Paloma Chamorro, filósofa de la acción (philosopher of action), Session 4 of of Material Voices: Feminist genealogies of the work of making exhibitions. With Xabier Arakistain, Daniel Llaría and Azucena Vieites.
The aim of Material Voices. Feminist genealogies of the work of making exhibitions is to research women’s curatorial practices from the sixties until today. We use dialogue as a tool for research and explore the material potential of and interactions between voices, exhibitions and works of art.
PALOMA CHAMORRO, PHILOSOPHER OF ACTION
Paloma Chamorro (1949-2017) worked for Spanish national television (TVE) in the nineteen-seventies and eighties. Those were the years of the end of the dictatorship and what was known as the Transition to Democracy, and Chamorro conceived and directed programmes on art and culture. She was led by passion and curiosity at a time when, as she put it, “a woman could not become a judge”, in an atmosphere of enthusiasm and a medium (known at the time as el ente (the Body) directly inherited from the Franco era. With exquisite care and attention, Chamorro, who had studied philosophy but saw herself as a “philosopher of action”, directed Trazos. Revista de arte, Imágenes, La edad de oro, La estación de Perpignan and La realidad inventada.
Chamorro used her programmes to add to public awareness of contemporary art and culture on national television using the artists’ works and their own words. This was after Franco’s forty-year long rule and censorship under his regime. Chamorro was a brilliant, spellbinding interviewer. She talked to the exiled painter Maruja Mallo (1902-1995) and other artists of that period including Salvador Dalí (1904-1989), Joan Miró (1893-1983) and Jorge Oteiza (1908-2003). She also interviewed artists from other contexts, such as John Cale (1942), Derek Jarman (1942-1994), Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) and Ocaña (1947-1983), as well as bands like Los Chunguitos, Gun Club, The Residents and The Smiths.
La edad de oro (1983-1985) was a reference for generations of young TV viewers, and the programme which finally made Chamorro an icon of what was known as La Movida Madrileña. Even the title of the programme, which paid homage to Luis Buñuel’s (1900-1983) L’âge d’or (1930), revealed an awareness of its exceptional character. While it also included other artistic media, it mostly showcased live music. Room was given to all so-called “marginal” practices, at a time when subcultural theory was still confined to Anglo-Saxon academic circles.
The very first broadcast of La edad de oro opened with Paloma Chamorro, her hair teased up and a broad smile on her face, inviting the audience to “experiment with TV as a new form of expression”. Her striving to imagine state TV as an experimental space was to bring her into constant trouble. In 1984 she was sued for blasphemy after broadcasting a video by the group Psychic TV, produced by La edad de oro and directed by Derek Jarman. Chamorro was absolved in 1990 and the verdict was confirmed in 1993, but she never went back to work.
This Material Voices encounter with Xabier Arakistain, Daniel Llaría and Azucena Vieites is dedicated to an honest, lucid, shining figure who worked to make television “broaden the limits of freedom of expression”.
Xabier Arakistain (Madrid, 1966) is an art curator who has been including the category of sex as a curatorial criterion ever since his first exhibition, Trans Sexual Express. He has curated retrospectives dedicated to key artists of Feminist Art such as Margaret Harrison, Judy Chicago or Guerrilla Girls and also group exhibitions such as The Furious Gaze, Kick in the Eye, Eight Feminist Strategies to Interrupt the Male Gaze or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, 86 Steps in 45 Years of Art and Feminism. In 2008, concerned about the barriers to transmitting feminist knowledge, he jointly launched with the anthropologist Lourdes Méndez the annual interdisciplinary, international and intergenerational course Feminist Perspectives in Artistic Productions and Theories of Art. Between 2007 and 2011, he directed the Montehermoso Cultural Centre with a pioneering project in developing and implementing gender equality policies in the fields of contemporary art, knowledge and culture.
Daniel Llaría (Logroño, 1985) is an artist, who studied for a Degree in Fine Art with the Universidad del País Vasco and then a Masters at Parsons–The New School for Design on a Fulbright Scholarship. He went on to complete his training at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture, Maine (US). Group exhibitions include Antes que Todo (CA2M, 2010); First Thought Best (Artium, 2014) and El Arte del Tiempo (Zinebi, 2018). Recent solo exhibitions include Holes and Poles (Fundación Bilbaoarte, 2020); Duros (Halfhouse, 2020); and Get-Rich (Artium, 2021). Llaría has been a member of different collectives such as Baba Llaga, Anorexia Mental and Musta Props. He is now making tracks under the name Dalla.
Azucena Vieites. Artist. Latest solo exhibitions include: Selección de trabajos, Galería CarrerasMugica (Bilbao, 2021); Rehacer Break Out Of Your Shell, IVAM (Valencia, 2021); Playing Across Papers, Sala Alcalá 31 (Madrid, 2020/2021) and Tableau Vivant, Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid, 2013). She exhibited at the 11th Berlin Biennale (2020). and has taken part in many different projects and group exhibitions. In 1994 Vieites co-founded Erreakzioa, a project for proposals combining artistic practice and feminist thinking (1995-2000), one of whose pioneer initiatives was the publishing of fanzines, and another the directing of the seminar Sólo para tus ojos. El factor feminista en relación con las artes visuales (Arteleku, 1997). Associate professor with the Fine Art Faculties of UCM and USAL. Vieites read her thesis, Prácticas artísticas low-fi. Una aproximación al contexto vasco (1985-2005) in 2019.
Material Voices: Feminist Genealogies of the Work of Making Exhibitions is supported by the Foundation for Arts Initiatives (FFAI), New York.