The Exhibition

video document of the opening night made by Antonio Tomás Perales

¨The exhibition begins in the foyer with a series of portraits of the artists, framed and mounted above a sofa, as if in a family home. These intimate portraits – created by Ximena & Sergio – introduce us to the six artists in their workspaces.

The Foyer. Photo by Almudena Ávalos

There is a large display cabinet that showcases the publication created by Caniche Editorial, and the doorway that leads to the main gallery space is covered in a collage of arrows, taken from a large-scale drawing made by the group during their first session with Cai. The arrow motif is repeated around the foyer area.

the foyer - photo by Almudena Ávalos

We wanted the exhibition to be representative of the whole process of the project, rather than just a place to show the main films, so we designed the space with the main screen in the centre and six designated areas for representing the process of working with each artist.

The main screen was constructed from a lightweight, translucent fabric that moves slightly in the breeze from the air conditioning, giving extra life to the films. The gauzy material also enables the rest of the space to be seen through the image, bringing all elements of the installation together, including other audience members.

Luisma’s work was based on and around a white plinth, the top surface of which was covered in a map of Llandudno – Cai’s home town. Resting on this map was a piece of wood that Cai had brought from Llandudno to Madrid, scarred with the gouge marks of Luisma’s process. Embedded in the plinth was a small screen displaying an interview with Luisma’s parents, where they talk about his obsession with water. The soundtrack is available on headphones, encouraging the viewer to sit or crouch down on the floor and bring themselves closer to the work. This intimate relationship between viewer and film reflects the nature of the interview, where Luisma’s parents are very open about life with their son, metaphorically inviting the viewer behind the closed doors of the family home.

Andrés spent a couple of days drawing a map of Madrid onto the end wall of the gallery space. He works from memory, letting his pen wander over the wall as the urban sprawl grows from a central point of here and now. We projected a short video loop onto part of this map, footage filmed by Andrés himself as he manipulated small toys around a paper map, emphasising the contrast in scale between the huge drawing and the world at his fingertips.

Belén’s work occupies a corner of the room. We displayed the keyboard stand that she constructed out of a trolley adorned with a fascinating array of memorabilia – including; lottery tickets, calendars, photographs, dolls, electronics, bottles and playing cards. From the depths of this object emerges an umbilical cord that snakes across the floor to a CRT TV. Both have been decorated by Belén. The TV shows a selection of moments from the project – preparation and mini-performances – that show her before donning her disguise.

Alberto’s work involves meditation and dressing up, so we constructed a meditation room out of some of his clothing. It is a simple, tent-like structure where visitors can enter and spend a little time on their own. The clothing diffuses the light nicely and invites the audience in for some quiet time.

During the sessions when Cai would work with Itziar, he would offer her a large stack of postcards and she would choose some images to work with. They were always very feminine images, many were of women with long hair, and this inspired their exploration of costume that emphasises the long, flowing locks. A selection of postcards is spread out on a small desk as if being studied. A long piece of crumpled brown paper emerges from overhead and flows down to the floor under the desk like a frozen waterfall, forming the screen for a short film of Itziar and Cai working together in the studio and in the sunshine.

We get to see Mario’s wonderful constructions close up. Garnet’s amazing wire afro is suspended at head height, slowly rotating and casting a beautiful shadow. Her power gloves sit on a small shelf, picked out in a soft light. Its not often that you get the chance to look at the details of a superhero’s costume, and Mario’s outfit is simultaneously larger-than-life and embellished with intricate details.

All of the films are looping at different times, which creates an ever-changing landscape with the relationships between different parts of the exhibition constantly evolving. The main screen shows the films with extended pauses between them, encouraging quiet exploration of the other works on display. The whole space is designed to have a quiet, intimate and somewhat other-worldly feeling, like a separate but comfortable alternate reality.¨

John Collingswood

Itziar dances with herself on screen. Photograph by María José Manzaneque


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