This week, Selections is taking you on a guided tour in the city of Madrid.
Museo Reina Sofía
Marginalias by Ida Applebroog
The exhibition is on view until the 27th of September
Marginalias, an exhibition devoted to Ida Applebroog (New York, 1929), is the largest and most exhaustive retrospective of her work to date. The selection of more than 200 pieces and 8 installations, spanning for more than five decades, places the stress on the interests and concerns that were constants across her life, such as the blurred line between the private and the public, the creeping medicalisation of advanced societies, the violence that underpins accepted patriarchal relationships, and the media’s lack of sensitivity toward the suffering of others.
Unwilling to be pigeonholed stylistically, Applebroog has employed a wide range of media and materials—drawings, watercolours, paintings, sculptures, artist books, installations, and so on—to produce her work. Her pieces often have performative qualities and call for active audience engagement, with interpretation of the work dependent on a viewer’s own personal experience.
The show takes its title from a broad and open-ended series of works called Marginalias, which Applebroog referred to as “notes in the margin”. While each is a standalone piece, Applebroog likes to add them to existing works to give an extra layer of meaning through the change in visual context or concept, thus altering the significance of the original piece or shifting the focus of the main argument. This device is yet another demonstration of the discursive and iconographic power of an artist who ruthlessly exposes society’s perennial ills without losing her sense of humour and irony.
The exhibition is on view until the 2nd of May, 2022.
The Palacio de Velázquez in Retiro Park hosts an exhibition by the Argentinian-Swiss artist Vivian Suter (Buenos Aires, 1949). Organised by Museo Reina Sofía, the exhibition shows nearly 500 paintings, from her pieces that were made on paper in the 80s to very recent work produced at her workshop in Panajachel, in the Guatemalan jungle.
The installation at the Palacio de Velázquez was conceived by the artist herself taking into account the architectural characteristics of this unique building. According to Vivian Souter, the idea was to make a tour in which the canvases create a livable space that surrounds the visitors.
Each canvas retains its own autonomy as an artwork while maintaining a close connection with the rest of the pieces, amounting to a kind of evocative ecosystem of climatic, sensorial and emotive experiences. On the canvases there are visible marks of the natural elements that have participated in their creation: footprints of their dogs, tree leaves, traces of water and mud or organic remains of wood.
Although the exhibition does not follow a chronological order, Suter has displayed at the left wing of the Palace her oldest paintings, from the early 80s, made on paper, variegated with paint and with a lot of colour, very different and in contrast to the rest of the works in display.
During her Buenos Aires childhood, Suter liked to play hide and seek among the fabrics at the Estampería Belgrano, the family printworks. For her Reina Sofia Museum exhibition, the Palacio de Velázquez becomes a similar playground with viewers invited to lose themselves amongst the pieces, colours and textures that hang within the building’s glass and iron domes.
Weather Report by Dagoberto Rodríguez
The exhibition is on view until the 24th of July
Text: Andrea Pacheco González, Curator
In Weather Report, the artist introduces us to a new chapter in this speculative saga in the face of concern about the extreme surveillance and control to which the biopower of the states subjects us. In particular, the series that he presents in this exhibition, Umbrales (2021), Dispositif (2021) and Ciclones (2021), investigate the non-human control of life, through machines and technological devices. With the exception of his videos, Rodríguez’s pieces never include the human figure; his reflection neither directly address oppression nor does it represent the oppressed. Rather, his interest lies in objects and instruments created to exercise some kind of dominance over human existence.
The exhibition introduces us to a space orbited by a series of clay sculptures that hang from the ceiling, like a primitive Starlink train. Satellites – also planets – have been part of Dagoberto’s visual repository since his youth. Probably, the complex Cuban context at the end of the twentieth century led him to fantasize about unknown territories beyond this galaxy, where he could escape the binary choreography that divided the world in those years.
However, the ambivalent functionality of satellite technology, so useful for finding the best route by car, as for directing a missile at a house, introduces here a techno-negativist reflection by the artist. Satellites –one of many dispositif in the Foucauldian sense– not only control every moment of life, their perverse functionality reminds us that any device is potentially a death machine. Thus, the so-called «Frankenstein complex» is updated (Asimov, 1947), the «Frankenstein complex» (Asimov, 1947), an almost archetypal fear that, like a boomerang, the created object turns against its own creator. Humanity at the mercy of its machines. Speculation or anticipation?
Caen sílabas negras by Julia Llerena
The exhibition is on view until the 24th of July
Text: Raquel G. Ibáñez, Mayo 2021
The three large pieces from the exhibiton that we find in the room do not hide the punctured back of the canvas; they rather invite in their meandering arrangement to a bodily reading of the verses – now adulterated echoes – contained in the backing. A journey in which the alleged intelligibility of the hidden face does not influence because everything is shown; there is no orthodox character or symbol, nor (in)correct reading order. The artist’s action, then, is not circumscribed in a merely additive progression; undoing what is done is part of the narrative that is built between the warp and the weft, on which an imprint remains; hole and trace of thread or ink, phantasmagoria of the blank sheet. In these works, the embroidered verses on linen are not configured as a mere handwriting artifact, nor is there a concern to offer any translation: there is a pulse to repress the text as such, addressing the poetic gesture as the action of decoding and rewriting the literal inscription of the words.
A spectrogram is the graphic representation of sound frequencies, even those imperceptible to the human ear. The origin of the term has an ambivalence that transports us to what emerges and is perceptible through the eye and, also, to what is invisible to it; to an elusive, ghostly presence. In these pieces, the use of the spectrogram is not enunciated as a technical fetish, but rather from Julia’s interest in deploying the evocative potentiality of absence; the voids that she tends to introduce in a large part of her production, both installative and sculptural. Spirits and memory. Here appears, the vision in the room of some wooden branches, whose rhythm is interrupted by cavities filled with glass; or porcelain vases supported by pieces of clear glass. There is no desire for restitution, nor repair in the holes that go through the works. The operation is simple: to displace the antagonism between the hollowness and the abundance, directing the value towards the fragility that sustains the fragments that make up a whole. Life happens in the interstices. Nothingness is not a crude absence, but the infinite fullness of openness.
Caen sílabas negras is a loose verse by Gamoneda, the only poem fragment that is revealed with written words –through typographic elements– in the gallery. Titles always have weigh. The fall contains uncertainty, which entails a discovery. There is something that precipitates, that seems to descend when understanding appears throughout our lives, as if the collapse – and its blow – were a trance towards knowledge and learning.
The Man the Owl the Lion the Thing by Daniel Boccato
The exhibition is on view until the 31st of July
Text: Ryan Cullen
The most basic definition of poetry could be understood as at least two things sitting next to each other. In this way we can consider the slot machine to be primarily an instrument for the production of poetry; its reels presenting an endless variety of at least two icons side by side. In this exhibition, we find New York based artist Daniel Boccato similarly partaking in the production of such poetry, five paintings each in simple binary form: the owl and the man. Additionally, in the back room we find a sculpture from an ongoing series of lions perched on various objects.
The works contained in the man the owl the lion the thing are modular in their potentially endless iterations.
Each work presents its own internal poetry, binaries with variety. The works are not the artist’s first examination of animal, or even avian iconography, first in a series of paintings which present a similar binary to that presented here, parrots and women, and then more recently in Boccato’s sculptural inquiries into the ubiquitous birds of prey adorning various national flags and various logos.
In the case of this exhibition however, we are reminded of repetition and difference, systematically beholding a figure in wait for an owl to take its flight; for a lion to dismount its thing. Caught in this forever-present, we might consider Boccato’s plural binaries to offer a possibility of producing new poetry from old constants. Playing, rather than merely watching the slot machine of a slot machine culture.
TÚ+ by Clara Montoya
The exhibition is on view until the 23rd of July
This exhibition is the synthesis of two solo shows which are on display at about the same time by inexorable chances: the first one opened on June 3rd in the Centre del Carme in Valencia, and the second one which is to be opened on June 12th in F2 Galería. In the Dormitori room in the Centre del Carme, it is displayed an immersive light art installation that looks into the concept-construction, hence reflecting upon the very first river, the Whanganui in New Zealand, which has gained legal personhood. Part of her work is an edition with valuable contributions and discussions, together with the translation of such law which granted the River rights, duties and liabilities.
These elements will appear reappropriated and quoted in F2 Galería. Nevertheless, while in the Valencian centre she exhibits a philosophical analysis of the concept of person and the future ac-tions on Water strictly framed within an installing proposal, in F2 Galería she suggests a coexist-ence of opposing works resulting in both formal and artistic-personal meta-strategy contradic-tions. Caring for the skin of objects, relishing the matter and the virtual, TÚ+ delves into the art-ist’s spaces as individual in its social nature.
The information is extracted from the press releases of the galleries.