Monday 26 September 2005


Beatriz Lopez welcoming visitors to the ICA!

exhibition view

Richard Battye at the bar

Deborah Castillo's 'South American Cleaner' White Cubicle Installation

Prince Nelly's Retro Countdown

Liliana and Pablo

David Waddington and Claire Bishop's Raffle

Jens Hoffmann's Guacamole

Richard's parents and Richard preparing Liliana's birthday party


Lucas Sampellegrini and Johnny Woo

Madamme Diane Pernet

Jason Rhoades, Liliana Sanguino and Sebastian Ramirez

Sunday finale, Back to the George on the doubledecker

George and Dragon at ICA
London in Six Weeks
ICA, London
Richard Battye, Gregor Muir, Pablo Leon de la Barra, Liliana Sanguino, Beatriz Lopez, Nuno Antunes, Kerie Anne and the George and Dragon Staff are happy to invite you to the exhibition:
George and Dragon Public House at ICA
from Tuesday, September 20 to Sunday, September 25, 2005, 12:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Opening Night: Tuesday, September 20, 2005, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
ICA, The Mall, London SW1

Once upon a time, on a Friday 13th back in December 2002, in the midst of the
coldest most obdurate winter to have afflicted London in forty or maybe seventy
years, there appeared a small glowing light at the Shoreditch end of Hackney
Road. Drawing closer, shivering but inquisitive passers-by discovered that these
lights were not Christmas decorations, but the tawdry decor of a newly reopened
pub. The George and Dragon's sumptuously low-budget interior - a hospice for
kitsch ephemera - beckoned them inside. This eclectic grotto was complemented
by an equally disparate clientele that seemed to catalysed a new mood in
Shoreditch. Within moments it was clear that the George and Dragon public house
promised an intoxicating polysexual future for a community of locals fatigued with
Old Street's metamorphosis into a meat-market for Ben Sherman-clad lads on the

The George and Dragon is uniquely a provincial public house in the inner city,
albeit one with an exuberant fiesta feel courtesy of its predominantly Latin-
American bar staff. Under the visionary fervour of landlord Richard Battye, the
George and Dragon has won the hearts and livers of London's fashion and art
bohemia, passing international art visitors, and a morass of sweaty queens, trannies
and bears. Great amount of the magic resides in George and Dragon's soundtrack,
a compelling roster of Djs programmed by Richard Battye, the most conceptual of
which is Prince Nelly, whose Retro Chart Rundown comprises every top 40 single
from a given week in the 80s played in meticulous order, accompanied by an
informative commentary. Through events such as Nelly's Countdown, the George
and Dragon pays homage to the decade that most shaped the souls and psyches of
its clientele, side-stepping cheap spectacle such as for a more
adult and therapeutic emotional release aroused by Bonnie Tyler.

In Richardette the curly-locked landlord, barman Pablo Leon de la Barra found a
willing collaborator for his experimental social programming. First there came
24/7's Guacamole Monday, in which selected friends and customers were invited
to bastardise Mexico's most popular canapé. Then came White Cubicle, also
known as WC3, a sporadic gallery event taking place in the ladies' loo. This
project unequivocally encouraged viewers to re-evaluate conventions of sociallyengaged
and site-specific art by bringing a roster of both established and unknown
artists into a location already heaving with established and unknown artists.
Nearly three years since the pub's inauguration, Richard Battye has achieved his
ambition of running an institution that functions as “something between a drop-in
centre, a rehab clinic and his teenage bedroom”. The George and Dragon is more
than just a place to consume stingy British shots of vodka during bad weather, it is
an anti-essentialist essential in our increasingly corporate capital.

Within the ICA exhibition space, elements and events that form part of the George and Dragon will be displayed and displaced: this is not a recreation of the George and Dragon, it is an abstraction and translation of that that defines the George and Dragon experience.

Please join us for the following events that might happen during the week:

Saturday 17 and all week:
6:00 PM to 11:00 PM at the George and Dragon 2 Hackney Road, London E2
White Cubicle Toilet Gallery presents the exhibition Federico Herrero, Institutional Tropical Critique, curated by Jens Hoffmann

And at ICA all week during exhibition times:

All week:
DJ’s as Live Musical Sculptures including among others The Lovely Jonjo, Mrs. Elin Andersen, The Sizzle Sisters, John and Andy The Straight Boys, The Thank You Boys, Johnny Woo, Lady D.I.E., Richard Mortimer, Spanky and Angie, Danilo, Hazel Robinson, Seb Patane, La Viuda and others.
Friends as Barmen and Barmaids

Tuesday 20:
Opening Night 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
B-Lo’s Coming Home Party which might include Clarita’s Tombola, David’s Copacabana and Total Strip of the Heart
Jens’ Guacamole
White Cubicle Toilet Gallery at ICA presenting the exhibition Deborah Castillo, South American Cleaner
Rocky our star carpenter on the musical decks
and Gregor Muir’s MC curator’s talk!

Wednesday 21:
4:00-7:00 PM Prince Nelly's Retro Chart Rundown

Thursday 22:
Radio Egypt Drag Rehearsals
and the arrival of Richard’s Parents and Monsiuer Robin Schulie

Friday 23:
Margaritas Friday
Liliana Sanguino’s Birthday including Nuno’s Décor and Kerie Anne’s Birthday Cakes

Saturday 24:
Lady D.I.E’s Jumble Sale
The Thank You Boys Creche
The Main Ones (maybe)
bring your records and be a DJ with Six Foot Stereo

Sunday 25:
Yorkshire Style Sunday Buffet
and Country Club

Grand Finale:
And to end the week on Sunday 25 at 7:30 PM board the Double Decker going to the original George and Dragon Public House at 2 Hackney Road and join us to celebrate the end of George and Dragon week and the closure of London in Six Easy Steps exhibition.

All this might happen plus special unannounced events, blackouts and non working toilets, just like in the real George!

George and Dragon at 2 Hackney Road will continue open as usual except on Tuesday 20 when we will be closed.

G+D Guacamole Cookbook specially customized by B-Lo available at ICA’s bookshop.

Sunday 17 July 2005


Parangole Workshop

Tropical Abstraction and Pablo Leon de la Barra present:
Parangole Workshop
curated by Roos Goortzak

Bring one piece of cloth or plastic to create your own parangole.
Saturday 16th, July 2005, 14:00 PM
Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam

Background soundtrack Funk Carioca by Tetine

My entire evolution, leading up to the formulation of the Parangole, aims at this magical incorporation of the elements of the work as such, in the whole life-experience of the spectator, whom I now call 'participator'
Notes on the Parangole, Helio Oiticica

*Parangole, slang, meaning animated situation and sudden confusion and/or agitation between people.

Saturday 16 July 2005


Mauricio Lupini’s Diorama

Fernando Bryce 'Fanal' drawings on the 1965 Esso Prize in Peru

Armando Andrade's 'Sculpture Fragments'

Helen Mirra's 'Sky-wreck'


Jesus 'Bubu' Negron's 'Igualdad' project

Mariana Castillo Deball’s photograph's of Mexican cultural icons and Pinata

Armando Andrade's 'Diaporama and Infrared Light'

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster 'Plages'

Pablo Leon de la Barra 'Parangoles' done by participants at workshop

Tropical Abstraction
Allora & Calzadilla, Armando Andrade Tudela, Fernando Bryce, Mariana Castillo Deball, Gego, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Pablo León de la Barra, Mauricio Lupini, Helen Mirra and Jesús Bubu Negrón
10 June - 21 August 2005
Curator: Roos Gortzak
Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA)
Rozenstraat 59
1016 NN Amsterdam
T 020 4220471
F 020 6261730

“And now, what do we see? Bourgeois, sub-intellectuals, cretins of every kind, preaching ‘Tropicalism’, Tropicalia (it’s become fashionable) – in short, transforming into an object of consumption something which they clearly cannot quite identify. It is completely clear! Those who made ‘stars and stripes’ are now making their parrots, banana trees, or are interested in slums, samba schools, outlaw anti-heroes. Very well, but do not forget that there are elements here that this bourgeois voracity will never be able to consume: the direct life-experience element, which goes beyond the problem of the image.”

The above quotation comes from the artist Hèlio Oiticica (1937-1980), who in 1968 expressed his doubts about a new artistic trend in his article Tropicalia. ‘Tropicalism’ borrowed tropical elements in a superficial manner, without taking into account the difficulty of representing a culture. This problem of representation is central to Tropical Abstraction. The works in the exhibition are concerned with the translation of something as abstract as a culture or a place into words or images, in the knowledge that many different translations are possible. Tropical Abstraction thus seeks to avoid the trap of selecting works that are superficially ‘tropical’, supposedly culturally different.

An important factor here is the distinction made by the critical theorist Homi K. Bhabha between ‘cultural diversity’ and ‘cultural difference’. Cultural diversity, according to Bhabha, acknowledges a range of separate norms and values, but maintains a colonialist prejudice that these differences are aberrant or exotic. Conversely, there is no question of a standard, established yardstick by which to measure cultural difference. Bhabha believes in the existence of ‘the space of hybridity’, in which cultural meanings and identities always contain the traces of other meanings and identities. Tropical Abstraction provides space in which old and new meanings can be examined and formulated.

“Copacabana does not exist”, concludes a man seeking to capture in words the Brazilian beach of Rio de Janeiro. He thus places his first attempts to describe this place – Copacabana as embodiment of poetic decadence, as a universal oasis, as the only place in which Utopia could exist – in the realm of fiction. This is the ending selected that the artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster selected for her film Plages (2001); her conclusion raises the question of whether it is in fact possible to represent a place.

In her efforts to establish what constitutes a place, Gonzalez-Foerster has various people talk about their memories of Copacabana in Plages. She uses the stories as a voiceover in her unconventional portrait of this beach, filmed on a New Year’s Eve when it was packed with people, and shot from a high vantage point. The discrepancy between word and image means that Gonzalez-Foerster does not force her film version of Copacabana onto the viewer. Looking at the throngs of beachgoers, the viewer realises that every single individual has their own experience of this place and that there may be as many Copacabana beaches (the plural of the title) as there are people – and that even an individual’s memories can change from moment to moment.

Where Gonzalez-Foerster avoids the clichéd image of a tropical location in Plages, she sometimes consciously invokes it in non-tropical locations. Armando Andrade Tudela uses a similar strategy in his slideshow Diaporama and Infrared Light (2005). He casts an infrared light on his set of slides of different sites such as a desolate-looking greenhouse in Liëge and an indefinable architectonic space in the French town of St. Etienne. These are places in which he sees something of the tropics, abandoned as they seem to be to an organic process of change. The red light sheds an almost narcotic haze over the different locations, blurring their contours. He as it were detaches the greenhouse and the architectonic space from their ‘true’ location, transferring them into the more speculative realm of the imagination.

Another geographical dislocation appears in his work Sculpture Fragments (2005). His starting point was an anonymous Modernist sculpture that he encountered in the north of Peru, placed there some 35 years earlier as a monument to the nearby ruins of the pre-Inca civilisation of Chankillo. Andrade Tudela wondered to what extent this sculpture, with its geometric, abstract cube forms, could be an appropriate representation of a pre-Inca civilisation. His doubts about using such a homogenous, closed shape to reconstruct something so complex inspired him to create his own version of the sculpture. In his mind’s eye, he deconstructed the colossal, concrete original block by block, subsequently recreating the constituent parts (out of Multiplex) on the same scale. They are scattered throughout the exhibition area, mirroring the way in which the archaeological remnants of Chankillo are seen. The appearance of the original sculpture cannot be made out. It could take one of many forms, depending on how viewers reconstruct the fragments in their own imagination.

In the series of drawings entitled Fanal (2000), Fernando Bryce reinterprets not a sculpture, but a periodical. He looks back at how the 1965 Esso Prize for Peruvian artists was portrayed in a contemporary issue of the cultural magazine Fanal, published by the International Petroleum Company. He has copied all the photographs of the prize-winning works of art, the artists who received awards and the pomp and circumstance of the award ceremony - complete with captions. Recast in the ink of his handwriting, it is no longer possible to identify the original source material (glossy magazine, broadsheet or brochure). Viewers can thus look critically at the images without being burdened by prior conceptions. The knowledge that copying is a laborious and lengthy procedure also makes one aware of the way in which the awards were originally portrayed, and makes one wonder about the Petroleum Company’s underlying motives. Rather than paying tribute to the winners, Bryce’s Fanal can be seen as a criticism of Peruvian notions of Modernism in the 1960s. It is as if he places viewers in the position of the jury members, forcing them to take a critical look at the award-winning abstract sculptures and paintings.

Mariana Castillo Deball’s work is informed by a comparable interest in questioning the way in which facts are constructed, history written and culture represented. For Tropical Abstraction she produced a series of photographs of Mexican cultural icons intended to endorse the past. She is interested in the ephemeral nature and mutability of the icons selected for such endorsement. Something that is readily identifiable today may in a few years time be just as incomprehensible as an archaeological fragment from prehistory. In order to highlight the question of these icons’ sell-by-date, she combines her series of photos with a pinata. Made of cardboard, pinatas are usually attached to ceilings at Mexican parties and struck with sticks until they break and rain down the sweets and presents hidden within them.

An object whose sell-by-date expired some 30 years ago was chosen by Jesus Bubu Negron for his project Igualdad (2004). He decided to breathe new life into the village Aòasco, whose inhabitants originally worked in one of Puerto Rico’s many sugar factories, back in the days when it still had a flourishing sugar trade. For seven days he and the villagers worked 24 hours a day to bring smoke back to the factory chimneys. Not in an attempt to produce sugar, but to bring a new visibility to a community which had become totally impoverished following the closure of the factories. This collective project restored the locals’ belief in their ability to achieve. They continue to organise festivals and musical evenings, and have set up their own website.

Central to the Allora & Calzadilla film Under Discussion (2005) are questions that preoccupy another Puerto Rican community, the inhabitants of the little island of Vieques. It is the third work in a series about the island, which until recently was used by the American army as a bombing target. Under Discussion shows the son of a fisherman who was in the ‘civil disobedience’ movement in the 1970s, negotiating the territorial waters in a boat made of an upturned conference table. The camera follows him on his boat trip, and also looks at places on the island where traces of the Americans’ stay are still visible, together with hints of its future destiny. Past, present and future merge in this beautiful, poetic film and implicitly raise questions posed by the American Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife’s takeover of the island: who will be responsible for cleaning up polluted waters, for the people made ill by contamination, and what will Vieques be used for next?

As expansive as the sea is the sky that Helen Mirra takes as the subject for her work Sky-wreck (2001), translated into triangles of indigo cotton sewn together and laid out on the ground. In this representation of something as intangible as the sky, she was inspired by the geodesic designs of architect, engineer and cartographer Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983). Mirra’s unfolded fragment of the sky consists of similarly shaped parts, which appear interchangeable and suggest a non-hierarchical order. Originally Mirra made 1/11th of the sky for the Renaissance Society in Chicago and designed the work to break into smaller parts, which refer to their earlier location in the larger work: Northwestern 1 %, Eastern Northern _%, etc. Her structural composition and poetic title (taken from a poem by Paul Celan) confront viewers with a shipwrecked sky that lies beached at their feet. An indefinable place temporarily made tangible.

Geometry and poetry also meet in the work of Gego (Hamburg, 1912-Caracas, 1994), in which a rational and an intuitive order continuously interact. Her drawings and sculptures, that seem to extend endlessly into space, create a place which appears to be ruled by a different time and order. Gego’s work is influenced by her emigration to Venezuela from Nazi Germany in 1939; it centres on investigating the complex influences and relationships between Latin America and Europe. She consciously remained on the sidelines of the geometrical-abstract movement of the 1950s, deploring its focus on assimilation of the scientific and technological aspects of European Modernism rather than on the contrasting world and reality of contemporary Venezuela. Gego found a way of linking her constructivist European training to the Venezuelan context of her surroundings. Her geometric forms always retain an organic element, and her abstraction has nothing to do with belief in a single fixed order. The transparency with which she endows her sculptures make their perception dependent on the position of the observer.

Mauricio Lupini’s Diorama literally confronts viewers head on with the way in which others are represented. He has made a three-dimensional curtain of long strips of paper, cut out of 1978 issues of National Geographic. As viewers pass through it, they encounter fragments of photos and texts about other cultures and places. At the same time the work refers to a geometric, abstract, three-dimensional work created in the 1960s by the Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto, through which viewers could also walk. Soto was the icon of ‘international style’ Latin American art of the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, Lupini re-presents this modern work of art from an ethnographic perspective.

Pablo Leon de la Barra will run a ‘Parangole’ workshop in which he will make Hèlio Oiticica-style Parangoles with the participants – items loosely resembling coats, jackets and capes (though hardly identifiable as clothing) made of plastic and other scraps of material, and devised with the intention of creating new perceptions. The products of the workshop will be put at the disposal of every visitor who wishes to view the exhibition wearing these garments, thus placing Oiticica’s ‘direct life-experience element’ in the foreground.

Roos Gortzak

Sunday 22 May 2005


Larissa’s Philharmonic Municipal Orchestra. Maestro Giorgos Minas, Director

Larissa’s Postal Square

Larissa’s Railway Station

Miltos Manetas, Vangelis Vlahos, Maria Papadimitriou

Pablo Leon de la Barra and Carlos Basualdo

Songs for Larissa, a Moving Musical Procession
a project by Pablo Leon de la Barra
with the collaboration of Larissa’s Philharmonic Municipal Orchestra
Maestro Giorgos Minas, Director
Going Public 05, curated by Claudia Zanfi
Larissa, May 2005

1. Serenade: a song or the performance of a song used to court somebody,
traditionally sung by a man in the evening outside a woman’s window. Also called
2. From the list of songs played by Larissa’s Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra,
ask the members of the band what songs they would like to play to the city of
Larissa. From the list of songs, ask myself, what songs would I like the band to
4. Select 5 to 10 of these songs.
5. Select 5 to 10 public places in the city of Larissa. Select them because they are
places of urban or social conflict, because they are abandoned, because they are
iconic or representative of the city, because they are where certain groups live
there, because they are special, because they need love etc.
6. During a day take serenade to the different places singing the selected songs: a
moving musical procession crossing the city of Larissa from one edge of the city
to the other.

Songs played by Larissa’s Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra:
1. Love Story by Francis Lai (at Milos/Larissa’s Contemporary Art Centre)
2. Beautiful Maria of my Soul by Robert Kraft (at Maria Papadimitriou’s Motel at
Filellinon Street)
3. My Way by Francois (at Fabiana de Barros Peripeton at St. Velisarios Square)
4. Never on Sunday by Manos Hadjidakis (at Larissa’s Postal Square)
5. What a Wonderful World by George Weiss and Bob Thiele (at Larissa’s Railway Station)