January 28, 2021

Francesc Torres: a wreck in the museum | Babelia


To the CGAC, “Flagship” of Galician art, named in the 1990s by the autonomous intellectual elite, has been swallowed up by the ocean. In its place a cluster of you think —Objects and shipwrecks that the sea returns to land— translated and cataloged by Francesc Torres, a leading artist in the creation of the humanist story installed on the margins between knowledge, aesthetic forms and artistic techniques whose practice has found its place in the history of art under the category of “installation”. But Crebas, the exhibition by Francesc Torres curated by Rocío Figueroa, has not reached CGAC alone; the undertow of the institutional program has dragged another exhibition, that of the Object corpus of Man de Camelle, the eccentric stylistic esthete of A Costa da Morte who wanted to turn nature into a museum. Man has been swallowed by the spill of the Prestige. In its place the whitening of history has appeared.

I want to think that Francesc Torres will not be bothered by this mention of the cultural whitening of the black history of Galicia. I think about rereading it Francesc Torres. Closed circuits (2000), a publication that has accompanied me for years, in which Victoria Combalía writes: “Torres is aware that history is manipulated, fragmented and forgotten.” This is why an approach to the endless collection of her artistic decisions is always useful for the health of a critical present.

The hermetic bell.  Space for a non-transferable anthropology (2018), installation by Francesc Torres.
The hermetic bell. Space for a non-transferable anthropology (2018), installation by Francesc Torres.

In CrebasFrancesc Torres rereads some of the milestones of his career and presents us with a new production arising from the relationship with the ocean landscape and the historical silence of the Galician coast. A territory that seems to have returned the violent onslaught of his first concerns, activating again, through mystery, the uniqueness of his narrative power. Among these pieces stand out Type I (on the Kardashov scale) (2019), for the brutality and punctum of the images with which we are presented with the link between the Nazi labor camps of the tungsten mines of the Second World War in Galicia and the abandoned ruins of a whaling factory, with which Francesc Torres demystifies wild and human nature as documents of barbarism. AND Culture (2019), a selection of printed letters on the you think of a civilizing journey whose condition of success is secret, betrayed by the destructive character or the Benjaminian fate of the author as producer.

From the retrospective selection, which is not particularly favored by the white cube – given the power of his interventions in less neutral spaces such as the Museo do Pobo Galego or the MNAC – in addition to the plastic interest of Newsweek series (1991), the historical quote from Construction of the Matrix (1976) and the physicality of the audiovisual image in White on white / Red on red (2008), the work that returns the tide with the strongest force is The hermetic bell. Space for a non-transferable anthropology (2018). An endless and personal litany of mutilated or intact objects, witnesses to wars, sports competitions, expeditions, car and air accidents and accidents, toys, miniatures, posters, cutouts, dioramas and publications.

A museum within a center that is wreck in the ocean. Jonah within The guts of El Greco described by Aldous Huxley or Francesc Torres himself in Sofia and the abyss (2015-2019) receiving an unexpected quote from the sea: “What matters is not art. Art is just the name of the concentration camp where western culture authorized that its way of understanding the world continue to be active. The important thing is the power of the emergency ”(Suely Rolnik).

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