THE PAPERS OF THE EXHIBITION (1977-2017). INTERNATIONAL CURATING SYMPOSIUM
SEPTEMBER 21-23, 2017
Bulegoa z/b and Azkuna Zentroa have organised The Papers of the Exhibition (1977-2017) International Curating Symposium, to be held on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of September.
The Papers of the Exhibition (1977-2017) is a project which started with a prologue in 2016 and will be developed over three years with several international encounters. The purpose of the project is to study specific exhibitions held between 1977 and 2017, and their relationship with the ideas of the essay and the rehearsal.
FIRST ENCOUNTER (1977-1987)
Focused on the decade 1977-1987, this first encounter in September 2017 sets up a dialogue on the different views of this period from the present, bearing in mind the geopolitical, cultural and social context of the time and its relationship with art and the idea of exhibition. The programme includes conferences by Tamara Díaz Bringas, Bojana Kunst, Dora García, Carles Guerra, Franco Berardi Bifo and Adrian Heathfield, and two seminars run by the latter two.
Conferences: Free admission with invitation (collect at Az’s Infopuntua) until full capacity is reached.
21 September 2017
10.30-14.00 Spirited Affinities. Seminar with Adrian Heathfield
18.00. Presentation. Lourdes Fernández and Bulegoa z/b
18:30. Everything I didn’t know in the 80s. Dora García
19:30. 1979. A monument to radical moments. Carles Guerra
22 September 2017
11.00-14.00. Within the sphere of Chaos. 100 years after the Soviet revolution. Seminar with Franco Berardi Bifo
18.00. Out in the Open: Feminist Practices, Autonomous Life and Exhibition. Bojana Kunst
19.00. If the river was not drawned by water. Tamara Díaz Bringas
20.00. A recurrence of duration. Adrian Heathfield
23 September 2017
12.00. The year in which the future ended. Franco Berardi Bifo
13.30. Closing reception and cocktail
Everything I didn’t know in the 80s. Dora García
I studied Fine Arts in Salamanca and later in Amsterdam from 1985 to 1991. Back then, artists were rock stars and aspiring artists were aspiring rock stars. In Spain, male chauvinism was rampant (and remains so), and the myth of the heterosexual and hypersexual masculine ethos was alive and kicking (no longer as much, uff). Or that’s what I remember anyway. Everyone wanted to go to New York, to be represented by a gallery, to sell works at exorbitant prices. Role models were Schnabel, who was adored in Madrid, or Barceló. There seemed to be no other alternative. And yet, all the while there existed Group Material and Félix González Torres. There was Lee Lozano and there existed (and exists) David Hammons. There was Ulises Carrión, Jack Smith and Charlotte Posenenske (although she was no longer an artist). Ana Mendieta, Glauber Rocha and Leon Hirszman also existed, such as the Conceptualisms of the South with Tucumán Arde, Graciela Carnevale, Helio Oiticica, Lygia Clark and Cildo Meireles. All of these names were fundamental in my work and in that of the artists of my generation. And yet, in those years defined by José Luis Brea as “after the enthusiasm”, nobody talked to me about them.
1979. A monument to radical moments. Carles Guerra
The Aesthetics of Resistance remains a strange book. It is both a novel and an aesthetic program. Despite the initial success that marked its publication in 1975-1981 the book soon faded into oblivion. Its vision of a defeated world may have sounded against the grain of the neoconservative tide of the 80’s. The book remains as well polarized. However, people like Harun Farocki immediately understood the extraordinary relevance of the book as the second volume came out in 1979. Nowadays this monumental text by Peter Weiss can be read as a visionary autobiography containing an unusual description of events caught in the historical narrative. In this novel Weiss described an improbable involvement along the Spanish Civil War and World War II, presenting conflicts and wars as the scenario for a pedagogy of great potential, and in such a way that a popular aesthetic pedagogy emerges out of a massive dialogical exchange. Today our own potential and hope for a world of connections is mirrored in The Aesthetics of Resistance. The model is there, full of paradoxes and giving itself as a false chronicle that requires further discussion, mostly relevant for those interested in reconsidering the empirical nature of documentary practices. After reading it we might well conclude that Weiss’s book deserves a recognition among the key aesthetic manuals of the twentieth century. A place nobody has ever dared to suggest it could be occupied by a novel.
When I undertook the project of an exhibition based on this book a myriad of events loosely dated around the year 1979 came to my mind. A totally unexpected gestalt emerged by linking like in a dot by a dot drawing as many of those events as I could.
Out in the Open: Feminist Practices, Autonomous Life and Exhibition. Bojana Kunst
In this lecture I would like to present some feminist art practices from the period 1979-1989, that explored how the reorganisation of the reproductive sphere, the central theme embraced by the first generation of feminists, did not necessarily lead to more freedom and emancipation, but actually just the opposite. Because the battle for women’s rights was being waged in the field of reproduction, some of the feminist authors were particularly aware of the paradoxes between the new self-organised, flexible and precarious subjectivity and the affective, self-defined and so-called autonomous life. In this presentation I will focus on the work of several feminist authors from that period (e.g., Helke Sanders and Sanja Iveković), whose artistic and activist practices thematised the paradoxical visibility of feminist practices and tied them closely to the infrastructure of the city, the public space. These authors showed how neither the workplace nor the home are the right stages for showcasing or fighting for the cause of feminism, and how the same applies to the exhibition format. Rather, it is this metropolitan, urban and infrastructural environment through which we move in our everyday lives and which is at once defined by the scarcity of vital resources and the lack of support for an autonomous life.
If the river was not drawned by water. Tamara Díaz Bringas
James Bay Project. A River Drowned by Water was a show by the artist Rainer Wittenborn and the writer Claus Biegert at the MoMA of San Francisco in 1981. The project regarding a dam that flooded indigenous lands in Canada also constituted the last exhibition presented by Rolando Castellón (Nicaragua, 1937) who was then a curator of that institution. Self-taught artist and curator, Castellón was invited to become a member of the San Francisco MoMA in 1972 with the aim of heading up a programme intended for “communities” after having promoted the foundation of the Galería de la Raza in that city, active since 1969. Castellón’s working style, his living work, his foreign and amateur, anti-colonial and “Post-Colombian” positions, invite us to interrogate, among other grammars, those of the exhibition.
A Recurrence of Duration. Adrian Heathfield
Writer and curator Adrian Heathfield talks about his work with artist Tehching Hsieh, particularly focusing on their recent collaboration –Doing Time– Taiwan’s exhibition at the 57th Venice Biennale. Hsieh is renowned for a series of one year long performances in the late 1970s and early 80s that pushed physical and psychological limits and drew attention to time as an artistic material. Heathfield speculates on curatorial practice and performance, their relations with remaining and remains. He discusses the prescience of Hsieh’s work in terms of capitalism’s reformulation of labour and its regulation and acceleration of life.
The year in which the future ended. Franco Berardi Bifo
1977 can be considered as a turning point in history. It is not only the year in which neoliberalism began to assert itself and in which new communication technologies emerged, but also the year in which a radical cultural movement took shape, though characterised by a post-political nature. Meanwhile, social and aesthetic anxiety was expressed in the words “No future”.
Forty years later, 1977 can be considered the end of confidence in the future, and the beginning of a precarious era.
Spirited Affinities. Seminar with Adrian Heathfield
Heathfield will screen and discuss his recent film with Hugo Glendinning: Spirit Labour. Concerned with the ‘persistence of performance’, the film works to trace the energetics of trans-generational cross-form collaboration. It proposes the notion of ‘spirited affinities’ as barely visible infrastructures of culture: consistent, binding but morphing transmissions between artists and artworks across time. The film speculates beside one such ‘spirited affinity’ running between sculptor Janine Antoni, dance-maker Anna Halprin and writer Hélène Cixous. In the seminar, performance’s historical survival will be discussed in relation to genealogies of ‘spirited affinity’, the curation of acts of retrospection, and in the light of art’s re-attunement to the non-human and to the powers of the unknown.
Within the sphere of Chaos. 100 years after the Soviet revolution. Franco Berardi Bifo
The Soviet revolution was the pivotal moment of the modern promise, the project of Reason being materialised into historical reality. In the following decades known as post-modernity, this promise revealed itself as an illusion. In 1977, Punk culture declared the future, as a progressive and expanding process, to be a failure. The socialist project was certified a failure in 1989. Many declared history was on the way out. Fukuyama on the one hand, and Negri and Hardt on the other, proclaimed the eternity of the neoliberal empire. It was an illusion, for today, 100 years after the Soviet revolution, Chaos is the general form of history.
Adrian Heathfield is a writer and curator working across the scenes of live art, theatre and dance. He is the author of Out of Now, a monograph on the artist Tehching Hsieh and editor of Perform, Repeat, Record and Live: Art and Performance. He co-curated Live Culture (Tate Modern 2003) and the creative research projects Performance Matters (2009-14) and Curating the Ephemeral (2014-16). He was an attaché for the Biennale of Sydney 2016, co-director with freethought of Bergen Assembly 2016, and curator of the Taiwan Pavilion, Biennale di Venezia 2017. He is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture, University of Roehampton, London.
Dora García is an artist who uses a range of media including performance, HD film, text and installation. Her practice investigates the conditions that shape the encounter between the artist, the artwork and the viewer, focusing more particularly on the notions of duration, access and readability. García’s pieces often involve staging unscripted scenarios that elicit doubt as to the fictional or spontaneous nature of a given situation, setting rules of engagement or using recording devices to frame both conscious and unconscious forms of spectator participation. García’s work also explores the political potential rooted in marginal positions, paying homage through several works to eccentric and often anti-heroic personas. Dora García has participated in dOCUMENTA13 (2012), Biennale di Venezia (2011, 2013, 2015), São Paulo Biennial (2010), the Biennale of Sydney (2008), Skulptur Projekte Münster (2007), Istanbul Biennial (2003).
Carles Guerra. Artist, critic and independent curator based in Barcelona, Carles Guerra is now Director of Fundació Antoni Tàpies since 2015. His program has included the first monographic exhibition devoted to Harun Farocki in Spain, Harun Farocki. Empathy, a reflection on the peace process and the ETA years in the Basque Country, 1989. After the Conversations of Algiers. Delirium and Truce and an ongoing research that takes the political biography of Antoni Tàpies as a case study for the emergence of Modernism under Franco’s dictatorship.
Carles Guerra has held the position of Chief Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona MACBA between 2011 and 2013. Some of the exhibitions he has curated include Military Series. Alexandr Sokurov, Office Baroque Portfolio. Gordon Matta-Clark, Filming Beaubourg. Roberto Rossellini, Phantome Home. Ahlam Shibli, Nitrate. Xavier Ribas and Art & Language Uncomplete. The Philippe Méaille Collection.
He has been director of La Virreina Centre de la Imatge from 2009 through 2011. During that period he organized among many other projects Antiphotojournalism (co-curated with Thomas Keenan), Bruno Serralongue and 1979. A Monument to Radical Instants.
Highlights of his professional career include exhibitions Art & Language in Practice, Dis-exhibit. Perejaume, After the News. Postmedia Documentary Practices, Situation Cinema. Joaquim Jordà, B: Zone (Co-curated with Nuria Enguita) and This is not an exhibition.
He has been a member of the editorial board of Cultura/s, a culture magazine published by the newspaper La Vanguardia, since 2001; and is author of numerous essays N for Negri (2000), Allan Sekula speaks with Carles Guerra (2005) and Negatives of Europe. Video Essays and Collective Pedagogies (2008).
Besides his professional career as an art critic and curator he has also worked extensively on the cultural policies under Postfordist conditions.
Guerra obtained a PhD degree by the Universitat de Barcelona in 2006 and since then on he has been associate professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. As a visiting professor he has taught at several institutions throughout Europe and the USA. In 2011 he was awarded the Ciutat de Barcelona Prize for his contribution in the field of visual arts.
Franco Berardi “Bifo” (Bologna, 1949) is a writer, philosopher and Italian political-cultural agitator. He received his B.A. in Aesthetics from the faculty of Philosophy and Arts of the University of Bologna. He was the founder of “Radio Alice” and a leading figure of the Italian Autonomia Movement. He currently teaches Social Media History at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. In 2002 he founded “TV Orfeo”, the first Italian community television station. From among his works are: The Factory of Unhappiness, Traficantes de Sueños, Madrid (2003); Generación Post-Alfa, Tinta Limón, Buenos Aires (2007); The Soul at Work: From Alienation to Autonomy, Semiotext(e), Los Angeles (2007); Precarious Rhapsody: Semiocapitalism and the Pathologies of the Post-alpha Generation, Minor Compositions, London (2009); After the Future, AK Press (2009); Félix, Editorial Cactus, Buenos Aires (2013); Después del Futuro. Desde el futurismo al cyberpunk. El agotamiento de la modernidad, Enclave editorial, Madrid (2014).
Bojana Kunst is a philosopher, dramaturg and performance theoretician. She works as a professor at the Institute for Applied Theater Studies in Justus Liebig University Giessen, where she is leading an international master program Choreography and Performance. She is a member of the editorial board of Maska, Amfiteater and Performance Research magazines. Her last book is Artist at Work, Proximity of Art and Capitalism, Zero Books, Winchester, 2015.
Tamara Díaz Bringas (Cuba, 1973) is a researcher and curator, and currently lives in Madrid. She was recently the general curator of the X Biennial of Visual Arts of Central America, Costa Rica, 2016. She received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Havana in 1996 and graduated in 2009 from the MACBA’s Programme of Independent Studies, Barcelona. Between 1999 and 2009 she was assistant curator and editorial coordinator of TEOR/éTica, San José. She has curated various exhibitions, among others: Playgrounds. Reinventar la plaza –together with Manuel J. Borja-Villel and Teresa Velázquez–, Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid, 2014; assistant curator of the 31 Bienal Pontevedra: Ut(r)ópicos, dedicated to Central America and the Caribbean and directed by Santiago Olmo, Galicia, 2010. Together with Virginia Pérez-Ratton she curated Estrecho Dudoso, San José, 2006. TEOR/éTica has published a selection of her essays in the book Crítica próxima, 2016.