Elvira Dyangani wants to open MACBA to homeless people, skaters and walkers


Elvira Dyangani’s theory (Córdoba, 1974) sounds excellent. According to the new director of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) the museum of the present must be a place that in no way resembles the museums that are visited today in Spain. None is claimed as a permeable public space, that is, a place of free movement from the street, in which there are no physical or cultural barriers and in which the public is not subjected to an authority that does not intend to dialogue or listen to the public. citizenship. “The museum I want is a dissident. And if you are a dissident, I want you to feel safe here. But it will not only be a place of anger and rebellion, but also of conscience and care,” explains the new director to elDiario.es. Dyangani has arrived with the intention of demolishing the castle, regardless of who it weighs.

The first woman director of MACBA is not going to have it easy. In July she was received with all the enthusiasm and with a reformed organization chart moments before your arrival, in which his power was low, as this newspaper advanced. Dyangani was not daunted and in his presentation he warned those present that the organization chart should be at the service of the project that had won the call – his – and not the other way around. “He will adapt to whatever is necessary to bring the program to fruition,” Dyangani said — brave and brave — before Ainhoa ​​Grandes, president of the MACBA Foundation and head of the organization chart alteration.

According to this last minute reform, the new director will only have full powers in the area of ​​conservation and a residual role in the direction of production and education and mediation. In the previous structure, the artistic direction was responsible for the curatorial area, the programs, the production, the management and the brand. In this way “programs” disappear and the power of management grows ostensibly. MACBA denies that the area directed by Josep María Carreté accumulates more power.

A more real museum

In that act the director, sitting next to the mayor Ada Colau, did not miss the opportunity to clarify her territory in the face of possible interference. He was transparent and acknowledged the mistakes made by the leadership in firing the museum’s chief curator, Tanya Barson, and the head of programs, Pablo Martínez, and leaving students enrolled in the Independent Studies Program (PEI) without support. But he warned that he would do everything possible to regain the power that corresponds to him and to prevent these mistakes made before his arrival from happening again.



During the telephone interview with this newspaper, Elvira Dyangani assures that she has asked the board to rework the organization chart. He wants to have a number two who becomes director of conservation and programs, with the mandate to achieve an institution “more permeable to reality and to the communities that are part of the environment and its intangible heritage.” There are no names for that position yet. The re-elaboration of the organization chart must also take into account another aspect: the director wants to extend the free admission of the institution and to alleviate the decrease in the box office she must find new sources and forms of financing. “The first thing is to let the authorities know that a 10 million euro budget is very scarce,” he says.

Dyangani imagines loud voice: “In three years you will come to MACBA and feel that the square is a real extension of the buildings that will make up the new museum. You will be able to walk around the ground floor not only to see but to be, to sit down to to read, to rest from skating… We will have created some really cozy spaces that will coexist with the contemplative visit of the museum “. The transparent and permeable museum, which listens and cares for all citizens, not just the public that adores it. That is why the idea of ​​where to be seems fundamental in his project.

The ‘philosophical vision’ of the museum that he claims has been called the “politics of affections”, because there is a politics of experience that must be cared for. “Knowledge is no longer enough and rigid structures limit and impede the relationship with the user who encounters the work of art. I want to recover the sense of the human to humanize the visit”, explains Elvira Dyangani. “There are people sleeping around the museum: what can we do to make them feel part of the museum?” No one is excluded in the museum that the new director thinks, whose proposal is to break down the most class barriers of these cultural apparatuses that have paid attention to the tastes of the elites but have not been interested in the rest.

First, the impossible

She says that she is a “pragmatic person” because she is a mother and that is why she likes to start from the impossible: “The cuts and scissors will come, but first let’s give ourselves the chance to redefine the institution,” he says. Dyangani speaks from joy and hope, with an approach that breaks with the traditional vision of the museum, whose authority has been overwhelmed and the inviolability of its criteria has become more outdated than the age of the collections that they guard, protect and exhibit.

In the museum that Dyangani has written down – and has been approved – no one is left out. And she knows what she’s talking about. “When you are born as a colonial subject you have to constantly rebuild and define yourself against the way they see you. The museum has settled in a vision of itself that has to be questioned and put in check. I will not let the museum settle and get bored “, she explains forcefully and willing to turn the center around. He wants MACBA to be a place of prestige and authority, but also to be part of a collective to generate political awareness.

It is possible that the most revolutionary illusion of all those that Elvira Dyangani raises is to lose the fear of vulnerability and the commitment to transparency. “I want us to be a museum that gives explanations and recognize that we are wrong if we are wrong. If you want a more humane museum, you must be transparent so that no one misinterprets what we are doing. This is fundamental,” he says and with this statement he converts many institutions contemporary art venues in nineteenth-century centers.

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