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06.02.2018 – 20.05.2018
Jennifer Allora (b. 1974, USA) and Guillermo Calzadilla (b. 1971, Cuba) have collaborated on an experimental body of work since 1995. Through a research-based approach, their works trace intersections of history, material culture, and politics through a wide variety of mediums, namely performance, sculpture, sound, video, and photography.
For this exhibition at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, their first solo show in Spain, Allora & Calzadilla present a selection of works produced between 2005 and 2018. The musical dimension of these pieces indicates to visitors that here, quite possibly, the visual is subordinated to the auditory. One work leads to another, so that Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on “Ode to Joy” for a Prepared Piano, 2008, can lead either to the wall emitting Wake Up, 2007, or to the upper floor where Hope Hippo, 2005, can be heard thanks to the sound of a whistle. The sequential development of the show enacts the anticipatory structure of the acoustic to explore the conditions of possibility for musical listening as a selective distribution of attention. Thus, the exhibition as a whole is attuned to the behavior of music as a formal model, and not just a medium, for Allora & Calzadilla’s artistic practice at large.
Allora & Calzadilla engage here in a compositional assemblage of ways of being in the world, of forms of existence that range from the human to the animal, and from the organic to the mineral. The exhibition has not been given a specific title, beyond the name of the two artists, because, in the words of Jacques Attali “in composition, to produce is first and foremost to accept the pleasure of producing differences.”
The artists’expanded understanding of the acoustic, as a reorganization of sensorial processes that can only relate to each other through their differences, and the intervals between, echoes the complexity of their aesthetic and political outlook.
The show will also establish a dialogue with Puerto Rican Light (Cueva Vientos), a long-term, site-specific Dia Art Foundation commission in Guayanilla-Peñuelas, Puerto Rico, dismantled only days before the opening of the present exhibition. This conversation proposes a meditation on the artwork, as a convergence of disparate planes of reference and relationships, and as an undertone that runs through the entire exhibition.
Similarly, the forces at play in Puerto Rico’s geopolitical reality, as ‘non-incorporated’ territory of the United States, will resonate deeply in the context of Barcelona’s present configuration of sovereignty. The Fundació Antoni Tàpies has published, in addition to the exhibition catalogue, a critical edited volume analyzing Puerto Rico’s exceptionality within the USA. A Modest Proposal: Puerto Rico’s Crucible is conceived as a public platform to address the critical status of this Caribbean community. By taking its cue from Jonathan Swift incisive and creative indictment of the abuses of colonialism, the book appeals to the creativity of the political imagination to tackle a myriad of urgent questions, ranging from the colonial legacy of inequality to fuel poverty, climate change, debt and austerity measures, to name just a very few.