Thursday, 25 March 2010
ARMANDO ANDRADE AT MACBA, BARCELONA
Armando Andrade Tudela
10 March – 6 June 2010
Curator: Chus Martínez
This exhibition heralds a new approach to considering the production of work in the setting of the Capella MACBA. All the exhibitions will share the common denominator of having been specifically produced to be shown in this space. The work produced by Armando Andrade Tudela, Peruvian artist living between Berlin and Saint-Étienne (France), includes two 16-mm films (transferred onto DVD) recently made and a wall piece Untitled (Two frames #2) (2010), all framed by an architecture also designed by the artist for the occasion.
The core of Andrade Tudela's project is a film that takes as its starting point the Synanon Foundation, set up in 1958 in Santa Monica, California, by Charles E. Dederich, whose intention was to build a community based on self-help and a vision of life as a constant exercise of rehabilitation. By the mid-1990s, Synanon had virtually disappeared without trace, aside from a few social activities that included its second-hand furniture stores.
The film features one such store where furniture and other artefacts have ended up, giving rise to an accumulation of forms. These forms are not designed by nature but by man. As such, they are an integral part of the history of 'design' – the history of the adaptation of form in order to create styles, worlds. The amalgamation of these different ways of understanding objects, and the nature of the spaces that can be created by using them, clearly reveals the various time codes embedded in the history of taste. Contemporaneity is not the 'here and now' presented to us, but is constructed out of numerous elements and decisions.
It is precisely this aspect that creates the area of intersection between this film and Marcahuasi, also produced specifically for the occasion. Marcahuasi is a plain to the east of the city of Lima (Peru) that extends across four square kilometres in the Andes. It is a remarkable stone formation of volcanic origin situated at more than 4,000 metres above sea level. The rocks, which are impressive not only because of their size but also because of their extraordinary forms, have prompted bizarre theories concerning their origin and given rise to evocative names. In the mid-1950s, Daniel Ruzo, regarded by some as an eminent archaeologist and by others as a prophet and cryptographer, wrote an essay in which he declared that the stones are 'sculptures' created by what he termed Masma Culture or the 'Fourth Humanity' more than 10,000 years ago.
The largest outdoor museum of sculpture in the world, Marcahuasi represents the possibility of turning upside-down the major archaeological and historical narratives. By focusing on places geographically and etiologically closer to Europe, these narratives have long ignored not only this place but others that in actuality mark the origins of culture and civilisation. Marcahuasi and the 'Fourth Humanity' call for a shift in the interpretation of the past and invoke a culture prior to the modernities we attribute to Egypt or Greece. They take their place once again in history, not just as exponents of a technologically advanced culture but as the die from which all other cultures are cast; as the primordial tribe.
The notion of the matrix or die is questioned in Untitled (Two frames #2), a piece that revolves around the idea that a distinction might exist between form and content, between content and container. Just as Ludwig Wittgenstein denied the existence of the mind as an entity separate from the body in his philosophical logic, so Armando Andrade Tudela plays with elements that are peripheral to the image and arranges them in such a way that they constitute the image itself. There is nothing else beyond; everything participates in the representation; no image is more real than any other, as everything is arranged around reality. What we term a document is an effort to get close to the limit of verisimilitude, but it is no more true than this play of reflections. The difference between a 'realist' system of representation and another that is formal or abstract is the way that its relationship with access to immediate knowledge of the world is structured. Whereas a realistic system conceives of the possibility of obtaining information through images, formal and abstract systems deny or simply minimise the importance of the connection between what we see and the world beyond.
The work constantly establishes links with the history of modernity, the history of architecture and its reception in Latin America. However, rather than referring to specific projects, Armando Andrade Tudela alludes to the osmosis that exists between the widely known and disseminated modes of architecture of the 1950s and others that represent their phantom, their counter-image.
#01 Armando Andrade Tudela. Ahir, demà is the first issue of a new electronic publication that complements the activity in the Capella MACBA: the Capella MACBA Series, available in http://www.macba.cat/serie-capella.
Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
Plaça dels Angels, 1