Inaugura a 17 de Junho a exposição com curadoria de Luísa Santos the CreArt European Exhibition “Notes on Tomorrow”, em Kaunas (Lituânia), que depois, parte para a Noruega (25 de Agosto) e termina em Aveiro (inauguração 28 de Outubro).
Partilhamos aqui o texto da investigadora curadora, que integrará o catálogo.
Notes on Tomorrow
Curatorial Text – the exhibition
Notes on Tomorrow comes in a series of twenty-one voices from twelve different European cities (Arad, Aveiro, Genoa, Harghita County, Kaunas, Kristiansand, Lecce, Linz, Pardubice, Valladolid, Vilnius, and Zagreb) and dwells on a potentially infinite number of possible answers to current social issues.
If we think of art as a social system – an idea coined by Niklas Luhmann, in his book “Social Systems” (1984), putting the arts in the realm of perception -, we locate art in what it does at its best: showing possible realities of the world we live in, at social, economical and political levels.
It is precisely in this idea that the story of the collective exhibition Notes on Tomorrow unfolds. The characters (the works) of this story come together in a series of dichotomies. Firstly, the visual formalisation of the contrasts between History, fiction and memories; the relationship between the search for the new and the nostalgia for a time that has passed; the unsettling relationship between human and nature; networks of information, stories and seemingly random events; and, finally, the contradiction between known and unknown, translated by the desire to discover, to change to something beyond the horizon and, paradoxically, the need for familiar refuges.
These dichotomies are not about offering definitive answers for contemporary society’s challenges but more about looking into a series of questions, observations and experimentations. In this way, these representations reflect the ambivalence of human relations in contemporary society.
Le lever du jour sur l’ocean (2012) by Davor Sanvincenti (1979, Koper) creates a sensation of transcendence: in a single shoot made on the Atlantic Ocean shore catching the exact passage between night and day, this film makes the perfect metaphor to translate the disquieting relationship between the human being and nature in its ungraspable dimension. Provoking an internal, psychological experience, which is beyond the understanding of form, through images, seems to be an impossible task. The paintings Matterhorn and K2 (2014), by Jelena Bando (1988, Zagreb) representing nine of the biggest mountains in the world manage to do exactly that. Life Cycles (2015) by Kovács Kinga (1987, Harghita County) shows another way of looking at the relationship between the human and the nature. Consisting of twelve tree branches held together with one fragile rope the work questions the evolution of humankind and its influences in the Earth.
The difficulty of grasping the meaning of the world also comes across in Hello Grandpa! Visual reaction to the Grandpa’s pragmatic questions about the world (2014-15), by Eva Pacalová (1989, Kutná Hora). Taking as departing point a personal story between the artist and her grandfather, the work is a reaction, both at visual and theoretical levels, to philosophical and scientific questions about the world, sky, universe, and modern technology. contacto. (2015), by Carolina Grilo Santos (1993, Aveiro), also operates in the limbo between lived stories and constructed narratives. Crossing the artist’s memories with found archival material from her grandmother, contacto. puts the focus on the human desire to preserve memories.
The aspiration of preserving memory is reminiscent of the idea of restorative nostalgia coined by Svetlana Boym in “Nostalgia and Its Discontents” (2007). This type of nostalgia underlines the importance of the idea of home in an assertive attempt of reconstructing it, at formal and conceptual levels, in a desirable yet unachievable reality. In other words, it attempts to reconstruct the sense of home as both material and immaterial patrimony, a reconstruction grounded in a dialogue between a projected future and a lived past. The action of freezing a moment of the past and bringing it into the future shows precisely a reflection of this midpoint and the impossibility of eternising places, despite their physical or memory dimensions. These frictions are present in the works of Jorge Méndez a.k.a. Jorge Peligro (1979, Ponferrada), Kateřina Držková (1978, Pardubice), Ricardo González (1957, Burgos), and Stefano Bucciero (1985, Brazil).
Through a series of co-existing dichotomies such as past, present and future; reality and fiction; art and vandalism; growth and collapse, Roma Bizarra by Jorge Peligro (featuring Bizarre Dee) (2014) by Jorge Méndez a.k.a. Jorge Peligro, is a visually translation of both a History that we did not witness and a History that we are now making. Albena Complex (2015), by Kateřina Držková attempts to grasp the history of this Bulgarian resort through an engaging story that makes us, as viewers, feel nostalgic even though we might not know the place. Caídos / Fallen (2015) by Ricardo Gonzaléz presents monuments erected from 1939 onwards, upon the end of Spanish Civil War, to commemorate victory and pay tribute to the fallen members of the winning side. In these series, the monuments are portrayed in their current form – many of them are abandoned, while others have gone through a process for which their original meaning has been reoriented, updated, or even eliminated. In Million Dollar Hotel (2014) and Decade of Decay (2015), Stefano Bucciero portrays urban landscapes that could be almost anywhere in Europe and present themselves as post-apocalyptic scenarios, ruined and decadent.
The relationship between fiction and real; unknown and familiar are brought again in As usually they are towns – ports (2014), by Marija Šnipaitė (1988, Vilnius), where personal memories emerge and we are rapidly invaded by a nostalgic feeling. In Marco Musarò’s (1989, Gagliano del Capo) Sovrano-disprezzo (2016) the unknown and the familiar are brought up through anxieties that are intrinsic to the humankind such as the search of the self, one in opposition to the other, consciousness and doubt, dream and desire.
Horizontok/Horizons (2016), Zsuzsánna Fodor (1986, Harghita County) implies an emotional tension: being surrounded by something that is appealing from the outside (horizons of ocean and sky) but impossible to bear from the inside (horizons of barbwire fences). Horizons are powerful metaphors for human expectations, for what remains to be seen, lived and experienced and it has been studied in different levels along the History of Art, in special in representations and interpretations of nature. In Povilas Ramanauskas’ (1987, Kaunas) painting series Horizon (2013), we are flooded with abstraction and a disorienting gaze where verticality becomes a representation for what is above and under in its different meanings and the perception of space becomes fragile.
When we face the large-scale installation Human Landscape (2015), by Tvrtko Buric (1982, Bjelovar), we are compelled to enter it and our understanding of the space is determined by the perception of our own bodies. Paradoxically, this seemingly abstract landscape is, in fact, a shattered deconstruction of what once might have been the shape of a human body. Deconstruction is a trope, in Contemporary Art and Architecture, for understanding the world we live in, a legacy of the Constructivism, where the boundaries between the object and the artist’s perceptions of that object were dissolved. This is the case of Secondary Beauties (2015), by Marija Marcelionytė-Paliukė (1977, Vilnius) where new forms of a series of object-containers emerge through its passage from three-dimensional objects to two-dimensional drawings. Remarkably, the new life – given through a return to its origins – of these objects resemble plans of houses, taking us back to the three-dimensional universe.
Stine Bråthen (1983, Kristiansand) work also relates to an object and material-based methodology. In Legends, Processes and Spectacles (2015), the artist has availed herself a range of materials that can be linked to the private domain of space. In the work of Monika Žaltauskaitė-Grašienė (1975, Kaunas), our perception of space is challenged through the unexpected dimensions: the three meters tall digital jacquard weaving (Penelope’s Rags, 2013) have an impressive and almost imposing presence. Referencing both to the sculpture of Penelope, – the character of Homer’s “Odyssey”- , and to the current uses of fabric in its different meanings, it cuts the space where it is presented and we meet past and present at the same time and space.
The ideas of time and space appear as ever-changing elements in Double Layer (2011) by FAXEN art collective (founded 2004, Linz). Taking over four square meters in the space, with fans and speakers, the work invites us to enter in it. In a cause and effect unite Double Layer can be understood as a network, where the degrees of positive and negative are constantly shifting. The idea of network is very dear to our digital era as visually translated in the Cifrario (2015) of Paolo Ferrante (1984, Galatina), a series of drawings where language has been built from scratch with different signs. Each sign is a translation of an existing word into an encrypted word, in a complex matrix of hidden relationships.
Non-linear narratives also appear in Who has more fun than people? (2014-16) by Georg Pinteritsch (1986, Villach). At first sight, it might seem that the order between the figures and objects is random but at a closer inspection we will find a series of links between the figures, the lines and the objects creating a story-network. According to Walter Benjamin, the art of storytelling is coming to an end (1968). In the modern era, it has been replaced with information as the dominating mode of communication. Contemporary artists in this exhibition show that this might be a not completely truthful assumption. Even though the ways we tell stories have changed, storytelling is a powerful tool for addressing different themes of our times.
That is the case in the Diary of a Discussion on Education and Other Things (2015), which crosses Nita Mocanu’s (1977, Arad) personal experiences and the current trends of the educational system. The discussions and perspectives collected by the artist are presented in the work as both a reflection on the current situation and as a possible starting point for redesigning the educational system, as we know it.
The situations created along Notes on Tomorrow’s narrative are particularly confrontational. The confrontation between History and memory; the confrontation with the idea that we have created of something with its reality; the confrontation between wanting the new but, at the same time, feeling nostalgic for a past that we might not have witnessed; the confrontation between the networks of information in the digital era and the need for physical and personal networks of communication. These points of confrontation refer to the symptoms of a common social field that transcends geographic boundaries: a tomorrow that, wherever we may be, cannot be fully grasped yet but can surely be imagined in its multiple different and positive possibilities.
Curator: Luísa Santos
Artists: Carolina Grilo Santos (1993, Aveiro); Davor Sanvincenti (1979, Koper); Eva Pacalová (1989, Kutná Hora); FAXEN art collective (founded 2004, Linz); Georg Pinteritsch (1986, Villach); Jelena Bando (1988, Zagreb); Jorge Méndez a.k.a. Jorge Peligro (1979, Ponferrada); Kateřina Držková (1978, Pardubice); Kovács Kinga (1987, Harghita County); Marco Musarò (1989, Gagliano del Capo); Marija Marcelionytė-Paliukė (1977, Vilnius); Marija Šnipaitė (1988, Vilnius); Monika Žaltauskaitė-Grašienė (1975, Kaunas); Nita Mocanu (1977, Arad); Paolo Ferrante (1984, Galatina); Povilas Ramanauskas (1987, Kaunas); Ricardo González (1957, Burgos); Stefano Bucciero (1985, Brazil); Stine Bråthen (1983, Kristiansand); Tvrtko Buric (1982, Bjelovar); Zsuzsánna Fodor (1986, Harghita County)