On June the 29th, ADN Galería presents 10 IS MORE THAN A NUMBER, a group show which compiles works by all the artists working with the gallery to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The exhibition includes artworks by Carlos Aires, Iván Argote, Virginie Barré, Abdelkader Benchamma, Tobias Bernstrup, Santiago Cirugeda, DEMOCRACIA, Igor Eškinja, Mounir Fatmi, Daniel & Geo Fuchs, Chus García- Fraile, Regina José Galindo, Kendell Geers, Núria Güell, Adrian Melis, Eugenio Merino, Jean-Luc Moerman, Bruno Peinado, Concha Pérez and Federico Solmi.
To celebrate this date we also take the opportunity to open the new space: ADN Platform in Sant Cugat which consolidates the cultural contribution of the gallery as a platform for exhibition projects generated by an open call for curators, performances, public programs exploring the rapport between art and society as well as artist and curator residencies and exhibitions. For its vernissage we present two shows: the first one entitled: Old and New is curated by Azotea (Juan Canela and Ane Agirre) and shows works by Efrén Álvarez / Antonio Gagliano, Adelita Husni-Bey, Diego Santomé, Adrian Melis, Mona Vatamanu - Florin Tudor y Usue Arrieta/Vicente Vázquez; the second one: micro-actions of emergency is curated by the research group: de vuelta y vuelta (Inés Jover and Claudia Segura) and performs works by: Daniela Ortiz and Xose Quiroga, Núria Güell and Levi Orta and Marco Godoy.
adn galería - 10 IS MORE THAN A NUMBER
The first room of the exhibition compiles artistic projects which refer to violence, desperation and ultimately tragedy. In fact, they are allegoric approaches developed in the field of representation, which suggest an approximation to creative practices related with social commitment.
L’évolution ou la mort (Matéo) by Mounir Fatmi alludes/portraits the deconstruction of dogmas and ideologies through the irony of the Kamikaze character. In his photography the artist explores the relationship between political subjects, their society and the hegemonic power. We also present the newest artwork by Carlos Aires: The Disasters: a series of cut bank notes from different countries where he has inserted images from the media, capturing shared symbols which eventually compose the contemporary dystopia.
This reality leads us to the absurd paradox of the abundance and famine present in our society. Ivan Argote portraits this unfairness by grafiting in a wall the sentence: “If hunger is law, rebellion is justice”. A dumb scream which portraits the denigration and the violence that can be generated from a situation of such impoverishment. The same way Regina José Galindo shows it in her project XX. The core of the project is the idea and the perception of death in human existence but specially the idea of dying completely alone, without anyone weeping for us. In countries where the extreme violence is part of everyday life, death is perceived in a different way. Everyday in Guatemala two to four corpses are buried as XX, unknown. The artists achieved a performance of setting gravestones aiming to give a place to these human beings in their death. 52 gravestones were placed in the cemetery of La Verbena in Guatemala, partially modifying the space. Under each gravestone there is a body that once was alive. No one knows his name or his face, but nobody could deny his existence.
Kanniballe by Kendell Geers also represents certain violence, in this case historical violence, about the south African conflict which the artists was a victim during his childhood. On the bicolour painting, we can observe some crosses, fire, and the word: “fuck” coming out from the flames. The use of white and black as only colours of the painting remind to the arrists own oersonal mitology: from his white identity borned and brought uo in South Africa. An extreme opositor to the Aparheid he decided to adopt 1968 as date of his new birth. Geers condenses in this artwork his own violent memories which he transforms into subversive icons.
We continue with some of Jean Luc Moerman’s works where he brings together icons from diverse contexts, carrying different symbolical meanings, to set them back into a new reality, the same one for all of them, only considering their condition as public images. Spiritual Tool: a baseball bat with a Jesus Christ’s face drawn on the top of the strike is presented as a religious weapon; symbol of the strong violence used in the name of God. Certainly, it reveals the irony and cruelty of mandates.
The sculpture of DEMOCRACIA: All of you are guilty but me reproduces a memorial of a suicidal terrorist. It explores the status of the victim and the executioner in the contemporary society. Moreover, it questions the meaning of guilt, sacrifice, terrorism and the usage of rage in the dullness of the every day life.
The second space of the gallery gathers different artistic projects showing the intellectual, cultural interests of the artists and which relation those have with cultural consumption. Inspired from literature and the science, Abdelkader Benchamma’s drawings questions the perception we have object that surround us. The skilled hand of Virgine Barré portraits scenes from Stanley Kubrick’s movies giving them a complete new language in the here and now. From the series Algorithms, the drawings by Tobias Bernstrup represent a clear example of the influence that videogames and technology have on the artist’s imaginary.
In the other hand, the projects of the last room of the gallery play with a semantic turn and with the symbolic appropriation to codify certain aspects of the social fabric. V de Verdugos by Eugenio Merino transforms the vengeful hero from Alan Moore’s comic into a Swaroski mask, changing its meaning and symbolism, converting it into a luxury fetish object. Quoting the artist: “This is the mask of ours antagonists like our mask but transformed into jewel and luxury: symbol of the decline of our society.”
The project Lampadarios. G20 by Chus García-Fraile arises from the idea that religion, benchmark and catalyst for many events throughout history, has been replaced by other ideological systems, especially the political one. Vehicles of utopias whose failure has left its mark on the past century, they ended up melting in the matrix of neoliberal capitalism. Federico Solmi with A Song of Tyranny, Confessions of a Ruthless Dictator reveals the appropriation of the ideal in order to establish an hegemonic and imposed power without ethics or principles.
The installation I melt with you by Bruno Peinado unfurl eleven Spanish flags, elements per excellence of the crystallization of identities as well as stimulus for the feeling towards mother land. The flags bleach gradually until attaining a complete white. The symbol is therefore cancelled and eludes any aspiration, desires and ideals expected from concept such as identity and motherland.
Towards the other side of the room, we can find the piece: Replacement Points by Adrian Melis who uses social anthropology to question the totalitarian ideology revealing the sharp tension between voice and silence, presence and absence in relation with the contemporary social and political claims. The images taken in the city of Barcelona and its suburbs show freshly painted walls hiding phrases of social protest previously written on. These phrases appear below the photographs, in the form of subtitles that decode neutral images. The Cuban artist intends to reactivate an imposed silent, similar to what Daniel & Geo Fusch aspire with the Stasi Secrets Rooms photographic series. They aim to disclose the horror of ancient German prisons. The confusing images show open cells, death basements, thousands of archives and tapes broken that arouse all the cruelty of the Stasi prison discovered fifteen years after the fall of the Berlin wall.
Igor Eskinja presents Meeting in a remote place, which underlines the collapse of the worker power and its ideals, which are dragged by the capitalist system. Both Santiago Cirugeda and Concha Pérez focus their research on the concept of space, its configuration, characteristics and the image that it ultimately projects.
In the piece that belongs to the project: Ocupación de solares: arquitectura mobiliaria, Santiago Cirugeda places inside a suitcase a house scale model, transportable to any place, mobile and traveller, flexible to any space. The photography by Concha Pérez Entre dos it is a photomontage of an abandoned building site which reforms the image of the space by its digitalization.
By participative projects, the artist Núria Güell explores the socio-economical structures looking for some breaks from where to generate debate and critical thinking. She also facilitates tools for social activism as she does in Fuera de Juego through the hide and sick game denouncing the situation of immigrants in Spain.
Adopting the theory of the distribution of the sensible by Rancière, the projects presented in 10 is more than a number will to recompose the critical space of art and generate a political project for the emancipation of all the viewers. The artworks shown in the exhibition become places of uncertainty and potential for transforming the consensus. In other words, they aim to disseminate the distribution of the sensible. Their collective objective constructs new spaces opposed to the establish hierarchy and provide a compendium of proposals which work as individual declination of shared topics and actual concerns related with the contemporary society of conflict. Throughout these years, all of them have consolidated the programme of the gallery.