Rafael Barber Cortell is in charge of CentroCentro’s second annual curatorial project, Absolute Beginners, in which he has invited six artists to put on three exhibitions, working in pairs: Tai Shani and Florence Peake; Beatriz Olavarrieta and Patricia Domínguez; and Ludovica Carbotta and Diego Delas.
“With Absolute Beginners I would like to ask you to participate in a way of doing things that I have activated, inspired by all the moments in which fiction has been used to explain the origin of the world, inventing a narration that can be told and communicated; a starting point from which to move forward and create a possible us. During the course of this year, we will have time to build stories, worlds that will be developed in collaboration with a group of artists whose works have a way of narrating that understands time as matter rather than as a space in which to move; a group of artists who will use fiction to endow objects and space with the ability to create narratives that shape the world. I think that their ways of telling are relevant when it comes to living with the change of paradigm we are going through. A moment of constant uncertainty in which the narration of events we use to trust evaporates. A time that is constantly rewriting its present blurring itself into, for instance, that Instagram story that you will post when leaving the exhibition. A change in the way of communicating that deserves a different kind of narration, from some other place, with another starting point.
If I allow myself to address you in this familiar way, it’s because of this desire to try to start without further ado. That is why I speak directly to you, and not to someone else, from this place that was dreamt up a hundred years ago as a communications palace. That’s why we’re here thinking about how to do worlding with all the emotion and fear you feel when you do something for the first time. Therefore I invite you to come in, and to let this reality ferment in your memory without creating any future with it, so that, when you return, you may find something different.
An entire year is stretching out ahead of us, a year in which the fifth floor of CentroCentro will be presenting three exhibitions, starting with Tai Shani (London, 1976) and Florence Peake (London); followed by Patricia Domínguez (Santiago, Chile, 1984) and Beatriz Olavarrieta (Bilbao, 1979) and ending with Ludovica Carbotta (Turin, 1982) and Diego Delas (Aranda de Duero, 1983). Each exhibition will be understood as a genesis, as an encounter that activates life by generating a power that can start up the world. At the same time, there is also a one-year long programme of events by Marc Vives (Barcelona, 1979) that will work as an extra layer, which will grow in parallel to the exhibition, as a narrative that will play with the materiality of its time and will work as a non-printed publication, as a testimony in the continuous present tense located within CentroCentro. Shall we begin?”. Rafael Barber Cortell
A curator and independent writer based in London, thanks to a grant from the Botín Foundation, Rafael Barber (Valencia, 1985) holds a Master’s degree in Exhibition Curation from the Royal College of Art, London. He has worked as Associate Editor for Editorial Concreta, as well as on the Afterall editorial platform in London. His texts and interviews have been published in A*Desk, Editorial Concreta, This is Tomorrow, Art Viewer and in Frieze. Between 2010 and 2013, as Assistant Curator, he collaborated with institutions such as the Reina Sofia Museum (MNCARS), MACBA, the Antoni Tàpies Foundation, and the Serralves Foundation. Projects that he has recently curated include: As Long as Summer Lasts, The Ryder (London, 2018); Regreso al Futuro, La Casa Encendida (Madrid 2018); Los algoritmos suaves, Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporania (Valencia 2018); To Locate Outside the Sign, SCAN Project Room (London 2018); Sorry You Missed Me, Royal College of Art (London, 2016); Interstitial Zone, The Showroom (London, 2015).