Last February at a home in Finistère, France, an agent gathered together various enthusiasts and experts, preparing the ground for them to imagine, collectively. In doing so, he consciously triggered a series of separate events and scenarios, which were nevertheless somehow interrelated. The agent followed each of those he had chosen, geographically and mentally, until he gathered them together in a transparent hall in the ville lumière. Despite being enveloped in a shroud of mystery, they were all determined to show their decorative accessories. In order to offer his followers a comfortable, intriguing space, and continue communicating and interacting with his protégés, the agent laid a carpet on the floor of the hall and outlined a few questions: is that which is behind, the same as that which is beneath? Is what underlies similar to what emerges? Does the display, do these words deviate more than they teach? Did Tosquellesº write while he walked?
A ritual and non-conclusive step within a flow of events and experiences including the process of research and production, the Surface matters exhibition reflects upon the cultural, artistic and technological forms in which mankind and human creation configure each other. Through ephemeral, artisanal or scientific practices that draw upon museology, anthropology and ergonomics, the works on display portray traces of a bygone civilization, the ornaments of an imaginary choreography, and a series of remodelled accessory elements.
Starting from a detail as seemingly mundane as the image of an object from the catalogue of the Colombia State Bank’s collection, blown up and printed on ceramic, Monica Restrepo describes the representative impossibility of the community of Malagana. She introduces a strange testimony which questions whether it really exists. With Camille Tsvetoukhine, things are turned upside down. Apogon is the title of the imaginary ballet, devised by the artist herself, which takes place in a public bathhouse in various periods and situations. Tsvetoukhine employs the evocation of a choreography in the form of accessories, stage props, music and costumes in order to reinforce the existence of the dance. Meanwhile, the series Untitled (antibodies) created by Carlos Fernandez-Pello stems from an interest in the phenomenon of camouflage in octopuses and the appearance of wrinkles generated by contact between skin and another body. The artist takes a stand against the modelling of the human body enacted by sports companies by creating an additional soft surface, and suggests different approaches to considering the object and the absent, yet implicit, human user.
Surface matters sheds light upon how forms of culture produce values and meanings; it refers to our perception of reality, and how that perception is influenced by the introduction of new or foreign elements to a particular context. (VV)
ºFrancesc Tosquelles (Reus) was a Catalan psychiatrist and one of the creators of institutional psychotherapy, movement which strongly influenced psychiatry and pedagogy in the second half of the 20th century.
In collaboration with Hangar, BAR project, MataderoMadrid