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29th Pontevedra Art Biennial. Flight from an imagined scenario

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Marco Maggi

Ricardo Lanzarini

Marina De Caro

Eduardo Basualdo

Carlos Rial

Diego Santomé

Pontevedra Art Biennial,
Jul 13, 2006 - Sep 03, 2006
Pontevedra, Spain

29th Pontevedra Art Biennial. Flight from an imagined scenario
by David Barro

Working on a Foucauldian idea of difference, the curator Victoria Noorthoorn appeals to the imagination to approach a story of migrations, of eternal there-and-back journeys that are never limited in time: Off/Fora: Imaginary Movements between Galicia and the Southern Cone. That sensation of a never finished interior voyage certainly justifies a title that, more than ever, avoids an apparently essential condition of an image: visibility. Off, which is presented thus, is an epigraph that refers to our fear of being left without answers, without physical limits to cling to, without a passport or a compass capable of orienting us in a world that can turn into a shadow of what has been experienced. This epigraph is, more or less a nostalgic memoir that flourishes every time we strive to cling to an image that belongs to us but that we try to expand to the maximum, much farther than what Krauss could have imagined. It is a kind of surgery, of blindness to a syncopated real time. The power of imagination has those elements, and that is why it is being used as an axis capable of articulating all the proposals put forward by Noorthoorn. In this regard, the work of the well-known Argentinean conceptual artist Roberto Jacoby, acts as a paradigm for the budgets of the commissioner, blinding us as a sort of bracketing in order to throw us into a voyage of sound that incites us to get to know and generate our own image of a space from the non-visible. This poetic migration is a metaphor that dances a tango with the impossible, based on the individual feints of a spectator capable of giving shape to his own figurative setting, as in Lars von Trier’s Dogville, captives of our own flight.

It is in that sort of fade-to-black that notions such as identity or the concept of a nation are continuously redefined by the art world, in this case based on the concept of an imaginary border. Thus it is normal for biennials such as that of São Paulo to have eliminated national pavilions for this edition, no doubt in order not to have to undergo the geriatric experience of the last Venice Biennial, featuring artists such as Messager, Gilbert & Georges, Jonas Mekas, Helena Almeida or Ed Ruscha, who have been fully assimilated by the art world. One of the exhibitions in Venice, conducted by Rosa Martí­nez, had the visionary title Siempre un poco más lejos [Always a little farther], stemming from the romanticism of Corto Maltés, the fictitious character invented by the cartoonist Hugo Pratt, to appeal to fantasy as a way of understanding reality. Noorthoorn’s intentions are not far removed; they could be placed in the same suitcase into which a nude Cecilia Vignolo packed herself as a means of interpreting an internal migration.

As I pointed out on another occasion, in this context of dislocated identities and disoriented subjects, defining one’s own vision seems a somewhat complicated task. We still ask ourselves who we are, where we came from and where we are going, following Gauguin’s dilemma. And this is what this Biennial examines, focusing basically on countries such as Argentina, Chile or Uruguay. This is because, in the world of art, that imaginary border is the system, the market, and artists that have not yet been excessively recognized have been chosen to cross that border - except for the aforementioned Jacoby and the indisputable Luis Camnitzer, who on this occasion presents an installation consisting of the root of a tree that continues up a trunk made of thousands of blunt, black pencils drawing an imaginary territory on the wall to which they lead. Martí­n Sastre’s work is therefore highly significant when he caustically makes up a fictitious story of a Latin American art star in a future era, grave included.

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