"Dune" is one of those science fiction novels that we are now in the process of reclaiming. In the complex world created by John Herbert, a brotherhood of witches, intimately tied to the powers that be, uses a litany in which the following phrase stands out: fear is the mind-killer.
Fear, that first paralyzes, annihilating the capacity to reason and then converts us into animals. Is it really fear that has paralyzed a fair sector of contemporary art and cultural in general? Could it be that our fear is called an excess of institutionalisation? Holland awaits years of budget uncertainty. A few months ago in Great Britain, everybody in the arts had little idea of what the future might hold and were expecting important cuts. In Spain the crisis and political ineptitude are hitting in equal measure. We are waiting for “them” to decide, for “them” to mark the pace, for “them” to give out the money.
Maybe too much importance has been granted to institutional mechanisms and we have forgotten that if institutions exist at all, it is to work with contents, to react and show possibilities. With so much waiting, the capacity to act, the critical gaze, the belief in the existence of contents and the need to work with them goes rusty. And we forget the possibilities that also exist beyond the welcoming, and also destabilizing, frame of the institution.
In this edition of A*Magazine we present three critical texts. Maite Garbayo analyzes the exhibition of Iñaki Garmendia at the Virreina Centre de la Imatge in Barcelona. Oriol Fontdevila observes the situation of the artist’s book on the occasion of the opening of Múltiplos, a bookshop dedicated to the subject in Barcelona and Jaime Cuenca takes a closer look at the work of Itziar Barrio in his solo exhibition at Artium in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Diverse questions converge in the works of Iñaki Garmendia. Youth subcultures and their modes of leisure, tensions between the local and the global, an awareness of the inherent impossibility of language… The images acquire a certain level of autonomy, and with it the capacity to reinvent themselves. The forms of treatment are varied and at times, contradictory. The approach involves a prior acceptation of the fragmentary, and an endeavour to withstand the incomplete.
Múltiplos, a bookshop specialising in artist’s books, opens its doors. The creative practice of working on paper continues, and multiplies, embracing what are its origins and undoubtedly what are its aims. Artists who produce books, books that form part of strategies and multiple systems of work, where a series of possibilities of contact appear at the same time.
The patron saint festivities that are repeated every summer in villages and cities can seem a bizarre subject for contemporary art. A drunken crowd that continues with fervour the traditions of a territory is perhaps far from the critical and autonomous public that the artistic sector seeks. Seen as too trivial, or even, as reactionary, the phenomena of these festivities doesn’t seem to be dignified enough to pass through the doors of the museum. It is to her credit that Itziar Barrio (Bilbao, 1976) has known how to show the error of this vague prejudice.