Päättymätön prosessi / Ändlös process / Procés sense fi / Proceso sin fin / Endless Process
María Alcaide, Diego Diez, Roberta Lima, Agnès Pe, Harri Piispanen, Anne Roininen, Víctor Ruiz Colomer + Joe Highton, and Alexander Salvesen.
Curated by Xavier Acarín - 2018 Curator in Residence at Sant Andreu Contemporani and Fabra i Coats, Barcelona.
This project is organized by Sant Andreu Contemporani and MUU Artists’ Association with the support of the Institut Ramon Llull, Ajuntament de Barcelona-Districte de Sant Andreu, and Institut de Cultura de Barcelona.
MUU Kaapeli May 24 – June 21, 2018.
Sant Andreu Contemporani is the hosting institution of the Miquel Casablancas Award, which, since 1981, has been recognizing the excellence of the work of young Spain-based artists through an open call for projects, works, and publications. From among this year’s applicants, the curator has selected María Alcaide, Diego Diez, Agnès Pe and Victor Ruiz + Joe Highton. In turn, the MUU Artists’ Association proposed an open call especially designed for this project and limited to members new to MUU in the past two years. The selected artists are Roberta Lima, Harri Piispanen, Anne Roininen and Alexander Salvesen.
Endless Process looks at artistic practices in the age of the precariat. While artists have become entrepreneur heroes, thanks to their flexibility and creativity, they are also conditioned by the logic of precarity that imposes its rhythms on working methods and end results. At the same time, and closely related to this, contemporary art has been questioned as a regime that celebrates indeterminacy as a ubiquitous proposition to make the public – and institutions – feel good about themselves. This situation allows creative agents to not assume their privileges and avoid social responsibility. Thus, artists and curators have become ethereal beings, easily movable entities that travel and produce according to opportunities given by their networks and alliances, which are intrinsically secretive and unequal. In the words of Tirdad Zolghadr, these conditions have positioned contemporary art as “politically bankrupt, intellectually stagnant, and aesthetically predictable.”
The artists presented in this exhibition have been selected through two open calls. An open call is accepted as a democratizing tool in contemporary art, although it contradicts the nature of the curator as a visionary who presents genuine projects and ideas. Nonetheless, in this case, the curator selected the artists that related to his interests on process-based practices and/or critical approaches to artistic practices. These ideas-parameters were in turn inspired by a mix of the curator’s anxieties, that ran from his own working conditions as an independent curator living in New York, to the accumulation of crises (financial, ecological, political…) that have affected Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, Europe, the West, and the rest of the world in general for the past decade or so. With all these mixed feelings in mind, the curator drew few ideas from the first open call, and thanks to the works of the selected artists, he began connecting threads that linked the decadence of democracy to instilled precarity. The context appeared fluid and unsteady, where everything matters, except - and paradoxically - everything is superfluous, as in contemporary art. And the curator projected his own frustrations with the the field of art, his work, and his lack of resources, and slowly realized that what was seductive about open processes, namely their way to channel performative subjectivity as artistic practice (life as art), was now long gone. Once again, the dark forces of capitalism had kidnapped and used a technique to entertain the masses with discursive and sensorial a/effects. Then, like in the worst dystopia, the curator became suspicious of everyone, and behind every well-intended socially engaged practitioner, he saw secret agents of a large corporation, that controls and exploits human and natural resources to the end. The curator saw himself as redundant, like the majority of the 7.6 billion people who inhabit the planet, and all his feelings, and memories, subjectifications and precedents, all his life, all his loved ones and all his material accumulations, all became a part of the unstoppable drift towards entropy and universal collapse.
After a few moments of overwhelming confusion, the curator signed up for a meditation retreat and decided that the best way to address all these ruminations in an exhibition created by open calls, was to allow every participant to do and express, encouraging chaos and inviting experimentation and risk. In this manner, on the night of the opening it will be possible to witness performances addressing youth, happiness, sunscreen, ants, suicide, counter-fashion, comfort, and seduction, all in a party-like atmosphere. The performances will be accompanied by other works that have a somewhat steadier presence in the gallery, although they convey fragility as a common and shared state of matter and humanity. With these works, and the relationships between them, the exhibition aims, explores, investigates – Oh!, those typical lovely contemporary art words – a series of issues related to the artists and their role as cognitive workers of an intangible and frangible world.