition to this and to know some of his editorial pieces in the FEU project: United Electronic Front, we were also able to enjoy his work on video. In the garage of his studio, which acts as a projection room, we watched his latest proposal: “La fragilidad de habitar”, a documentary video art work that shows the situation of extreme need in the shanty towns of temporary workers in Níjar (Almería). This piece, made in 2019, created mostly from zenith planes, brings to light a reality often ignored and shows ways of life-based on absolute subsistence. Today the work is on display at the Cepaim Foundation in Madrid.

And in the meantime, Eduardo continues working. He is currently developing some video research on hydroelectric complexes in Norway, the "Landscape Transformation" and the generation of sounds in these natural spaces, supported by the Skien Komune from Telemark.

From here we thank him for opening the door of his studio and sharing an excellent Saturday morning with us as we learned a little more about his work.

 

The cultural agenda gradually recovers after the health-crisis halt and art lovers are eager to enjoy the rich cultural offer that the different spaces and museums throughout our geography have to offer. In addition, one must remember that these centres have made an enormous effort to adapt to the demands that the new situation imposes and have created abundant online-accessible content to overcome confinement. We bring you a selection of content that can be visited both in person and through the web. There is no excuse for not enjoying contemporary art again.

Olafur Eliasson, “En la vida real (In real life)”, 2019

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao continues with its exhibition dedicated to Olafur Eliasson and offers numerous resources to understand not only the exhibition but also the work of the centre in the assembly and installation process. The website allows us to expand content with interviews with the artist, the download of the audio guide and the vision of the curator Lucía Aguirre, who offers us different video-pills on the pieces in the exhibition.

"Olafur Eliasson: in real life" brings together a part of this artist's work since 1990 through sculptures, photographs, paintings and installations that play with reflections and colours. Likewise, the integration of elements such as moss, water, ice, fog... put the visitor in a situation that confuses the senses and tries to challenge the way we perceive our environment and move in it.

Regina de Miguel, “Isla Decepción”, 2017

The Botín Centre in Santander hosts the exhibition "Collecting processes: 25 years of Itineraries" which brings together the work of 25 of the 210 scholarship recipients who, to date, have enjoyed the Botín Foundation Plastic Arts Scholarship, started in 1993. With the works Lara Almárcegui, Basma Alsharif, Leonor Antunes, Javier Arce, Erick Beltrán, David Bestué, Bleda and Rosa, Nuno Cera, Patricia Dauder, Patricia Esquivias, Karlos Gil, Carlos Irijalba, Adrià Julià, Juan López, Rogelio López Cuenca, Renata Lucas, Mateo Maté, Jorge Méndez Blake, Regina de Miguel, Leticia Ramos, Fernando Sánchez Castillo, Teresa Solar Abboud, Leonor Serrano Rivas, Jorge Yeregui, David Zink-Yi, the exhibition is a good example of up-to-date and young contemporary art contributed by artists with very diverse profiles.

Clemente Bernad. Series “Ante el umbral”, Madrid, 2020

The Reina Sofía Museum wanted to create a visual chronicle of what the confinement and the tragic numbers of infected and deceased have meant for the lives of many of us: a tale of pain, nostalgia and uncertainty made by the photographer Clemente Bernad. This exhibition, curated by Jorge Moreno Andrés, is entitled “Before the threshold”, a title that expresses the strange sensation that occurs when faced with something new and unknown, something that we cannot control or avoid, and that we all must go through. The alteration imposed on our lives unexpectedly is reflected in the streets, transformed into places of solitude and abandonment where life has been paralysed.

Mario Merz / No title, Triplo Igloo, 1984 MAXXI Collection

At the IVAM, the exhibition "What is our home?" brings together works from the IVAM collection and the MAXXI centre in Rome to propose a reflection on the space we inhabit seen from a personal and social perspective. It is about investigating the value that these spaces have as a home or refuge, as well as part of a city or community.

The exhibition, curated by José Miguel G. Cortés, also wants to delve into the feeling of those who feel like foreigners anywhere, because they do not identify with the habits or customs of the society, they do not fit into these social patterns, and home becomes the only shelter space that can adapt to their identity needs.

Martha Rosler, frame from “Backyard Economy I-II”, 1974 © Courtesy of Martha Rosler, 2020

Es Baluard Museu is committed to video creation and performance and hosts the monographic exhibition “Martha Rosler. How do we get there from here?” dedicated to this New York artist who pioneered the use of video as a mechanism for social and political analysis. This exhibition includes various works, from video to photography and several publications, which synthesise her main lines of discourse. Her concern for public policies and the social equality of women has led her to actively participate in numerous social movements in La Havana, New York, Mexico DC or Barcelona, and these experiences are present in one way or another in her work.

With the curatorship of Inma Prieto, a selection has been made within the abundant production of this artist, which presents one of the most coherent careers in towards-the-new-Millenium contemporary art.

Image from file, via meiac.es/turbulence/archive/acceso.html

The MEIAC - Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, host the works of the prestigious international digital art archive "Turbulence", a platform dedicated to network and hybrid art. In view of the inevitable closure of this institution, the MEIAC has offered to host all this valuable content collected since 1996. The uploading of the file also served as an opportunity to restore numerous pieces and convert formats so that files that had become obsolete remain readable by new systems. A huge job of conservation and updating that can be enjoyed online today. The archive is made up of hundreds of digital works from around the world that can now be visited remotely.