Coinciding with MUSAC’s 5th Anniversary celebration, the museum will present Bringing up Knowledge, a group show that brings together the artists Alexander Apóstol, Simon Fujiwara, Fran Meana, Moris, Warren Neidich, Jenny Perlin, Diego del Pozo, Pedro G. Romero, María Ruido, and Danh Vo. The exhibition explores the construction of knowledge, memory, and history, and their respective transformations and interpretations by social, political, economic and religious agents. Curated by Octavio Zaya, the exhibition is the first collaboration between the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León and the Museo de León, two institutions that address art and its historical reality from different temporal premises: the present in the case of MUSAC and the past in that of Museo de León. It opens on April 10th.
> Curator’s statement:
“In the Information Age in which we live, it seems evident that the dividing line between knowledge and the unknown, reality and fiction, truth and falsehood is ever less clear and more difficult to discern. We are all aware of the fact that current society is raising profound questions about traditional concepts of history, memory, and fiction. Every day, we discover intentional manipulations, falsifications, and concealments of the information that reaches citizens in the realms of politics, religion, science, and ultimately in all fields of daily life, making it difficult to interpret or form an opinion, not only about contemporary events, but also about those of the past.
Philosophy has been asking itself for centuries about “reality” and “truth”, about “the effects of reality” and “the fantasies of realism”, about “objective history” and “subjective memory”, simulation and language games. All the same, the generalised relativism that is its legacy today does not seem to have freed us from the suspicion that all learning is compromised, that all knowledge is hardly more than a tool for control.
We know the situation is not new and we also know that history is written by those who have power or win wars. But now, with the prominence of image in our culture, and with widespread access to the technologies and instruments for manipulating it, the situation seems more daunting and confused, since now we can all improve, change, or modify reality, facts, and histories according to our tastes and interests. All this entails, not only re-constructing or de-constructing the past, but also inventing and representing the present. And it all contributes to the creation and the laying of the precarious foundations of what we consider to be “learning” and “knowledge”.
Bringing Up Knowledge probes themes related to the erasure, manipulation, revision, reconstruction, and invention of facts and histories, through works, ideas, and projects of artists who have tackled, and continue to tackle, what ultimately constitutes the establishment of “knowledge”. Alexander Apóstol, Simon Fujiwara, Fran Meana, Moris, Warren Neidich, Jenny Perlin, Pedro G. Romero, Maria Ruido, and Danh Vo are among the artists who explore through their work the construction of knowledge and the concepts of memory and history, as well as their respective transformations and interpretations.
The exhibition occupies the space of Laboratorio 987 and other MUSAC facilities, and includes other parallel activities, such workshops and lectures taking place in the Museo de León. As a whole, the project is not intended as an exhaustive or definitive take on these themes and situations, but as an exercise, an outline, and an enquiry into the interest some contemporary artists have in the construction of knowledge and deconstruction of culture, its genesis, contexts and determining factors”.
About the artists
Barquisimeto, Venezuela, 1969
The multidisciplinary artist Alexander Apóstol has developed his work in media such as photography and video, through which he has explored themes such as memory, the body and identity issues. His projects have incorporated urban settings and popular iconography to conceptually investigate politically pre-established social archetypes of gender. Apóstol employs irony and humour to question the human condition in contemporary society. In recent years his work has dealt with the process of dismantling Latin American modernity, employing for this purpose urban images that touch on and reinforce this theme.
London, United Kingdom, 1982
Embracing several formats—performances/conferences, fictitious publications and collections of diverse articles and objects—the recent projects of the Berlin-based artist Simon Fujiwara (1982) are shaped by gathering more or less plausible pieces of evidence. Each of these unearths an implicit myth about human origins and an explicit sexual archaeology, weaving a set of narratives that take us from man’s common past to Fuijwara’s recent personal time and his family history. With a British mother and a Japanese father, the artist has developed an art practice around his own origins and the carefully constructed borderlines between ethology, eroticism, architecture and ancestry, by writing and rewriting histories, biographies and gay porno stories that are as credible and crafted as a treatise on palaeontology.
Aviles, Spain, 1982
After graduating from the University of Vigo with a degree in Fine Arts, he moved to Barcelona. His most noteworthy exhibitions include 1 1, Museo Abetlló, Mollet del Valles, Barcelona (2008), Descarga Discográfica, Sala de Art Jove, Barcelona (2008), Proyecto de una contingencia, CGAC, Santiago de Compostela (2007), BAC07: Babylon, CCCB, Barcelona (2007).
Meana’s production is intended to generate the illusion of a possible re-appropriation of the symbols of power in order to subvert them. By investing them with domesticity and an ephemeral quality he aims to strip them of their sacred facet and thus restore their everydayness.
Moris (Israel Meza Moreno)
Mexico City, Mexico, 1978
Israel Meza Moreno is a “social sculptor” who takes the belongings of destitute people living in the city and manipulates them in order to return them and contribute to improving the beggars’ living quarters. Among his most notable actions and experiments are his “borrowing” a mattress that a vagabond was using as a shelter from the cold and intervening on it in order to give it back to him converted into a sleeping bag, or gathering strips of wood and placing them in the form of a precarious refuge that ended up turned into a home, since the homeless placed their scarce belongings inside the spaces delimited by the creator. To produce his pieces, the Mexican artist always uses objects found in the neighbourhoods—such as pieces of metal, cardboard or used bottles. Some critics have pointed out certain connection between his work and that of Gabriel Orozco. His pieces also show an evident kinship with Arte Povera.
New York, NY, USA, 1962
Warren Neidich is an artist and writer living between Berlin and Los Angeles whose work has been exhibited internationally. He is the recipient of the Vilem Flusser Theory Award, 2010. Selected future exhibitions 2010 include Bringing Up Knowledge, MUSAC, Leon, Spain, Kunsthalle Athens, Athens, Greece, Book Exchange, Glenn Horowitz, East Hampton,New York, Hidden Publics, Kunsthalle Palazzo, Liestal, Switzerland, Love Letter for a Surrogate, Torrence Art MuseumTorrence, CA., UKS-Unge Kunstneres Samfund/Young Artist Society, Oslo, Norway and Gallery Moriarty, Madrid, Spain. His recent monograph of drawings entitled Lost Between the Extensivity/Intensivity Exchange was recently published by Onomatopee, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Cognitive Architecture: From Biopower to Noo-power is forthcoming and will launch at this years Venice Biennial for Architecture at the Dutch Pavilion. He is currently Visiting Scholar and Artist in Residence at the TU Delft School of Architecture, Delft, The Netherlands.
Williamstown, MA, USA, 1970
Jenny Perlin’s work in 16mm, video and drawing belongs within and goes against the documentary tradition, incorporating innovative stylistic techniques aimed at emphasizing aspects involving the concepts of truth, misunderstanding and personal history. Perlin’s work attentively observes the ways in which social schemes are reflected in the pettiest aspects of day to day occurrence. Whether it is through a copy of a receipt from Wal-Mart, or a Reuters headline, through FBI files from the 1950s, or filming documentary interviews in the corner store, Perlin’s interest focuses on the ways in which historical statements affect the specific details of human experience.
Perlin’s works have been shown at the MoMA, The Kitchen (New York), The Drawing Center (New York); P.S.1 (New York); The Whitney Museum of Art (New York); CCA Wattis (San Francisco); Ulrich Museum of Art (Kansas); Centre pour l’image contemporaine (Geneva); Aldrich Museum (Connecticut); De Appel, (Amsterdam); Kunsthalle Exnergasse (Vienna); Rotterdam Film Festival; Berlin Film Festival; Images Film Festival (Toronto).
Diego del Pozo
Valladolid, Spain, 1974
Diego del Pozo’s work is articulated around his preoccupation with love and desire and how these feelings, which seem to be related to the intimate experience of the subject, are actually determined by our social environment, spheres of power and methods of production. His art is based on the idea that the mechanisms of social control are interiorized by individuals, showing the fissures in which these tools of power conflict and provoke contradictions in our selves. By using apparently naive techniques and media—drawings, music boxes, videos or board games— he confronts us with a reality in which our desires, assumed to be something private and of our own, are unmasked as constructions that lead us to consumption or social control.
Del Pozo earned a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Salamanca in 1997 and his work has been shown in institutions such as ECAT of Toledo; the Centro Cultural Montehermoso (Vitoria-Gasteiz); the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo of Salamanca, DA2; and the Centro de Arte Joven of the Community of Madrid.
Pedro G. Romero
Aracena, Huelva, Spain, 1964
The career of Pedro G. Romero comprises elements ranging from painting and drawing to the organization of courses and workshops, including photography, video, playwriting, recording musical documents, and publishing books and theoretical and literary texts. Archivo FX, a community project based on a set images of iconoclasm in Spain between 1845 and 1945 as a different way of seeing history and tradition in perspective, endows his art with a different autonomous framework in which to move. His latest works for Archivo F.X. include the production at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies of the project La ciudad vacía: (2005-2007), and, more recently, his contribution in the first issue of Archivo F.X. Documentos y materiales, an informative newsletter about all the works of the archive that appeared in the project Heterotopias, di/visions (from here and elsewhere) curated by Catherine David for Thessaloniki (2007).
A video-maker, researcher and cultural producer, since 1996 she has been developing interdisciplinary projects on the social creation of the body and its situation in work-related constructs, as well as on the mechanisms of building of memory and its relation to the narrative forms of history. She currently lives in Barcelona, where she is a Professor in the Design Department of the University of Barcelona, and where she belongs to several study groups involved with representation and its contextual relations.
Voh was born in Vietnam but raised in Denmark. In his installations he relates aspects of his eventful life to aspects of war and the history of colonialism. His work explores the invisible borders between public and private, and the possibility of porosity between the two realms. Vo undermines the establishment (he curated an exhibition of works by recognized artists in his parents’ home in Copenhagen) as well as the personal (he got married to and divorced from numerous people, supplementing his own name with those of his spouses yet without sharing a personal or romantic life with them).
Danh Vo (b. 1975) graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Copenhagen and the Städelschule of Frankfurt. He currently lives and works in Berlin. In 2009 he was artist in residence at the Kadist Art Foundation (Paris). In 2008 he showed his work at Manifesta 7, Rovereto; the Triennial of Yokohama; Docking Station, Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), among others, and in 2009 at the Gebert Stiftung für Kultur (Rapperswil).
Images and text provided by MUSAC
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