Bruce Nauman at NoguerasBlanchard
Bruce Nauman at NoguerasBlanchard
“Violent Incident” by Bruce Nauman, in the exhibition “On affection: Cally Spooner and Bruce Nauman” NoguerasBlanchard, Barcelona
From January, 28 until March, 10, 2017
|Drawing | Composition of 6 drawings, mixed media on paper, framed in plexiglass vitrine and table (optional)|
|85 x 100 x 75 cm.|
These are drawings done with a pencil, at once defined and unconcluded: a practice, that of drawing, which for Dauder is a parallel process, often on the fringes of the larger finished pieces. Drawing is a more primary exercise, out of which latent or buried aspects arise and are released. Drawing is experienced as an activity that is necessary for the creative process to take its course, to order impulses, to distil and visualize, from close to and from a distance, to study and reflect, even if the resulting compositions often have no specific function or destination. Some drawings are spontaneous and fast, others slow and worked on in different phases.
In the last analysis, the mystery posed by these drawings is the ability of the artist’s hand to be a channel of transmission and a translator of retinal impressions, of traces of memory, of the unequal accumulation of memories. By means of drawing, these elements may surface again in new configurations, transformed by their more or less prolonged passage through the neuronal circuits. New figures and images emerge, which in turn feed new cycles of perceptual impressions and assimilations traces that will be translated into who knows what new configurations by the hands of who knows what other artist. The fact is that when all is said and done we are pieces in a great chain of transmission of which the drawing is an occasional record, a link that fixes an instant of this tireless dynamism.
Patricia Dauder trained as an artist in Barcelona and Holland in the 1990s. Since then, her practice has evolved coherently in the fields of drawing, sculpture, film and the artist’s book and, to a lesser extent, photography. Her pieces are the result of slow and intuitive working processes, in which formal exploration guided by intuition and chance plays a significant part. The concept of montage is also of central importance to Dauder: her pieces often end up adopting a composite form, as sets of several elements that are closely related to one another.
Although many of Dauder’s works have as their starting point the observation of her real immediate physical environment, it often happens that, in the course of the creative process, the figurative often retreats almost to the point of disappearing, becoming a mere trace or a barely perceptible trail. And, in her practice, the idea of “trace” is linked to depth, a recurring element that Dauder explores through methods such as layering, surface scraping and the emptying out of volumes. Similarly, in her film works and in her books, the temporal dimension marked by the rhythm of contemplation which these formats demand becomes an element of exploration, through which Dauder effectively expands the meaning potential of her pieces.
Un segundo de horizonte, 2010
Installation | Laser line 360 degrees
With One Second of Horizon Wilfredo Prieto initiated a series of pieces in which he explored the genre of landscape from his own perspective. It was the centrepiece of the exhibition Negro, Mate, Seco/Black, Matte, Dry, presented at the Nogueras Blanchard gallery in Barcelona in 2009. On entering the space we found various objects that could be used in the construction industry: a flashlight, a helmet, a match or a level. It is this last element that produces One Second of Horizon — a laser line of 360° that is traced on the walls of the exhibition space, evoking an evening landscape, and embracing all of the other pieces. As people entered and walked around the space, there would be a moment when the laser hit them in the eyes and dazzled them, creating a parallel with that second in which we observe the rising or setting sun.
The laser level is set up in plain view, at random. The artist recreates a symbolic landscape that is also an environment which places the audience in a work setting, in an ‘in pass’ between the previous action and an action yet to come. It feels as if something has been left half done, or something is about to begin. As in much of Prieto’s work, the poetic play arises from the conceptual shock produced by juxtaposing two radically different realities. On the basis of construction materials and their positioning in the space and the viewer’s reading of these a landscape is created. It could be said that one of the basic elements of Prieto’s approach is the imagination, used as a driving force of creation and as a spring through which the eloquence of the gesture generates new moments and spaces. By way of these minimal gestures of maximum impact Prieto generates new readings and unexpected interpretations that subtly break with the standardized and normative.
As in most of his works, the artist here assumes the role of an observer of reality, an explorer and researcher of the everyday, his function reduced almost to pointing out and highlight certain aspects of the world, modifying their significance by means of small gestures that dislocate the perspective of reason. Prieto seems to intervene less and less in his work, in order to leave more room for the viewer. Since this work, Prieto has continued to explore the landscape tradition with works such as Constructivist and Deconstructivist Meadow Seen from the Sofa at Home with One’s Feet on the Table or Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, both from 2011. In these works he is once again in the realms of those personal landscapes fashioned from everyday objects taken out of context, which prompt us to imagine possible new scenarios.
Für Elise de Ludwig van Beethoven en orden de tono, 2009
|Videoinstallation | Video and framed score|
|A framed sheet of blank music paper. Next to it a screen. Minimalist rigour. In a perfectly photographed static shot, a tail-coated pianist takes his seat and begins to play. The notes develop a linear crescendo in which there is no very clear distinction between cadence and stridency, in a kind of progressive singsong. Although we follow the movement of the pianist’s hands and arms, the audio imposes itself on the static spectrum of the visual, making the ultimately captivating absence of acoustic harmony a kind of ridiculous challenge to the connotations of sobriety offered by the images.|
What is the meaning of all this? To answer the question we need only turn to the title: Für Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven in Order of Pitch. It is not, then, a case of simply wrecking the tune of the famous piece, or of discrediting the rigour of the performance that is automatically associated with the culture to which the composer belongs, which would seem to be endorsed by the knowing gesture of putting the credits in German. These are side effects — touches of irony that are deployed naturally, as an added value — in the exercises in reordering the world to be found in the works produced by Daniel Jacoby between 2007 and 2009.
In his obsessive analysis and questioning of the logics of information and the hierarchies that govern what we consider to be real, Jacoby spent the early part of his artistic career to applying the systems of measurement of science to other spheres linked to everyday life, the media or specific work contexts. By making hypothetically futile applications of strict methodologies in seemingly capricious scenarios he lays bare the relativity of the modes of reading and cataloguing with which we set out to engage with certain aspects of existence.
With a tone that is more playful than otherwise, with the rigour of a researcher, often working with people from other creative or scientific fields, and inspired by a minimalist aesthetic and ethic which he leavens with a good deal irony, Jacoby approaches reality from odd angles, decontextualizing the elements he uses from their internal logic, stretching their parameters to new possible meanings or simply to nonsense.
A print publication with the weather forecast for 20 February for the next hundred years in Mollet del Vallès; a sound piece with the 79 instances of the word ‘you’ on the Beatles album Abbey Road; a video with the 271 instances of the word ‘no’ in the film A Clockwork Orange; another video with all the words of the first ten minutes of a public speech by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in alphabetical order; a shop window with graphs charting the chromatic breakdown of the covers of the four largest-circulation Spanish newspapers over one month; a metric calculation of the size of the concepts of large and small, or the rearranging by height of all the books in a library are among the most iconic works of this process.
Together with A Toblerone of Exactly 50 g 491 Toblerones of Approximately 50 g — in which an exhaustive comparative study was conducted to find the chocolate bar with the exact weight indicated on the packaging was followed up by an exhibition, a print publication and the handing out of free Toblerones — Für Elise by Ludwig van Beethoven in Order of Pitch represents the coming to full artistic maturity of the series of works that constitute the first stage in Daniel Jacoby’s oeuvre. This conclusion of a stage is also a turning point, prior to the methodological bootlegging between the verifiable and the speculative made way for the narrativity that has oriented his projects since then.
Bern and Hilla Becher
The importance of the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher has to do not only with their artistic activity but most of all with their teaching at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. Bernd (Siegen,1931) and Hilla (Postdam, 1934 – 2015) Becher met when they were students of painting in Düsseldorf. In 1959 they did their first photographic work together. As teachers, they have influenced the new generations of German artists, including some of the outstanding names who have redefined photographic creation, such as Thomas Ruff, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höffer or Thomas Struth.
Bernd and Hilla Becher’s photographs document industrial landscapes which are in the process of disappearing through deserted factories, water towers or gasometers, which are shown in isolation. They base their work on typologies and approach the different motifs almost like a clinical dissection, which finds its closest antecedent in the anthropological documentations made during the period of the Weimar Republic by August Sander. With their photographs the Bechers show a past which, unlike the present, they can control and order through their compositions. These works, which they have been doing since the fifties, have been regarded as the supreme model of conceptual art in photography.
Their work has been shown at Documenta 5 (1972), 6 (1977) and 11 (2002), as well as the São Paulo Biennial (1977). They have received many awards, among them the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1990.
In a way, Alicia Framis’ work is a fable. Starting from a very specific observation of her surroundings she tells stories with a real base and a fictitious development that show up some of the flaws of modern society, for which she tries to find a solution, undoubtedly involving an indirect ethical lesson. This investigation into the world around her has evolved from the private in the works of the 90s such as Cinema Solo or Dreamkeeper to the social in series like Anti-dog or Secret Strike. In all cases her projects follow a recognisable schema: a living documentary investigation of a series of conflicts which human beings (often, but not exclusively, women) face in an individualistic contemporary society which overprotects itself from the other. From there she decides to provide practical solutions to the problem. Everything begins with an idea and ends up becoming a plan, a complex project through which she approaches the same problem from different viewpoints and to which she eventually tries to offer solutions. In that way her works end up being organised in corpora of meaning that define a specific problem, whether loneliness, fear of aggression, the need to be loved or alienation.
Dora García’s work is strongly characterized by the involvement of its viewers, who are urged to take a stand on ethically contentious questions, to commit themselves to a closer examination of these matters and to reflect on the institutional nature of the setting in which their encounter with works of art takes place.
Hers is a practice based on research, and one that focuses on subjects which recur and are woven into the whole fabric of her production, such as the interest in the history of anti-institutional movements (with particular attention to anti-psychiatry), the figure of the artist as outsider and mechanisms of communication, whether linguistic or not. These subjects are not explained to the viewer, but laid out with an attitude that verges on a challenge: documents, ambiguous reenactments in performances, lectures and talks, videos and books are presented in the exhibition space as archives, sophisticated sets of references, reworkings. Viewers have to choose their own key of interpretation, decide what attitude to take, the degree of interaction they wish to have with the work. Or remain impervious to the provocation of an enigmatic theme, ambiguously presented in such a way as to make people think. As a complement to this total openness of interpretation, García prepares a series of instruments, often in the form of websites, to share her sources with viewers, to inform them about her projects and keep them up to date on their development and to get to know their opinions and reactions through blogs and social networks.
Antoni Abad was born in Lleida in 1956 and is a History of Art graduate from the University of Barcelona. After creating a series of large-scale, interwoven paintings that were midway between painting and sculpture, he went on to produce sculptures in foam rubber in 1985, which he made public the following year at the Espai 10 Gallery of the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. Since then his work has evolved, both in the use of new materials (such as components of mecalux (metal shelving systems) and tape measures) and, following his interest in new media, into the world of video and Net-Art in 1995. This was succeeded from 2004 onwards by the use of mobile phones as creative and communicative tools, culminating in an onsite work entitled *TAXI in collaboration with taxi drivers from Mexico City. He continued this work the following year with the Gypsy communities of Lleida and Leon, as well as further collaborations with other communities in Madrid, Barcelona, San José de Costa Rica and Sao Paulo. These projects can be followed on the web page www.zexe.net. These latest projects have won him numerous awards, such as the National Visual Arts Prize 2006, awarded by the Government of Catalonia, and the Electronic Ars Festival in Linz the same year.
Thomas Ruff takes photography as a medium for exploring a host of issues concerned with the visual environment. First, he is interested in it as a technique, as an apparatus; second, he is interested in the image, aware of its presence and importance in our societies; and third, his work studies how the gaze is enacted, how we perceive and through which models.
The successive series Ruff has worked in must be regarded as new approaches to old themes; the portrait, the city, the nude, photojournalism, etc., where the content is not in what is reflected but in what is projected. In his work an image always refers to another image, as he has said in an interview: “Our image models are the images in the media. For that reason my images are not depictions of reality, but show a kind of second reality, the image of the image”. And in this exercise he reveals the mechanisms by which the habits of perception are maintained and shaped.
An advanced student of Bern and Hilla Becher’s at the Düsseldorf Academy, Ruff began his career in the early eighties with a series of portraits where in a way he distances himself from the documentary precepts of his teachers: first, he decided to do portraits at a time when the portrait was practically irrelevant in art or photography; and second, he introduced colour, which removed him from the documentary tradition, firmly established in black and white.
Ruff’s work starts from the premise that all images are a construction and the manipulations to which he submits them are rightly selected to reflect the dialogue that is set up between an image and the gaze.
Rather than talking about the work of Javier Codesal (Sabiñánigo, Huesca, 1958) in the singular, even when adopting an idea of variety in the totality, we consider it more appropriate to talk about “the works” in the plural. We may accept a current of unity and similarity in the range of ideas, but the broad spectrum of his expressive universe (film, photography, poetry, installations, video, theory or theoretical criticism) moves in space and time as indicators of a single journey: the changing allegorical dimension of existence, which in turn is subdivided into two parallel roads which will never meet. First we travel the road of the observation and examination of memory as the territory of time stripped of the urgent metaphysics that wants to be narrated, understood. Then we have the other road which we can no longer travel; we shall only make it ours by possessing it from the pure, passive observation of its contours. The tension created by both roads or situations establishes itself as the solar centre of all Codesal’s aesthetic production, of whatever kind it may be, to the extent that a poem can become the embryo of a film script, or a sequence from a film an action frozen in photography, or a video the start of a theoretical dissertation on the gaze. In some way the whole of his work could perfectly well fit Deleuze’s intelligent definition of the films of Antonioni: the kind that replace traditional drama with a kind of “optical drama” lived by the character or characters. The connection seems in no way gratuitous, since Codesal, as I recall, adores the films of Antonioni, among many other directors.
Luis Francisco Pérez
Among other themes, her work revolves around an investigation into the female identity, in which everyday objects become protagonists. Animated by the effect of light, mirrors and shadows, Valldosera combines and twists them to construct stages that are often dynamic and always based on an extreme position with regard to the limits of credibility.
Apparently simple and accessible (the artist always makes the mechanisms evident), her works are characterised by being complex and subtle at the same time.
Since the middle 1990s, her work has been exhibited in numerous contemporary art biennials around the world, including the Kwang-ju (South Korea), Sydney, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Venice, Yokohama (Japan), Athens, Santa Fe(USA)and Sao Paulo Biennials and the 1997 Skulptur Projekte held in Münster (Germany). In 2000, she presented her work at a retrospective at the Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, and in 2001 at the Antoni Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona, which led to her being awarded the Catalan government’s National Arts Prize in 2003. She is currently preparing an individual exhibition for the Museo Nacional Centro de Art Reina Sofía in Madrid, which will open in 2009.
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