Softbodies, not ahead but inside. Curated by Caterina Almirall
For the second time Swab presents the Ephemeral program, a selection of installative works that enhance the interaction of the public with the pieces. For this edition of Ephemeral, under the name of Softbodies, not ahead but inside, we have the participation of the curator Caterina Almirall and the collaboration of the Creation Factories of Barcelona such as Hangar, La Escocesa and Fabra i Coats.
Softbodies, not ahead but inside, proposes an exercise of imagination through the use of visual language and the exploration of materials. The idea of body refers to the installative and sculptural work of the artists that are presented in this program, that offer a presence, a resistance or a space in which to circulate. These works propose to imagine universes that are not ahead but inside, in the material, textual or virtual folds of this same world and the bodies that inhabit it. They talk about the relationship we establish with the environment, they alert or accompany us in the exercise of erasing the boundaries between where we end up and where the world begins. They deal with issues such as ecology, the transformation of personal identity, the artistic context itself or the relationship with the materials that they work with.
In addition to the exhibition of the works at the Fair, a part of the program can be seen at the OD Hotel Barcelona. In parallel to the exhibition, there will be visits to the Creation Factories with the Swab Collectors Program. Thus, the project covers several fronts being as nutritious as possible for the emerging creators. On the one hand, it has the participation of an expert curator who provides an academic and conceptual perspective, and on the other hand, it has a platform for visibility, market and exposure to the public, such as Swab.
The objective of this program is to provide a space and give visibility to artistic processes that result in works that go beyond the limits of the gallery exhibition. Under the gaze of Almirall, these works that demand space, interaction and contact with the public come to Swab to make visible the trends that are shaking the contemporary art scene and that need a bridge between creation, exhibition, market and collecting.
DUAE COLLECTIVE (Luna Coppola and Silvia Campidelli) – Besòs: a noble ecosystem
In a horizon where cities dominate the landscape, the human being is an important actor in front of the need to think a more sustainable and livable city. Besòs: a noble ecosystem is a project that focuses on the old relationship between the city and the river, in this case the Besòs river that passes through the metropolitan area of Barcelona, and has its mouth at Sant Adrià distric.
This is a research project in process that in its different phases has involved work with people from the neighborhood adjacent to the river, thus becoming a collaborative project, and it had also the collaboration of organizations such as IDENSITAT. Some of the activities consisted on walks along the edges of the river and the surrounding parks to explore an environment where the city and the river collapse, observing what is there, what happens, what activities are carried out, and collecting and identifying materials belonging to this ecosystem.
In Swab, DUAE presents a sample of these materials: plant and mineral specimens, cartographies and drawings of the areas visited, images and photographs of the environment, and also a video that documents and recounts this process and what they have found throughout the work developed in a small analysis of the situation.
Irma Marco – The void
Irma Marco’s work starts from pre-existing elements (sounds, images, discourses or particular contexts), and creates new contents from materials that already have a past, a presence, and generates new meanings that put in question the meaning of ‘the original’. She carries out a research about the plurality of possible narrations and the recording of events, often in the context of non-hegemonic spaces, collectives and ideas, interested in the way in which the discourses that arise from these can question the established.
The void is a piece that is based on a song by a musical group from the 80s, which is surrounded by an aura of mystery since the members of this group did not want to reveal their identity. The artist develops a research on this band, called “The Initiates”, and locates some of its former members, on the other hand she appropriates a phrase of the song and takes it to a space where it acquires new meanings.
The exploration of the use of the text, both in music and in the exhibition space, and the multiplicity of meanings, is one of the research axes of this project. The piece includes a sound work product from the original song distorted, creating a new sound.
Julia Calvo – The pavilion of the assembled artists
Julia Calvo works with installations from the a site-specific practice, in relation to the space in which she intends to intervene. Recently she has worked with textile material, in a work that seeks to create a space that delimits the inside and outside, between the symbolic and the experiential, creating fabric structures that the visitor has to traverse, like small cabins or shelters.
The proposal that she brings to Swab, The pavilion of the assembled artists, based on this idea, and formalizes in an installation of a fabric structure, which forms a small space and which, located in a place of passage of the fairground, it compels the visitors to enter. The piece seeks to generate a reflection on the context of the art fair itself, specifically on the space and temporality with which these events are conceived and the ephemeral architecture that welcomes them. It points out the controversy of artistic production as an object of commodification, and at the same time the same fair context and its tradition throughout history.
Julia Gorostidi – Julia, Rosa, Angela… Eva
To deepen her exploration of identity as being a result of our social structures and relations, the artist created for this project a fictional character. The project is a 12 months long performative investigation, following the character through successive development’s stages: Julia, Rosa, Angela… Eva. Born from the intention of creating an identity that would reflect the world that surrounds it, this fluid but paradigmatic identity was constructed and transformed using the subjectivity of others. Sometimes mirror, sometimes sponge, the identity was built on the basis of the information given to her by those who the character met in person or on social media platforms during the different performances carried out by the artist. Julia, Rosa, Angela… Eva slowly lost her origin and became a sort of a “collective persona” that represents the society from which she evolved.
In Swab the artist will present four ceramic sculptures representing the evolution’s stages of the character, which will be accompanied by the audios recorded during the character’s consultations with fortune-tellers. Alongside these, she will present a series of sentences that Julia, Rosa, Angela… Eva received from strangers on her Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp accounts. Both the audios and the sentences inform on the kind of material that constructed the character. Thus, the project includes a level of reflection on stereotypes, especially of gender and race that influence the formation of identity.
Lara Fluxà – A_Nivellaments
In her work Lara Flux proposes the action of measuring as a useless strategy that, in fact, limits the possibilities of perceiving what is analyzed beyond the result offered by the measurement system. That’s why she often works with borosilicate glass, a material that is used to make laboratory instruments. With this type of glass she builds measuring instruments that show the error, the deviation and the fragility of our relationship with the world through scientific mediation.
On the occasion of Swab will show one of the first pieces in which the artist worked with this material, with which we can understand the genealogy of his later work. In A_nivellaments she explores the relationship between stability and movement; the glass combined with water proposes a dialog between transparency and opacity in the perception of the environment, and shows how the pursuit of stability in our context inevitably involves movement, and therefore, risk and fragility.
The installation reveals a relationship of tension with the viewer, puts us on alert by refining our gestures, and warns us of the unstable balance of our relationship with the environment, creating a space for observation and alertness that is, finally, the main point of Fluxà’s work.
Marina Rubio – Wild toys
Wild toys is conceived as a playground in which we find different playful elements. It starts with the concept of a ‘system’ to generate structures of different formats based on the aesthetics of construction and creation games that imply a manual action.
It is based on systems linked to the game to create a series of pieces that speak of matter as “wild energy, which through processes of self-organization and morphogenesis, generates the structures that surround us” (Manuel de Landa). It proposes how human action forms structures and objects created with the intention of prolonging human expectations over time, considering the body as an object among other bodies.
The installation consists of elements that refer to the matter: some of them incorporate seeds that grow in the raw mud, giving rise to live pieces and elements that generate contrasts between the stability of the mineral and the organicity of the vegetable. It is conceived as a relational system that includes the material, the formal and the spatial; where dualisms arise: matter-space, permanent-ephemeral, work-context.
Michael Lawton – selection of the APATSS series of paintings
The APATSS series by the painter Michael Lawton is a series of 100 paintings (All Paintings Are The Same Size) that, like a notebook, collect images, ideas, thoughts, inspirations, visions… whose special condition is that they could not be expressed in words. The whole series draws a continuous line that goes through the painter’s life between 2012 and 2016.
APATSS is a writing exercise without words that displays small stories, anecdotes, details… opening doors to another level of reality, fictional, hidden, recondite, or on the opposite way towards small light evidences captured as sketches, from which a story can be recomposed. The story that emerges connects points of life in its erratic quality, like a journal that does not speak as much about you as about the world around you, capturing and connecting thoughts through experience in a random, circumstantial way.
Apart from the serial structure, the set displays multiple possibilities, bringing together a multitude of groups that can form new groups or new series. For Swab, we have selected eleven paintings from the series, following improvised criteria emerged from the images themselves. They are accompanied by a painting that is not part of the series, this is the first one he painted when just arrived at the studio in Hangar Barcelona. As Michael says, the first painting made in a new studio often has a particular quality, is sort of an outlier it doesn’t fit into either the work that you did in the old studio, or the work that you do in the new one.
The work of Michael Lawton can be seen during the days of the SWAB fair in the hall of the Hotel OD Barcelona.
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