Stanza 1. Truth lies in the extreme

Valentín Roma

The urge to collect is caught between restlessness and need. A restlessness that precedes it, through which can be glimpsed a certain account yet to be constructed. A need that pursues it, a need of a hermeneutic nature through which the collected can be unequivocally interpreted, with everything that is potentially ‘illegible’ rejected. Nevertheless, if we apply this dualistic argument to the urge that has led numerous institutions to build their collections, we find ourselves faced with two obvious questions: what accounts were the people in charge of these institutions hoping to assemble?; and what narratives did they end up constructing?

There is, however, a question that is even more pressing, if such a thing is possible: once the account has been formed and the narrative understood, how can we continue looking?; what regenerative mechanisms do collections have to take soundings of their own fissures and encourage new escapes, overcoming the apparent ‘updating’ that the successive mises-en-scène promote?

From this last question stems Truth lies in the extreme, a phrase that Benjamin attributed to the collector and historian Eduard Fuchs. The Artium Collection takes this notion as a subject of analysis, exploring certain discursive lines from which to observe the ways in which art collides, assaults and ousts politics.

Exhibition narrative Gestures of Politics  

Signalled works: Oráculo, Erick Beltrán, 2004; El autorretrato en el tiempo, Esther Ferrer, 1981-94; L.S.D.A., Pedro G. Romero, 2000; Zero Dollar, Cildo Meireles, 1978; Perspectiva Tableau-table (Soldats Soldés), Antoni Miralda, 1971; “Sólo tú” series, Carlos Pazos, 1990; Phantom Reportage (Charlottenburg), Dan Perjovschi, 2006; Dau al Set nº 8, Joan Ponç, 1947; Remembrandt, Antonio Saura, 1973

The language of vituperation and blasphemy is generally regarded as a ‘gesture’ of rupture and not as a simple ‘expenditure’, as coinage disbursed to meet the our pressing expenses: those of people, those of the state or those of reality. However, within this irreverence we also find completed that route of critical knowledge that extricates objects and subjects from the limbo of veneration, restores their real dimension or other impossible dimensions to them, preparing them to be appreciated integrally, without modelling them, without drawing all their venom.

Gestures of Politics explores the ideological discourse of art inside and out and considers the undoubtedly political nature of scatology, obscenity and lampoonery, categories that have been hijacked by the derisory, rendered inoperative as tools of subversion but above all of action.

As part of the same museographical approach, nine works from the Artium Collection are displayed alongside the questions, asides, inserts and comments made by the participants in the seminar-cum-workshop entitled The Dialectical Cabinet. In addition, a collection of documentary materials will be put together, supporting the exhibition narrative with concepts and references from other disciplines such as literature, philosophy and film.   

Seminar-cum-workshop The Dialectical Cabinet  
Dates: 3 to 8 October 2011
Venue: Artium, Sala Este Baja  
Participants: Elena Aitzkoa, Usue Arrieta (We are QQ), Oier Etxebarria, Edu Hurtado, Marc Larré, Alberto López Baena, Ana Martínez, Manuel Prados Sánchez, Gonzalo Sáenz de Santa María Poullet, Susana Velasco 
Speakers: Antonio-Prometeo Moya, Servando Rocha 

For a period of six days, the exhibition space will become a place of work where ten artists reflect on the signalled works, taking as their starting point three questions that are key to understanding certain confrontational operations of art:

What transforms the scatological into politics? 

How can we use blasphemy while avoiding becoming incensed and without turning ourselves into clamorous caricatures? 

How can we explore scatology in greater depth without paying tribute to the abject, the infantile and photogenic coarseness?

In addition to this workshop, two sessions on theory open to the public will be led by Antonio-Prometeo Moya and Servando Rocha.  

Wednesday 5 October 2011 6.00-8.00 pm: The Cannibal Faction. The History of Enlightened Vandalism by Servando Rocha

Thursday 6 October 2011 6.00-8.00 pm: The Seven Pillars of Contemporary Wisdom or In Praise of Robespierre’s Reserve in the Face of Marat’s Demagogy and Danton’s Prevarications by Antonio-Prometeo Moya 

Heterologous Dictionary 

Authors: Carlota Gómez, Antonio-Prometeo Moya, Carlos Pardo, Julián Rodríguez, Valentín Roma, Gabriela Wiener 

A collection of literary tales that explore six concepts taken from the Dossier Hétérologie (1922-1940) by Georges Bataille, an ambitious and unfinished project in which the French thinker attempted to map the presence of heterology—the contaminating, the destructured, the anomalous—in fields as disparate as social reality, art, metaphysics, politics and sexuality.

The six concepts covered are: La polarité humaine, Formules Hétérologiques, Véritables rapports de la magie et de la science, Sur l'État?, Cette critique…, Ni Dieu ni maîtres. 

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