INTIMATE SPACES: PERFORMATIVE ART AT ART MADRID

The origins of the art of action can be located in the Dadaist and Surrealist movements of 1920, where the first events or encounters in which the terms collage or assemblage are consolidated sprung up. However, it was not until the 1960s that these manifestations acquired their own entity and became an independent art movement. Action art, also called live art, delves into the idea that you cannot separate the artistic creation process from your own experience, as if everything was connected and true art is what takes place in the processes, not both in the materialised results.

Olga Diego getting ready for the performance. Photo by Marc Cisneros

Allan Kaprow, an artist born in Atlantic City and who gave true meaning to the terms happening or performance, contributed to the evolution of this idea. In the view of this author, art makes sense in the artist's relationship with the viewer in the process of artistic creation itself. Kaprow coined a famous quote on this movement:

The line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible.

A tireless artist, he contributed significantly to fluxus and body art movements, and carried out countless "activities" (as he called them) throughout his career. Today we owe a lot to this pioneer, who let himself be carried away by the creative impulse channelled into actions where the ephemeral and the experiential merge.

Eunice Artur & Bruno Gonçalves during their performance. Photo by Sara Junquera

Today performance art continues to arouse enormous curiosity, even 60 years after it was born. However, within the history of art, it remains a still novel and minority trend. Precisely for this reason, Art Madrid wanted to give to action art a room into the fair and share with the big public an artistic experience, different from the exhibition offer of the participating galleries, so that contact with today’s contemporary pulse would become a memory, an event, an experience. The momentary, ephemeral nature of these actions, in such a way that they only exist in the here and now, makes each proposal doubly interesting because it is totally unrepeatable.

The “Art Madrid-Proyector’20” program included four actions during the days of the fair. We have had the opportunity to remember two of the performances in which sound and video image dominated, by Iván Puñal and Arturo Moya and Ruth Abellán. Today we give way to the other two, whose main characteristic is the generation of an intimate space, a kind of parallel reality that raises doubts in the viewer about what they are seeing and how they should understand it.

Eunice Artur during her performance. Photo by Sara Junquera

One of these works was “Partidura”, by the Portuguese artist Eunice Artur in collaboration with Bruno Golçalves, which took place on Thursday 27th at 8 pm. This project explores the idea of developing a musical notation for new forms of electronic sound, and it does so through a live intervention that incorporates plant elements, strings that vibrate with the sound and a lot of charcoal dust so that the sound waves move the elements and “draw” their own graphic representation. The performance shows Eunice interacting with these elements while Bruno makes amplified sounds with an electric guitar. The set is mysterious and poetic at the same time. The desire to transform sound into a pictorial expression unfolds in delicate, measured and stealthy actions to interfere as little as possible in the process. Eunice moves between graphite powder-coated sheets of paper hanging from the ceiling, looking for the proper angle to vibrate strings running diagonally across the sheets. This live creation process is based on waiting and contemplation, wrapped in music that seems like a mantra from other lands.

Olga Diego and Mario Gutiérrez Cru before the performace. Photo by Marc Cisneros

The last performance of the cycle was starred by Olga Diego, on Saturday 29th. The entrance of the fair transformed into an improvised stage in which the artist carried out her action "The bubble woman show". Olga Diego has been working on the concept of flight and its integration into art for some time through artefacts that can fly autonomously, without combustion. One of her most ambitious projects on this subject is “The automated garden”, an enormous installation of a hundred inflatable figures made of transparent plastic that occupied the 1,000 m2 of the Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art and the Lonja del Pescado Exhibition Hall, also in Alicante. This proposal, in addition to delving into research on the lightness of materials and the ability to stay suspended with maximum energy savings, it is an open criticism of the excessive use of plastic in our environment and its aberrant power of contamination.

Photo by Ricardo Perucha

"The bubble woman show" is an action that involves the viewer. Olga enters a giant bubble of translucent plastic keeping the air inside, and thus, as if she were a soap bubble, she moves through space until she invites someone from the public to enter the bubble with her and share an intimate moment. This personal dialogue is the most unknown and mysterious part of the process and invites us to reflect on situations of isolation, on the return to the mother's womb, on the need to protect ourselves from the excessive noise of this fast-paced world.

Both actions aroused the amazement of the visitors and turned the fair into a space in which live art played a transforming role within the wide artistic offer that the event displays each year.

 

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.