Across the Sand

The Story of All of Us / La historia de todos nosotros (fotograma), 2019
The Story of All of Us / La historia de todos nosotros (fotograma), 2019
21.02 - 03.05.2020

Tuesday - Sunday, 10 am - 20 pm

Floor 1

During the nineteen eighties, the rise of social democracy embraced the idea of progress by importing foreign institutional models, in an effort to catch up after four decades of autarchism. This moment coincided with a specific cultural narrative: the consolidation of the role of the curator at what was the advent of a new museum institutionalism, the liberal impulse and the art market, and the gradual dismantlement of criticism. A new scenario that consolidated a system that was free of antagonisms and exhausted many of the counter-models which previously sought complicity in the public sphere.

A Través De La Arena (Across the Sand) is a project in various episodes that takes as its starting point two magazines focused on art and enquiry that come from two different geographies and ways of doing: Arena (1989) and Zehar [“across” in Basque] (1989-2011). Two publishing projects conceived with the desire to generate contexts as counterpoints to the consensus and the lack of memory that defined the following decade: a period characterised by a belonging to a “system of positive echoes” (as the editor of Zehar, Miren Eraso, would write), in a sociopolitical and cultural space with an “absolute majority syndrome” (as the editor of Arena, Mar Villaespesa, would point out after the victory of the Socialist party in 1982). 

However, far from setting out to confront these publications from a historicist point of view, this exhibition proposes a conversation with them that is multiple, polysemic and mutable. It invites us to breathe new life into the archive from a different perspective. An invitation that responds to a desire to generate and share a situated knowledge around a thorough and feminist editing, but also a lack of contour, community and context from all of those people who grew up during the years of what we might call a headlong rush.

Different titles taken from the magazines punctuate the exhibition route. The project, which got underway at Azkuna Zentroa in 2019 and then at Artium in 2020, responds to an invitation to reflect on the narrative dimension of curatorial practices and, secondly, to a desire to speculate about how those cultural structures imagined by women such as Villaespesa or Eraso were formed, deformed and transformed. In short, A Través De La Arena tries to ask what new issues we should address from contemporary art, publishing and exhibition making: What resonances are still here? What certainties prevail?

The different proposals presented, as well as the public programme alongside it, try to navigate the increasing paradoxes that, as they emerge with the crisis of modernity, define the contemporary condition and the spaces of mediation in their struggles for recognition. All of them share a desire to contrast narratives, to make visible the underlying frictions, and to propose mechanisms through which to celebrate dissent as a potential with which to continue to provide spaces in which to rehearse critical thinking.

Curated by:
Laura Vallés Vílchez

Victor Burgin, Tino Calabuig, June Crespo, Marlene Dumas, Pepe Espaliú, Jon Mikel Euba, María Luisa Fernández, Cristina Garrido, Victoria Gil, Eva Lootz, Luis López Carrasco, Mitsuo Miura, Rasmus Nilausen, Agustín Parejo School, Pedro G. Romero, Inmaculada Salinas. Diseño expositivo: Luca Frei / Diseño gráfico: Mónica Oliveira

See Across de Sand on Flickr