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The Sala d’Art Jove ended 2012 opening the last show of works selected from the open call of 2011. As usual in the exhibitions of projects selected by the Sala d’Art Jove, it’s hard to establish any relationship between the projects, but then this isn’t the principal aim of the show. It is more about letting the works chosen speak for themselves. Even so, it is true that there are themes that are more common than others, such as for example institutional critique, seen in projects such “NO te preocupes por el FUTURO, ocúpate”, by Quim Packard and Enric Farrés, and “Bibliografía”, by Bárbara Sánchez; or collective memory and history, notably in projects such as “El mundo de los vencedores”, by Ignasi Prat and the work carried out by the Taller de Ficció in Poble Sec. For its part the project by the Leland Palmer collective with its investigation into censorship within cultural contexts is not out of kilter conceptually level with the rest. Finally, “/”, by Alba Aguirre, Marta Bonhora, Belén Generelo and Anna Margó, arises out of an investigation into the relations between art and education.
In fact in the exhibition “/”, a series of photographs are shown, each accompanied by a brief explanation about what is being represented. What all the images have in common is that on a formal level their composition could be resumed in a diagonal, that goes in the same direction as the symbol ‘/’, that forms the title of the project. From the arm of a Chinese lucky cat to a stapler, or the position of a body doing physical exercise, along with many other cases that act as entries in this extensive catalogue. The relation all this has with the investigation that has been made into the tensions between art and education isn’t clear in the pieces that we discover in the exhibition space, and there is a lack of information to help one understand these links, but despite this the piece functions, on a visual as much as a conceptual level, for its humour and the rapid connection that can be made between the images.
Beside it, on a totally different subject, in a corner of the space, the grey walls, ceiling and floor are dedicated to the material elaborated by the Taller de Ficció in Poble Sec and its work looking at the Plaza Navas, a square that from the 20s to this day has been in constant redevelopment. While realising the project they have collected all sorts of documentation about the square, such as opinions and memories of the neighbours, photographs, drawings and plans of the square, before and after the latest redevelopment. As well as showing some of these documents and a chronological axis where they note the changes, a video is also projected in the space, titled “Aquí es aparcamiento” (Parking here), in which three actors phone the company that owns the parking that has been constructed under the square and ask for information about the possibility of obtaining certain privileges by purchasing a parking space. What is interesting about comparing all this documentation is to see how it reveals that the opinions of some of the neighbours contradict what is shown on some of the photographs. In fact, this is one of the strengths of this Taller de Ficció, that in some way has reconstructed the recent history of this square through the different voices of its inhabitants, going beyond whether these are considered true or not.
In relation to “Bibliografía”, Bárbara Sánchez has carried out a series of interviews with different people linked to the world of the university (students as much as lecturers, the majority being from the faculty of Fine Art), about their experiences in relation to the bibliography. It is easy to guess that the author believes that it is a resource that is used badly by lecturers and that possibly the crisis that the university system finds itself in has led consequently to the crisis of the bibliography. Maybe it’s that everything is in crisis and it couldn’t be otherwise for the bibliography. In any case, no concrete conclusion is reached so much as the bibliography is left as something that is valued less than some believe it should be. In general everybody makes excuses: some that “the students don´t read “; and others that “the lecturers give a never ending list of references without commenting on them and it ends up being unreadable”.
The project “NO te preocupes por el FUTURO, ocúpate” (don’t worry about the future, get busy) is made up of a circle of bits of pink plastic and clay scattered on the floor in a corner of the space (with a few bits also hanging from the ceiling), with the letters ‘NO FUTURO’ in the middle.
In an equally synthetic form, though by no means as naïf as the previous proposal, “El mundo de los vencedores” (The winners’ world) by Prat presents a photograph of the exterior of one of Francisco Franco’s residences. The reason why this project has a discrete, symbolic and rather ambiguous presence is due to the fact that this work basically materialises in other editions that have not yet been presented.
The work by the collective Leland Palmer is also not to be found in a physical form in the current exhibition, though conversely it was in Act I of the cycle Ouverture, when a space was dedicated to a few pamphlets that related the story of the closure of Espacio Zero1 in Olot as a case of censorship, with such finely honed sarcasm that it hurt. In any event, though not represented in the exhibition space, they have carried out a substantial amount of activity in the last few months of 2012, investigating cases of censorship, a labour they have reflected on their web, There they have published a couple of conversations with Martí Manen, Jorge Luís Marzo and David Santeulària, about the role of censorship and self-censorship in processes of cultural management. The subject that this collective is exploring is more than current, and unfortunately, everything indicates they will be able to add cases to their investigations, such as the recent closure of Can Xalant, that will be incorporated in a future issue.
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)