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Dora García

Respiración artificial / Performance / Eco oscuro, 2016

Artificial Respiration. Performance. Dark Echo (2016)

Edition | Posters. MOREpublishers, Ghent
89 x 59,4 cm. (x3 cm.)

These three posters were produced by MOREpublishers (Ghent) on the occasion of an individual exhibition by Dora García at the IVAM art centre in Valencia in 2016. The tripartite title of this show identifies each of the posters in a continuous narrative linked by a single image. The drawing represents two heads joined by a Möbius strip, in what is a recurring theme in the artist’s work: the identity in continual change, the fusing or merging of characters as well as the process ofsplitting, gender, the double or doppelgänger and more. There is also a utopian dimension in this drawing, inspired by an amphibious science-fiction imaginary.

Artificial Respiration is a performance in which a group of participants observes the city (Valencia; Madrid) by way of different audio recordings and transcripts. The outgoing text comprises more than three hundred entries in the form of verses or prayers, edited by the artist while maintaining the colloquial style of the original recordings. The technical description of the surroundings and the delayed transmission of the reality engender an instantaneous narrative: a writing and a reading without end producing a projection which, as in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, illuminates the understanding between two people, a writer and a reader, one recounting and the other listening. The piece takes its title from Respiración artificial, the homonymous novel by the Argentine writer Ricardo Piglia, who is embodied in the book by Emilio Renzi, his alter ego. This writer’s work is proof that virtually anything can be fictionalized. For example, the reading of theory or psychoanalysis, Lacan and Freud, as adventures of the adventures and misadventures of the subconscious. ‘Isn’t psychoanalysis a great fiction?’ Piglia asks. In the novel, history, research and politics are camouflaged in the artifice that is fiction. In the performance, two people alternately read out verses, interweaving fiction and reality.

Performance takes its inspiration from the film of the same name directed by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg in 1970, one of the most iconic of British ‘art’ films, in which the principal roles are played by Mick Jagger and James Fox. This is a work of ‘read theatre’ to be enacted by six actors or performers and is based on a script that I wrote as a colophon to my collaboration with the artist in the aforementioned exhibition at IVAM. Six scripts, one for each character, lie on the table until the actors periodically activate them. The script, which gives an account of the actuality of the multiple meanings of the term ‘performance’ (in art, dance, music and the experimental scene), is the continuation of one of the questions asked by the artist: Where do the characters go when the novel ends?

Third and last, Eco oscuro Dark Echo– is the title of a novel by Francisco ‘Paco’ Baena in which the work of Dora García appears in fictionalized form and ends up determining the relationships between the different characters. These three collaborative pieces serve to generate a continuinarration that goes on and on and characterizes all of the artist’s production as a mechanism always open to the Other.

Peio Aguirre


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Pep Vidal

 (Rubí, 1980)

With a degree in mathematics and a PhD in physical sciences, scientific thought constitutes a vital experience that articulates his artistic practice. Infinitesimal changes, an obsession with measuring and an acceptance of the impossibility of exactitude in the measurement are the axes that articulate his artistic and scientific investigations.

In order to complete his doctoral thesis, entitled ‘Development of Numerical Algorithms for the Calculation of the Topography of the Mirrors for a Synchrotron’ (2014), Vidal installed himself in a hut he built himself outside the Hangar centre for visual arts production, where he was on an artist’s residence. It is no accident that the resulting publication of the thesis won a Miquel Casablancas prize that same year. A year later, in the context of the collective exhibition Hablo sabiendo que no se trata de eso [I Speak Knowing That It Isn’t about That], curated by Juan Canela at CaixaForum, Pep Vidal established himself inside Joseph Beuys’s installation Pain Space to revise the thesis and add notes of a more personal nature.

The infinitesimal changes which are constantly taking place and have a virtually infinite chaotic chain have been the driving force of many of Vidal’s art projects, as in the case of { } (La Capella, 2013), in which the desire to create a space in which nothing happens led him to construct, with the help of the ALBA synchrotron, a small empty space which he then covered with different materials to insulate it against changes in temperature, electromagnetic fields, fire, cosmic dust and so on, duly obtaining a cube with sides of 83 cm and a weight of around 850 kilograms.

Montse Badia


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Pep Vidal

Oli d’una olivera (Oil from an Olive Tree), 2016

Sculpture | 752ml of olive oil  + organic remains

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Pep Vidal is a scientist as well as an artist, and carries out his artistic work in the space of intersection, convergence and divergence between the two ways of looking at the world. Infinitesimal changes and measurements are his primary starting points when it comes to defining his projects. One of the things that the realms of art and science have in common is curiosity, the tendency to set out from a concrete question or questions. Oli d’una olivera (Aceite de un olivo) [Oil from an Olive Tree] has its origin in a question which may seem naive, but for that very reason served to initiate a fascinating process of investigation: How much oil does an olive tree yield? The process that has led to the realisation and final form of the project is very similar to that by which oil is produced. If the production of oil involves a filtering of residues, the production of Oli d’una olivera (Aceite de un olivo) [Oil from an Olive Tree] entailed a filtering of ideas and variables.

At the beginning of the process, Vidal focused of the importance of monitoring and controlling production, taking this principle to the extreme: why not maximise the oil yield and minimise the size of the tree that produces the olives? As a response to the questions ‘how much oil does a bonsai olive tree produce?’ and ‘how much oil does a normal olive tree produce?’ he related a specific olive tree, growing in the Baix Penedès region, and a bonsai olive that he bought. The artist had previously carried out other projects relating the sizes of different objects or systems which have certain similarities and differences: we might recall f (t) = f (t-t°) (curated by Marina Vives in the Capella de Sant Roc, Valls, 2015), in which he planted an eight-year-old bonsai on the area of land it would need if it had not been cultivated as a bonsai, or Un humilde calcetín [A Humble Sock] (Fundació Tàpies, 2014), with its scale replica of the Tàpies sock reduced to a size of 20 microns, among others.

Ultimately, the most significant aspect of the comparison – or to put it another way, the nexus that links the full-size and bonsai olive trees – is artifice: the artifice to which the bonsai is subjected in order to control its size and the artifice to which the olive tree is subjected, planted in a particular environment in order to produce the olives that will give oil, an oil that is close related to the origin.

Measuring was and is the essence of the project, but measuring also entails the impossibility of absolute precision. Having discarded the option of a conventional pressing of the yield of a single olive tree, the alternative was a manual, homemade, do-it-yourself pressing, out of which, as in every experiment, came the discoveries: the residues, the solids and the liquids. The most valuable thing, the oil, is calibrated and weighed with the greatest possible precision and professionalism and duly certified, but unlike traditional production, in Pep Vidal’s process the residues are not eliminated but retained the final result, because the residues are also part of what comes from the olive tree, which is this case is not any old olive tree but a very specific olive tree, an Olea europaea growing in the Baix Penedès.

Montse Badia


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