Thursday, 17 September 2009


Image: LOTTY ROSENFELD, Art Action: crosses marked over the Panamerican Highway, Atacama Desert, Copiapó. Chile, 1981, 66,66 x 44,63 cm

Forms of historiography in given places
September 18th - January 3rd

Flavio de Carvalho, Wilson Diaz, Sung Hwan Kim, Maria Lassnig, Erlea Maneros Zabala, Ania Molska, Anu Pennanen, Lotty Rosenfeld, Katerina Seda, Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Curated by Cosmin Costinas

“I see Brasilia as I see Rome: Brasilia began with a final simplification of ruins”. Those were the words of the writer Clarice Lispector (1920-1977) during her visit in 1962 to the recently-built federal capital of Brazil. Brasilia, like Rome. Modernity nostalgically revealing itself through an archetype of grandeur and failure. It is with this proclaimed analogy that this exhibition begins, but rather than ruminating excessively on the analogy itself, it aims to pay a closer look at the poetic seduction that such an utterance entails.

In the last decade or so, an enormous amount of artistic production, which takes history as its subject-matter has imposed itself as a genre in international art. In close connection, another genre of contemporary art has adopted an endless number of local contexts as its subjects. But what form of history is being understood through these practices and what meaning of localities is being worked with? How do these practices approach their central issues and, perhaps more importantly, how do the exhibitions which put together these positions imagine their narrative function, in the specific language of exhibition-making? In many cases, history became an escapist fetish in which we are invited to indulge in order to avoid formulating the politics of today and consequently of tomorrow, and to remain there, in an exhausted future described as a ruin of our present, as in the sub-genre of modernist memorabilia art. These practices came with an ostensibly anti-disciplinarian accumulation of historical material, of often personal, micro-historic souvenirs, fuelled by an archival reflex from an era when the accumulation of symbolic capital moved at a different pace. Are these attemptsat bringing to light subaltern histories or endless formulations of specificity and alterity that compromise any potential for universal or internationalist narratives of solidarity and emancipation? And is the endless reformulation of minimalism in many of these practices a denial of realism and its potentials?

"After the final simplifications of ruins" aims to structure itself in awareness of these circumstances, in the same way in which it remains aware of the histories and localities that make up its immediate institutional and geographical context. It puts together positions from a number of artists working in seemingly irreconcilable conditions throughout the second half of the 20th century and the cloudy beginnings of the 21st. The research on Flavio de Carvalho and the accompanying historical material has been developed by Inti Guerrero. This exhibition developed from and as a consequence of working for "Like an Attali Report, but different. On fiction and political imagination" show that took place at Kadist Art Foundation in 2008. It is thus a natural continuation of that exhibition.

Fray Zacarías Martínez, 2
01001 Vitoria-Gasteiz (SPAIN)
+34 945 161 339

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