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It seems that 2017 is even more weighed down than other years, if possible, with the need to catch planes to visit an indispensable fair, a vital exhibition, or an essential biennale (quinquennial or ten-year show…). 2017 has been the year of the must do event. For this, as a publication dedicated to thought and criticism through contemporary art, to us at A*DESK it seemed necessary to pay attention to this situation, with a special edition that would include the most “important”, if this qualification signifies anything here, of these named ephemerides. And in endeavouring to do it, we have encountered sumptuous gatherings of the world of art in the old continent, which today more than ever, seem to reproduce endogamic circles of vacuous veneration.
Beyond individual or very specific proposals, we’ve received contradictory opinions about the need, the wherefores or the results of this type of event that on the other hand don’t seem to stop growing in an apparently globalised tendency of understanding cultural expression as an occasion to create momentum around something. A moment that by nature dissipates with its finissage failing to establish either a local public or discourse.
Juan Canela opened the month with a review of the Venice Biennale que ha comisariado Christine Macel. curated by Christine Macel. With “Viva Arte Viva, o la vuelta a la fascinación banal de lo humano” Canela stressed the emphasis of the discourse adopted by the French curator as much as the distancing of this edition of the “Biennale” from subjects that could have placed in a place of discourse and discussion the complexity of the world or the artistic fact (something previous editions had at least endeavoured to do). If “Viva Arte Viva is an exclamation, a passionate outcry for art and the state of the artist. (If) Viva Art Viva is a Biennale designed with artists, by artists and for artists”, we inevitably situate ourselves therefore on the side of all those for whom this biennale is not.
For his part, Thierry Geoffroy / Coronel, interviewed by Cecilia Martín in a frenetic conversation, also warned about the current lethargy within artistic spaces, about the distancing and banality of the events that “deal” with social issues as their subject and don’t go any deeper, about the dormant state of society today.
Equally critical Martí Manen grappled with the Greek delivery of Documenta 14: with the lost opportunities for activation: the gestures that had predicted a potential different from the resulting act; brilliant proposals with unsatisfactory executions; the lack of attention to detail, the lack of depth. Despite the vacuity of a proposal that does nothing more than trivialize a real conflict through the exoticization resulting from a delocalized artistic encounter. (Thierry Geoffroy will be right about the tanks…
Only Uta Reindl brought us good news. In her text about the Skulptur Projekte Münster she called upon the need for this encounter that (ach so!) since its origins has contributed to the local fabric and to its discourse, however specific this may be, from a (material and conceptual) sector of contemporary art. Perhaps it’s because the Skulptur Projekte seems to bypass any hint of festival impetus, and a gathering that occurs every ten years is anything but empty.
We finished yesterday, with a pre-editorial texto, in which we highlighted something that has us on tenterhooks: the return of The Justified Ancients of MuMu or the JAMs, successful interdisciplinary artists, more punk than Syd Vicious. Suddenly their character as saboteurs with high principles and the fact of their return (great expectations) to us seemed to fit perfectly. Happy event!
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)