October 26, 2020

Barcelona: intelligent life in the institutional hole | Babelia


There is a painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, from 1568, hanging in the rooms of the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, which could well summarize what is happening these days in the artistic context of Barcelona: a pressing vertigo in the face of uncertainty. Six blind men walk one after another following a guide, also blind. They do it because of the unsafe course of a bridge that seems about to break and that, in addition, has a good slope. The last in line does not notice the danger, but the first has already fallen while the sticks on which they are supported float in the middle of the abyss.

The recreation of those same sticks also floats in the space of Bombon Projects. They are part of the exhibition of Anna Dot, Writings for sighted skin, with which this gallery kicks off the season. It cannot be more timely at a time when nothing is seen or known. An exhibition that despite talking about blinds and crossbows, illuminates what was already happening in Barcelona before the pandemic obscured everything. The hole is institutional: the MACBA will have to call a new competition for the management as it has not been renewed in its position to Ferran Barenblit, who will leave the museum in August 2021. La Virreina Center de la Imatge Valentin Roma will also be left without as director at the end of 2020, and the Antoni Tàpies Foundation, Arts Santa Mònica and La Capella are already in that void, after Oriol Gual’s retirement announcement. The economic is another suit that has led institutions such as the Joan Miró Foundation to open only on weekends. The collapse seems imminent: a weak cultural policy, inflexible, closed in on itself and with little empathy with a cultural field that calls for an urgent change of model.

Interior Landscape with Marina, by Mabel Palacin, at Àngels Barcelona gallery.
Interior Landscape with Marina, by Mabel Palacin, at Àngels Barcelona gallery.

In this context, the work of the galleries is, at best, enviable. The ArtBarcelona association has organized this year its well-known Gallery Weekend aware of the stones in the path and, at the same time, practicing a wrist movement to turn that page yet to be written. It may seem like a futile move, but its potential is more radical than we might imagine. It is the strength of those who do not doubt despite doubts, including artists. Eulàlia Rovira leaves in the etHALL space in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat one of the best exhibitions under an equally pertinent title: Esmorteir l’esmorteït (which can be translated as “cushion the amortized”). Proximity is relative especially when you can’t see it, he says. She shows me an 1847 photo of a ballroom over a cemetery printed on paper. Some dance while others lie on that fine line that is the ground under our feet, always ready for the stability of the collapse. The etHALL one has more presence than ever, with an installation of large beams taken from the ceiling with ribbons so that they do not rub against the gallery floor. The ceiling catches them with tension. Reminds me of Carrying from Pepe Espaliú, to crutches that don’t lean on anything, and to those Anna Dot sticks that also float. Two floors above, Miguel Marina occupies the space of the Ana Mas gallery drawing on family history and the landscape of the Alpujarra, where the story and the memory speak of a time and a memory as elastic as the idea of ​​the future.

There are many exhibitions and approaches, with more or less noise, but this time I prefer the subtle ones, those that border on silence, those that slide without moving from the site. Between them, Mabel Palacin in Àngels Barcelona talking about the idea of ​​an expanded and fragmented body. From the idea of ​​freedom associated with imagination that seems so much that we will practice. The colorblind gaze of Miguel Fructuoso, María Sánchez and Miguel Ángel Torneo in Dilalica. Beatrice Gibson in NoguerasBlanchard wondering if kids, disco music, and poetry can fix the world’s confusion. The costumbrista speculation of Paco Chanivet at Espai Tactel.Toormix. Although, above all, I prefer the imaginary museum that proposes Project SD, a place full of prophecies that light the way.

Exhibitions

Writings per a la pell vident. Anna Dot. Bombon Projects. Barcelona. Until October 31.

Esmorteir l’esmorteït. Eulàlia Rovira. etHall. L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. Until October 31.

Inland Landscape with Marina. Mabel Palacin. Àngels Barcelona. Until November 27.

The Daltons. Miguel Fructuoso, María Sánchez and Miguel Ángel Torneo. Dilalica. Barcelona. Until October 31st.

The Skin has Gone. It is all Nerve. Beatrice gibson. NoguerasBlanchard. Barcelona. Until September 30.

But I do not have temps for this market for mateix… Paco Chanivet and Guillermo Ros. Espai Tactel.Toormix. Barcelona. Until January 7.

The imaginary museum. Project SD. Barcelona. Until November 14.

Faith of errors

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