The Fundació Joan Miró presents Self-Organization, a genealogy of do-it-yourself artistic practices from the pioneers of the 60s to the present
Self-Organization is an exhibition by Catalan artist and curator Antonio Ortega (Barcelona, 1968) based on a personal and historical overview of some of the works associated with DIY practices from the 1960s onwards. The exhibition is also an attempt to understand recent art forms and confirm the current validity of such strategies. As Ortega explains, by using self-organization, “these artists have taken control over the production, diffusion, and reception of their works through gestures of empowerment that have resulted in new ways of understanding and experiencing art.”
With the collaboration of the Banco Sabadell Foundation, Self-Organization presents 60 works including paintings, sculpture, drawing, photography and video. It also features three installations for which the artists worked directly in the exhibition spaces, and a riposte to the wall texts by Mariona Moncunill, in a gesture of appropriation and dialogue with the institutional codes.
Self-Organization unfolds over four rooms. The first space includes a series of works in which the interaction with the exhibition space is negotiated. It features the installation by Cesare Pietroiusti One hundred things that are certainly not art and a work by François Curlet that ironically comments on the concept of the exhibition space as a “white cube." This room also includes photographs by John Cox and a film by Harold Liversidge documenting Gustav Metzger's "Auto-Destructive Art" series and several exhibits from the Proyectos Espaciales series by Esther Ferrer.
The exhibition continues with a section focusing on examples of spontaneous gestures of empowerment and opposition to the art system. The artists whose works are shown in this room experiment with ways of resisting the imposition to build a consistent career or to become part of a particular movement. Joan Hernández Pijuan, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Keith Arnatt, Siegfried Anzinger and Joan Miró—mocking the art market through the provocative gesture of burning up his own paintings—make up this section.
The third space features a selection of works that explore the concept of self-organization from the perspective of inclusiveness. This section features an installation by Adam Nankervis, who revisits Museum MAN, his legendary collection of everyday objects, and an intervention in which Laura Porter reflects on artistic practice and the role of the artist in contemporary art. This room also presents a selection of photographs documenting minimal actions in public space of Jiři Kovanda, and two works by the British duo Gilbert & George, as well as the film Accions a casa by the former duo Bestué-Vives.
The exhibition ends with a section that explores the acceptance and assimilation of DIY ideas and attitudes in art, seen as one possible means of expression among many others. The artists in this section include Sílvia Gubern, a pioneer of conceptual and action art in Catalunya, who has developed her practice without resorting to the official presentation channels of the art world. There is also Yoko Ono's Painting to See the Skies and a series of paintings by Henk Peeters, as well as works by Franz West, Elisabeth Wright and Christian Jankowski.
Among other documents that make up the show is a self-printed book comic in which Carla Fernández outlines the relationship between art and life in the work of Gustav Metzger, one of the first to resort to self-organization in their artistic practice. It also includes the oil reproductions that painter Pere Llobera was commissioned to make to illustrate the publication that accompanies the show, an unusual way to reflect on the use of images in art exhibition catalogs.
Exhibition organized by
Fundació Joan Miró
Exhibition sponsored by
Banco Sabadell Foundation
Catalog published by Fundació Joan Miró. With essays by exhibition curator Antonio Ortega, art historian Pilar Bonet, social researcher Rubén Martínez and artist Quim Packard. Illustrations by Pere Llobera. Available in Catalan, Spanish and English.