Gure Artea XX presents Iratxe Jaio / Klaas van Gorkum, Asier Mendizabal, Xabier Salaberria
Gure Artea XX. Iratxe Jaio / Klaas van Gorkum, Asier Mendizabal, Xabier Salaberria
23rd October 2009 – 10th January 2010
c/ Francia nº24
Basque Government. Department for the Promotion of Culture
The artists Iratxe Jaio (Markina, 1976) and Klaas van Gorkum (Delft, 1975), Asier Mendizabal (Ordizia, 1973) and Xabier Salaberria (Donostia-San Sebastián, 1969) received awards in 2008 in the twentieth edition of the biannual Gure Artea, the prize organised by the Basque Government. The exhibition Gure Artea XX, curated by Miren Jaio, shows works by these artists developed over the course of the last year.
Iratxe Jaio / Klaas van Gorkum
The artists employ documentary methods to analyse social behaviour that is inserted in production systems (city planning, consumerism, mass media…). Tiempo muerto [Dead Time] presents the record of a zombiewalk in three simultaneous video projections, as it marches towards a shopping mall in Barakaldo. The walk, organised together with consonni ( www.zombies.parallelports.org ), replicates a scene from Dawn of the Dead (1978) by George A. Romero, the movie that introduced the zombie as an alter ego of the alienated consumer. Photographs of the recently constructed and empty spaces that served as a backdrop to the walk indicate social practices as producers of public space.
The idea of a crowd of grotesquely dressed up zombies, simulating lack of direction and purpose, but fully aware of producing an image (since film first portrayed them, zombies have walked because of and in front of the camera), lends itself to all kinds of contexts: from self-serving subcultural rites to commercial marketing campaigns, from the neo-situationist drift of social activism to artistic performance. As a sign, the crowd of zombies owes its porosity and capacity to provoke to its nature as a negative image of the classical representation of the modern collective subject: the marching crowd, united in a common cause.
With the avant-gardes of the inter-war period, the evolution of photomontage ran parallel to that of the illustrated press. The latter made available to artists images that, combined in compositions, became form. The technique of montage enabled them to explore the tension between background and figure, form and content. Underlying these two pairs is another, whose conflictive relationship rises to the surface of photomontage: form and ideology.
Artists placed their images at the service of propaganda. All made use of the iconographic catalogue of the illustrated press, which with its classified structure appeared ready for the design of a new world: the sections on sports, fashion, war and industry produced the shining machines and bodies that, unwittingly, were called to collide in glowing, dynamic compositions. In retrospect, there is nothing in the latter that makes it possible to guess the ideological affiliation of the artists that produced them.
As in the rest of this artist’s work, the series Figures and Prefigurations (Divers) involves resignifying forms and asking what it is in them which makes them unyielding in that ductility which allows them to be loaded with disparate meanings. Forms are always suspect and inadequate.
An exhibition is a show of artworks; it is also a designed itinerary, a topology defined by vectors – the artworks – that connect the space of artistic reception. Modern art was to signal its artefacts with the pedestal, a device that, more than support, offers context: without being anything in itself, bestowing an artistic character on objects that in themselves are unable to claim that condition.
Design as a solution and a mediation with the context informs the practice of the artist. The modernist pedestals of Debacle are not scattered about the gallery creating a route; they are assembled as modular units in a structure. The geometrical units in the game Tetris, when fitted into the rectilinear structure, disappear into an undifferentiated totality while continuing to be present. Equally, the matrix structure of Debacle potentially contains all the possible designs of an exhibition. It also holds the promise of the exhibition as a spatial-temporal aesthetic experience as against a conception of the display as an arbitrary occupation of space.