Wednesday 26 September 2007


exhibition layout by Pablo Leon de la Barra

a project by Maria Ines Rodriguez with Pablo Leon de la Barra
with the participation of Andreas Angelidakis, Alexander Apóstol, Pablo León de la Barra, Ronan&Erwan Bouroullec, Raúl Cárdenas, Santiago Cirugeda, Jimmie Durham, Yona Friedman, Jakob Kolding, Hans-Walter Müller, Maria Papadimitriou, Marjetica Potrc, Tercer Un Quinto, Pedro Reyes, Pia Rönicke and Gabriel Sierra.
September 27 to November 11, 2007

La Casa Encendida
Ronda de Valencia, 2
28012 Madrid
Tel: 91 506 38 84

Wednesday 19 September 2007


Paparazzis outside the service.

Yesterday at the Guards Chapel.
Everybody was there, Fergie, Joan Collins, Prince and Princess Micheal of Kent, Mario Testino, Naomi Campbell, Stella McCartney, Anna Wintour, Anna Piaggi, Suzy Menkes, Bryan Ferry, Philip Treacy, Zandra Rhoades, Stephen Jones, Johnnie Shan Kydd,
Daphne Niarchos Guinness, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Alice Rawsthorn, Maureen Paley, Simon Lee, Miltos Manetas, Matthieu Laurette, Stefan Bruggemann, Tara Palmer-Tompkinson, Liliana Sanguino...

Tuesday 18 September 2007

ANTONIO ZAYA 1954-2007

Antonio Zaya (second from left) in Gran Canarias during the Biennal, with Canary Island Wrestlers, after we did the wrestling performance-demonstration last December.

My dear friend and great curator Antonio Zaya died last Friday.

I met Antonio in 2002 during the now defunct Puerto Rico Bienal organized by Michy Marchaux. We collaborated in several occassions. The last one during the Canary Islands Bienal last December, which he curated, where he invited me to do a Canary Island Wrestling performance- demonstration. We were also preparing a special issue of Pablo Magazine on the Canary Islands, including the Canary Islands wrestling, the beaches of Mas Palomas, the shopping centre of Jumbo, the island of Lanzarote, the life and architecture of Cesar Manrique, a text by his brother Octavio.

Antonio, from the Canary Islands, and later from his home in Girona, was pivotal in creating a network of artists and curators that went from the Canaries, to the Mediterranean, to the Caribean, to the Americas to Africa. He was also editor of the magazine Atlantica which he used to create this dialogues and connections. He was also a poet, an art critic, a painter and a performer. In the last years he had been working with grafitti artists from New York and was studying Santeria, the Afro-Caribbean religion derived from traditional beliefs of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. For him there were no frontiers, the Ocean was his interconnector. When someone like Antonio dies, it's not only the person who dies, but also his entire body of knowledge. Antonio was generous, intelligent and fun. We will miss him profoundly.

He is survived by his twin brother, also curator, Octavio Zaya.

Monday 17 September 2007


Aleksandra MIr's greek souvenir T-shirts and mugs on sale at Heaven on Earth

exhibition views

Passport Control booths with
Olaf Nicolai’s wallpaper rainbow posters

Nikos Alexiou’s "Table-cloth" curtain and Ian Kiaer golden ball

Mario Garcia Torres slide show on Martin Kippenberger’s MOMAS

Christodoulos Panayiotou’s "Utopian Songs" video

One of Carolina Caycedo's flags

Miss Caycedo in front of Passport Control

Pablo Leon de la Barra and Carolina Caycedo

Disco Coppertone
Opening 07.09.2007, 19:00
Megaron OLP, Akti Miaouli 10, Piraeus
From 07.09.2007 to 12.10.2007

Disco Coppertone: beach bars, sand in your ears, cicadas, the taste of salt on your skin, a good long siesta, a stroll through a sunlit museum, a trip by sea watching a port appear slowly in the horizon, a different sense of time. The associations are endless as most people reminisce their holidays or hope once again to break away from their daily routine, to come closer to nature and to take time off.

Tourism is a booming industry, providing a setting for people to live out their fantasies and escape. In reality it provides little in terms of a break from the norm, simply allowing people to consume and purchase another life style for a few days a year. Holiday destinations and indeed whole countries re-brand themselves in a saturated and competitive economy. Tourism is no longer necessarily about difference but instead a provider of the same, albeit with a slightly altered flavor. Hotel complexes and indeed whole cities are born, taking over more and more space, serving up what is desired rather than providing what already exists. Brochures and holiday planners direct your vision of what is worth seeing. Tourists’ insatiable gazes consume places and people, leaving behind a series of snap shots of flattened experiences. Nature is no longer left as it is - instead it is framed and contextualized within the preconceptions of a given culture, often to the sound of happy music.

Aleksandra Mir’s mass manufactured t-shirts, mugs and linen bags work as souvenirs of the exhibition whilst playing with ideas of authenticity. Souvenirs tend to symbolize an ‘authentic experience’, which tourists take home with them in an attempt to cling on to that feeling of difference and exoticism that holidays provide. Aleksandra Mir’s designs approximate the classical designs of other more standard souvenirs and yet there is something different, more awkward or even more stylized (reminiscent of Uderzo’s designs for Asterix at the Olympics) pushing the links to authenticity to an extreme.

Nikos Alexiou’s textured wall hanging made out of table cloths -of the kind found in taverns all over Greece- dyed in different shades of blue, recall the colours found all over the Aegean, the never ending blue sky and sea. Simultaneously the work reflects the patterns found within the closed space of the departure lounge revealing the repetitiveness of nature even in the most artificial of places.

Christodoulos Panayiotou’s performance, “To Be Willing to March into Hell for a Heavenly Cause” forms part of his ongoing interest in American musicals produced during the cold war which use songs based on the weather to imply and propose a better and more prosperous future. The documentation of a performance of seven of these “Utopian Songs” by a young and handsome Danish singer on board a ship travelling through the Aegean reveal a world in transit living permanently in hope for a better day.

Olaf Nicolai’s posters infiltrate the generic architecture of the cruise ship departure lounge injecting its grey everydayness with bombastic colour. Nicolai’s intervention and use of the seven colours of the rainbow suggest tourisms’ false promises of a different dream like state when away from drab reality.

Carolina Caycedo’s trans-national flags suggest a world where nationalities are hybrids, where people from all over the world share a common space or the common culture of tourism where all difference is flattened when in a queue to check in. The flags however also work as a sore reminder of their symbolic power and the tension and fears such hybrids can provoke.

Mario Garcia Torres project suggests a rethinking of previous art practices and how they would function today. He literally steps into Martin Kippenberger’s shoes creating an exhibition in what could today have been the Museum of Modern Art Syros. Like Kippenberger he uses the show as an excuse to create a poster project and a slide show documenting his own personal quest on the island of Syros, whilst questioning who and what directs your vision in a place, in contrast to what in the end there actually is to see.

Ian Kiaer sculpture’s works as a survival balloon, luminous and silver, hinting both holidays as a strategy for survival in fast paced Western life but also similarly as he plays with scale in the sculpture itself to human life, which in its fragility clings on to ideas and hopes, larger than life in order once again to survive.

Saturday 15 September 2007


Pablo Leon de la Barra working at his gallery office in Athens

Federico Herrero paintings in room1

Federico Herrero paintings in room2

Federico Herrero paintings in the kitchen

Federico Herrero interventions on the kitchen tiles

Carolina Caycedo's flags, Greek-Cypriot-Turkish and Greek-Albanian

Miltos Manetas take away posters

Angleo Plessas website

Federico Herrero site specific painting on rooftop (under process)

Federico Herrero flooded rooftop

Federico Herrero at Rooftop at Sunset

Blow de la Barra ATHENS
LEONIDOU 11, 3rd, 4th floor and rooftop, KERAMEIKOS, ATHENS TEL: +44(0)7759022545

Blow de la Barra is pleased to invite you to the opening of the exhibition

Blow de la Barra Athens is also presenting work by:

Opening: Saturday September 8th, 7PM - 10 PM
Gallery hours opening weekend: September 8th, 9th and 10th, 2007, 12:00 to 24:00 PM
Gallery hours afterwards: Saturdays and Sundays, 4PM to 8PM and by appointment
Rooftop open daily
The exhibition will remain open until October 13, 2007

Federico Herrero will present a series of new paintings; a site specific painting on the rooftop of the building with almost 360 degrees view of Athens; and a slideshow of photographs of the towns of Atenas and Grecia in Costa Rica. Federico Herrero’s tropical-oriental-abstract-surrealist expressionist paintings are both colour fields and mental landscapes made by layers of paint which exist on canvas and on three dimensional spaces. Herrero’s interest in paint resides in the basic act of painting: the application of colour over surfaces. In doing so he opposes traditional notions of painting expanding the field to new possibilities.

Federico Herrero was born in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1978, where he lives and works. In 2001 at the 49th Venice Biennale he was awarded the Golden Lion for the best artist under 35. Herrero has also participated at the Medellin Biennale 2007; Moscow Biennale 2007; Singapoore Biennale 2006; Aichi World Expo 2005, Nagoya, Japan; the 1st Seville Biennial, Seville, Spain, 2004, (curated by Harald Szeemann); Puerto Rico 04 Art Biennial, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2004; the 8th Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba, 2003; Urgent Painting, Musee d’ Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2002 (curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist). His work was included in Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting, published by Phaidon in 2002. He also participated in the publication and e-flux project The Next Documenta Should Be Curated By an Artist, published by Revolver in 2004 and curated by Jens Hoffmann. He is currently showing at Passangers, at Wattis in San Francisco, where he’ll have a solo show in August 2008.

In the occassion of the three Septemeber biennials (Athens, Istanbul and Lyon). artist Angelo Plessas is doing an internet guerilla project. Plessas, an artist that uses the internet as his medium and domain names as titles for his pieces, got inspired by the three strange biennial titles and he bought their .coms, which had been left unused by the organisers. These titles are: (Athens Biennial), ( Istanbul Biennial) and (Lyon Biennial).
When he found out that the grouping of these three biennials had been given the name "Tres bienn", he also registered as junction point for this 3-part project. The artworks he created are not related to the biennials themselves but are an artist's impression of the titles, along with a feeling for each city. Each of the works is launched one day before the official opening of each biennial. They will be also showed by 3 different galleries that will operate temporarily in parallel to the Athens Biennial, Blow de la Barra (London), Rebecca Camhi (Athens), Rodeo (Istanbul).

OUTSIDE OF THE INTERNET THERE IS NO GLORY is a take away poster project by Miltos Manetas. Posters will also be pasted around the neighbourhood of Kerameikos.

Miltos Manetas was born in Athens, Greece. He currently lives and works between Milan, London, Athens and Los Angeles. Manetas has produced oil paintings of wires, cables and computer hardware. Impatient with critics and curators who had yet to come up with a new "-ism" for a new art movement that reflected our times, Manetas hired Lexicon Branding, a California firm responsible for creating product names as Powerbook and Pentium, to create a new name for this new movement. In May 2000, during a packed press conference at the Gagosian Gallery in New York - and a panel of intellectuals and scientists to provide analysis of the term -- Manetas unveiled a new word for the new art movement. It was a computer voice that made the announcement: “Ladies and Gentleman, the new name for contemporary art is NEEN. We hope that you like it!”

THE PIRAEUS CENSORED FLAGS (Greek-Albanian and Greek-Turkish-Cypriot)
The failed promises of globalisation have only re-enforced differences and nationalisms, producing further borders and distances between people and territories. As Arjun Appadurai affirms in his text Modernity at Large: “We need to think ourselves beyond the nation… the role of intellectual practices is to identify the current crisis of the nation and in identifying it to provide part of the apparatus of recognition for postnational forms.” In this way, and through her work Caycedo suggests new forms of dealing with culture, identity and location. By mixing flags of the places where she originates and where she lives (Colombia/UK, Puerto Rico/Colombia), she creates banners that wave her multiple identities. Using the same method she has combined flags of different co-existing cultures or cultures in tension, creating new flags to represent them: USA-Iraq, Ireland-UK, Mexico-USA, Greek-Albanian and Greek-Turkish-Cypriot and Lebanon/Israel. The Greek-Albanian and Greek-Turkish-Cypriot were to be shown as part of the exhibition Disco Coppertonne organised by Locus Athens in the port of Piraeus, but this was not permitted by the ports military authorities.

Carolina Caycedo’s work has been exhibited internationally in important exhibitions including Da Adversidade Vivemos, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2001; the 50th Venice Biennale, 2003; J’en Reve, Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, Paris, 2005; the Whitney Biennial, New York, 2006. She’s also had solo shows at Secession, Vienna, Austria, 2002, Galeria Comercial, Puerto Rico, 2005-2006, Blow de la Barra, London, 2006 among other places.


Blow de la Barra exhibits proposals by artists with an international reputation who have not previously had a solo show in London while creating a new dialogue with the London scene. The gallery programme aims to examine the aesthetic issues that affect contemporary culture, including the legacy and influence of conceptual and pop art, and the relationship established between aesthetics, poetics, politics, and society. Within the context of London as an international platform, the gallery intends to create new dialogues and to mediate between other cultural and aesthetic forms and proposals that exist beyond those predominant in the contemporary art scene. The gallery’s programme consists of six exhibitions a year; it has shown the work of Stefan Brüggemann, Federico Herrero, Los Super Elegantes, Marcelo Krasilcic, Matthieu Laurette, Jo Robertson, Carolina Caycedo, Miltos Manetas, Marjetica Potrc, SUPERM (Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny), Carla Zaccagini and Erika Verzutti among others.