THE ONES WHO LOOK: “MUJERES MIRANDO MUJERES” FESTIVAL

More and more disciplines have joined the reflection on the feminine condition that faces the current reality from the review and the questioning of its historical past. Thus literature, film, music, art, science, agriculture, to mention just a few, join the list of places from which to continue the debate on a movement in constant reinvention.

It is an awakening that, although it extends throughout the year, seems to focus particularly hard in March, with a program that includes festivals, fairs, conferences, marches, readings that transpire enthusiasm and communion. Thus, among the programs of the third month of the year, interesting and necessary projects stand out, such as the Mujeres Mirando Mujeres festival, an initiative of Arte a Click that celebrates its 5th edition between March 9th and June 12th.

Marina Vargas “La Bacante”, 2015. Polyester resin, marble powder, enamel paint. (image from ©www.marinavargas.com)

The Mujeres Mirando Mujeres project was founded in 2015 by Mila Abadía, with the purpose of spread out the work that women carry out in the art field from the creation to the communication processes, through the curatorial and art critic. As she herself confesses, the idea emerged as an outburst. I have always fought for women's rights and had not actively participated in any feminist claim for a long time.

In this sense, the fifth edition is composed of 51 artists, 52 art managers, 15 communicators, 11 invited projects which gives rise to a total of 80 works in which 118 women involved with the feminist movement and with art participate, among them, there are bloggers, journalists, communicators, gallerists, museologists who give light to a rich program based on presentations and interviews with artists that will be published until June on the web. As in previous editions, the festival is concerned with making visible the work of artists with a new professional career, as is the case of the Italian interdisciplinary artist Mónica Mura, whose work revolves around the improvement and appreciation of human beings. The gender perspective of the Italian author goes through her life and work in which she gives voice to groups and individuals who have suffered social rejection due to their nature as transgender, homosexual women... Mónica Mura will be presented by the researcher Karen Campos.

"For me, art is a synonym of freedom and I believe in the power of creation as an engine of transformation". Monica Mura

Mónica Mura, project “Poder ver-Ver poder”, 2018. Video installation (image from ©www.monicamura.com)

Among the less experienced artists, we also find the Catalan photographer Alejandra Carles-Tolra, who seeks to understand through her images the identity and to blur its limits. Is there an identity that defines women? Which one? These are some of the questions she poses in her project. Alejandra Carles-Tolra will be presented by the director of the Fiftydots gallery, Laura Salvado.

In addition to new artists, the festival also welcomes already renowned looks, like that of Gabriela Bettini who combines in her work the analysis of the environmental crisis with the situation of women, both affected by the violence of the system.

I guess the work changes to the same extent that we change as individuals, the artist once affirmed. Her work and that of the rest of the artists that make up the Mujeres Mirando Mujeres project are an echo of the concerns and conflicts of our time, a time that is increasingly ours.

Gabriela Bettini, project “Primavera silenciosa”, 2018 (image from ©gabrielabettini.com)

As once noted Estrella de Diego, always wise: it is not worth being a feminist in the art world, one has to be a feminist or not, our thinking should invade our way of being in the world and of relating to it. And in this sense, art makes it possible to stay those thoughts of our life which are the reflection of our passage through the world.

For this reason, initiatives such as the Mujeres Mirando Mujeres that make women's work real and effective, are as necessary as important.

 

One of the proposals included in the calendar of the “Art Madrid-Proyector'20” program was the organisation of several meetings with artists within the fair. This gave visitors the opportunity to get to know their work better and open a personal dialogue with them after the presentation of their last lines of work. From Wednesday 26th to Saturday 29th of February, we had the participation of Abelardo Gil-Fournier, Fernando Baena, Mario Santamaría and Maia Navas, a group of creators who work with the moving image, but also with the installation, technological art, performance and video art.

Abelardo Gil-Fournier's work revolves around the hybridization between the real and the sensible. This artist and researcher approaches this question in his works from a perspective in which perception, image and material production merge. Both his artistic and research practice deal with issues related to land use and plant growth without losing sight of these three points of interest. This results in works that incorporate the presence of nature from various perspectives, sometimes as a space of experimentation in which to reflect on the connection between art and politics, the relationship of the human being with the environment or the criteria for landscape intervention.

During his presentation on Wednesday 26th, Abelardo told us about some of his latest projects, in which the presence of technology is key to offering an artistic interpretation of the individual's impact into the territory. All this affects issues such as agricultural techniques, the progressive deforestation or the exploitation of land resources. The result is colour-coded pattern drawings that break down the analyzed landscape and offer a more visual and technology-based reinterpretation of these human behaviours. In addition, in this meeting, the artist explained his work “The Quivering of the Reed”, an installation that mixes video image, sound and material elements, and that plays the role of mixing the sensory with the real.

Abelardo Gil-Fournier

Fernando Baena shared a talk with us on the afternoon of Thursday 27th. This artist has focused a large part of his work on performance, happening and video pieces, many of them designed to capture the result of the action and give the work a second life in a new format. The main subjects that monopolize his work range from the treatment of sexuality and gender issues, to migratory movements and the drama of refugees, the exercise of political freedom and thought ... all of them are far-reaching issues that Fernando addresses from a familiar approach, with the use of common materials and recognizable environments. Another of the characteristics of his work is the presence of Marianela León in many of his pieces, a performer who has been collaborating with Fernando for many years until becoming almost an alter ego of himself and starring in most actions that take place in public spaces.

In this meeting, Fernando was able to explain part of his creative processes and to highlight a key aspect to the performance artist: to understand the reaction of the public. In this way, the impact of a work conceived from the theoretical plane is also analyzed, the meaning of which can completely change depending on the viewer's perception. As he himself explained in the talk regarding his piece "Balsa":

"What started out as a performance with an established script ended up being a happening in which the public participated with sometimes unusual reactions".

For his part, Mario Santamaría, who was with us on February 28th, shared with us a completely different work from Fernando's. This artist is focused on the analysis of the use of data, the feeling of manipulation and lack of control over our information that is produced in the digital medium and the desire to transform into something real some ideas as ethereal and commonplace today as the use of virtual storage clouds, the location of web pages or the data flow over the Internet. Much of his work, documented on video or transformed into technological facilities, is a form of research on the impact of the digital medium on our daily lives. His desire to bring these terms to the material plane, which we handle in our language today without really understanding their meaning, has led him to visit server bunkers, storage warehouses, in addition to tracking the exact location of the servers that host his own website to find isolated places far away from humanity.

Mario proposed a material trip to this reality to demonstrate that we are facing a very fragile system, whose durability is sensitive to natural phenomena, as evidenced by some of the documentation work carried out, where he rescued images of wild animals entering these data centres and endangering the livelihood of the digital world.

Mario Santamaría

Finally, Maia Navas, recently arrived from Argentina, shared with us the afternoon of Saturday 29th in a chat in which she told us about her creative work as well as her experience at the head of Play-Videoarte, a festival entirely dedicated to this discipline that she co-founded in 2012, and that in these six editions has combined an annual exhibition with a program of activities that take place in the City of Corrientes (Argentina), at the Cultural Centre of the University Extension that depends on the National University of the Northeast (UNNE).

Maia has a degree in psychology, as well as a degree in arts and technology, and combine her artistic career with teaching. The impact of psychology among her work topics is evident, and some of her video works try to delve into disturbing and perplexing aspects of human behaviour, such as the series "Procedures" that we could watch during the presentation. In it, the artist portrays the daily lives of people affected by OCD syndrome with an excellent visual narrative that puts the accent, almost with a cinematographic vision, on the personal experience of this phenomenon.

Maia Navas, foto de Marc Cisneros

From Art Madrid, we want to thank all these artists for sharing their creative experience with us and giving us the opportunity to dialogue with them about their present and future projects.