Grey Flag 2016. Transform Yourself, Transform It

From: Friday, 01 April 2016

To: Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Place: Artium's East Façade

Great works from art history, images that can be recognised by all, that are later modified by incorporating, eliminating, activating or altering a message

A people’s culture is built like a palimpsest, constantly superimposing texts, images, quotes and calls. They accumulate on top of others in such a way that they transform knowledge and references and modify our previous constructions, our truths.

Grey Flag’s current proposal, initiated in 2016, is based on iconically quoting great works from art history, images that can be recognised by all of us that are later modified by different attitudes, based on incorporating, eliminating, activating or altering an already calcified, ideologised message in a constant –and necessary– dialogue with our references. An interlocution with an inherited present that necessarily questions, evaluates, analyses and/or criticises received cultural heritage.

Controversy has always accompanied this practice, known in the art world as appropriationism, a procedure that clashes not only with our system of collective knowledge, the romantic vision of the individual author and genius, but also with private property, the system of validating art, institutions or economic exploitation itself, and in return proposes to us a dialogue with history and the subsequent semantic renewal of these images.

There is no initial discourse that structures the work of the artists being proposed to participate in Transform Yourself. Transform It, nor do they even need to have made this practice a recurring process in their work. But all of them have at some point explored the critical capacity of this practice in their work, providing various approaches to this initiative that fundamentally construct a space of freedom for art.

Curator: Enrique Martínez Goikoetxea

Edurne Herrán (Ingolstadt-Donau, Germany, 1978). El jardín de las emoji-delicias, 2015

Edurne Herran minThe central panel of Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, painted circa 1500, has been emptied of its characters to be replaced by contemporary emojis. The setting of this Renaissance work, filled with symbolism, lust, humour and satire, has thus been converted by Edurne Herrán into a space of celebration. The panel now features the signs of today’s communication system, a device that has resulted in unexpected social structures, hybrid, physical and virtual communities that are much more flexible and can convey ideas and organise and empower shared experiences with a surprisingly effective capacity to respond, dialogue and check inherited social norms and previously thought entrenched power structures.

Edurne Herrán lives and works in Madrid and her work is directly connected to everyday life, encounters and communication between individuals. Public participation is what provides meaning to much of her work and endows it with a performance nature. She is interested in textile materials and clothing understood as a social code and powerful receptacle of communicative symbols. She is aware of how new technologies and the Internet catalyse and magnify emotional states and uses these new social systems and communication dynamics to contextualise her ideas.

Edurne Herrán has a degree in Fine Arts (UPV-EHU, Bilbao) and several additional master’s degrees in Art Research and Creation (UCM Madrid), Cultural Management (UC3M, Madrid) and Contemporary Photography and Personal Projects (EFTI, Madrid).

View #1 on the façade
View #2 on the façade

Judas Arrieta (Hondarribia, 1971). Bedroom in Arles

Judas Arrieta fachada minJudas Arrieta (Hondarribia, 1971) uses quotes and fragments for his paintings on canvas, murals or toys, the latter functioning as an object medium of the creator’s artistic and life concept. Arrieta’s different cultural and emotional references are repeated on the medium within a balanced, chaotic mosaic in which icons coexist without any hierarchy, referencing thousands of stories, texts and images of a global time and culture.

Bedroom in Arles, the work created for Grey Flag, retains the title of the painting by Van Gogh. It simultaneously assembles and sets up visual and textual references to movies and science fiction and western series over the thick, bare strokes of the main motif, which has been obtained from a child’s colouring-in card.

The work explicitly refers to critical thought about artistic practice, distancing itself from the discourse that indicates the value of art by using the parameters of aesthetic discourse, genius and authenticity in order to focus on exchange and dialogue and the social, life and everyday application of public encounter.

View #1 of Arrieta's work on the façade
View #2 of Arrieta's work on the façade 

Ernesto Murillo, Simónides (Murchante, Navarra, 1952). Each Moment, Each Minute, Forever

Simonides minLives and works in Vitoria-Gasteiz.The work of Simónides deals with everyday social issues. Politics and grievances, the price hikes of primary needs –among them, beer– or images from the world of dreams interchange and share their presence in the subjects that he tackles from such codes as painting, illustration or comic strips.

In this piece, Each moment, Each Minute, Forever (2016), he presents his take on a work by Francisco de Goya, The Charge of the Mamelukes, which took place on 2 May 1808 and belongs to the genre of historical painting. As Simónides points out, it is a story that repeats itself over and over again and encourages us to think about the need to respond to political and social situations, so often skewed in the daily exercise of power.

Each Moment, Each Minute, Forever
View #2 of Simónides' work on the façade

María Cañas (Seville, 1972). Iconoclastic Cannibalism (Emaciated Virtue)

Canas minJust as children’s stories in our society are responsible for transmitting a set of cultural elements, and therefore values, to a child, Maria Cañas realises that one needs to use critical thinking to be able to step back and retrace our steps in order to question the moral superiority and code of ethics that religion, ideology or tradition force us to follow. Whether her work comprises digital images or audiovisual pieces, she produces collages of decontextualized fragments and archetypes of the history of art, of beauty and knowledge, of the power of order and rationality. They are works that combine the magic of chaos and the surreal, sinister and beautiful, attraction and repulsion, breaking away from the tradition of the artistic object as representation and forcing us to be aware of our own subjectivity in interpreting reality (of a work that stops being a representation to become an event).

Audiovisual iconoclast and media savage, María Cañas is a video-guerrilla who feeds off clichés and genres in order to shatter them. She manages Animalario TV Producciones, a creative space dedicated to the culture of recycling, appropriation and artistic experimentation, a form of resistance to distractions in pursuit of cultivating one’s inner fire.

View #1 of Cañas' work on the façade
View #2 of Cañas' work on the façade

Grey Flag 2012  Grey Flag 2013  Grey Flag 2014-2015 

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