The Discreet Charm of Technology. Arts in Spain

The Discreet Charm of Technology. Arts in Spain

ZKM | Center for Art and Media

Image by Renata Sas

September 9, 2008

The Discreet Charm of Technology. Arts in Spain
September 27, 2008 - February 15, 2009

Lorenzstrasse 19
76135 Karlsruhe, Germany
+49 (0) 721-8100 1200
info [​at​]

Presenting for the first time a wide outlook of Spanish art and technology productions, the show has been produced by the Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo (MEIAC), and organised by the Ministry of Culture and the Culture Department of the Regional Government of Extremadura.

The international touring of this exhibition has been organised by the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad, SEACEX, and the General Directorate of Cultural and Scientific Relations of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe.

The consolidation of arts that use audiovisual, computer, digital or telematic techniques is a fact. But, the impact of technology in visual arts goes beyond its mere use as a tool.

The exhibited works do not have necessarily a technological support, but they are indeed based on innovating proposals that support their approach on technique and science. Painting, sculpture and photography coexist with interactive installations, experimental cinema, video and Internet.

Under the curatorship of Claudia Giannetti, Antonio Franco and Peter Weibel, the exhibition is structured in five thematic sections, in which some of the general concerns in art and culture are inserted: Acting on the formal code; Acting on the visual code; Acting on the sensorial [space-time] code; Acting on the body’s interface; and Acting on the reality interface.

The first section, Acting on the formal code, addresses the formalization of language proposed, in a pioneering way, by the medieval philosopher from Majorca Ramon Llull (13th century), who created binary combinatory rules in order to achieve an universal language. On this basis, six centuries later, digital computers, automation, artificial intelligence and cybernetics were developed. Artists such as Barbadillo and Alexanco, pioneers in computer art in Spain, have been able to implement the combinatorial analysis and the generative system to their works. More recently, Leandre or Marino, are continuing that research path.

The second section, Acting on the visual code, includes books and micro-photographs of the famous scientist and Nobel prize, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, which allowed to visualize what was invisible, thus modifying the perception of our immediate environment. New vision and action fields are researched by artists such as Daniel Canogar and Moisés Mañas.

Taking as a starting point the pioneer works of experimental movies by José Val del Omar, the third module, Acting on the sensorial [space-time] code, analyses the media capacity to overflow the traditional limits of space, time and senses. The installations by Eugènia Balcells and Pedro Garhel, among others, offer the viewer pluri-sensorial and immersive experiences.

The body as interface and the way the concept of identity is built are some of the issues addressed in the section Acting on the body interface, in which works by Pilar Albarracín, Marcel·lí Antúnez, Javier Codesal and Begoña Vicario are presented. The body becomes a surface to explore the individual as a perishable being, as well as an instrument for the relation with society and also to question the traditional concepts of genre.

Reality is a subjective perception, as addressed in the last module of the show Acting on the reality interface, which depends on how the subject is observed. Technical means allow us to show the coincidence between fiction and reality. In this section, the artists question, in a critical way, the relations between the subject and the reality of social environment. Pioneers such as Miralda, Montes-Baquer/Salvador Dalí or Fontcuberta, as well as artists of the last generation, such as Cajaraville, Marino, Ruiz de Infante o Valldosera, present proposals of special interest stressing this far-reaching issue.

This is the broadest and most exhaustive show that has been organised to date in Spain on this subject matter, a fact that will no doubt turn it into a showcase full of special meaning. (A 598 pages catalogue with unpublished texts will be issued).

Participating Artists:
Ramon Llull, Santiago Ramón y Cajal
Antoni Abad, Roberto Aguirrezabala, Pilar Albarracín, José Luis Alexanco, Abu Ali * Toni Serra, Jesús Alido, Julián Álvarez García, Marcel·lí Antúnez Roca, Eugènia Balcells, Manuel Barbadillo, Eugeni Bonet, Bressemer & Alia, Maite Cajaraville, Daniel Canogar, Gustavo Caprín, Nilo Casares & Bernardo Tejeda, Javier Codesal, Salvador Dalí & José Montes-Baquer, Pep Dardanyà, Juan Carlos Eguillor, Equipo 57, Evru, Joan Fontcuberta, Dora García, Pedro Garhel, Marisa González, Isabel Herguera, Concha Jerez & José Iges, Jodi, Joan Leandre, Moisés Mañas, Iván Marino, Enrique Marty, Anna Miquel, Miralda, Sylvia Molina & Juan Millares, Jordi Moragues Massanet, Thomas Nölle, Victor Nubla, Daniel Palacios Jiménez, Carles Pujol, Benet Rossell, Francisco Ruiz de Infante, José Antonio Sistiaga, José Val del Omar, Eulàlia Valldosera, Begoña Vicario, Wolf Vostell

Produced by:
MEIAC, Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, Badajoz (Spain)

Organised by:
Ministry of Culture
Regional Government of Extremadura. Culture Department of the Regional Government of Extremadura, Office for Cultural Heritage

International Touring Organised by:
State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad, SEACEX
Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. Directorate General for Cultural and Scientific Relations
Embassy of Spain, Berlin
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

Idea and Conception: Claudia Giannetti

Claudia Giannetti, Specialist in media art, theorist, writer and exhibitions curator
Antonio Franco, Director of the MEIAC, Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo
Peter Weibel, Director of ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
Press department
Friederike C. Walter
phone: +49 (0) 721-8100 1220
fax: +49 (0) 721-8100 1139

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ZKM | Center for Art and Media
September 9, 2008

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