A L I E N T O

Céline Condorelli, June Crespo

Barcelona
Jan 23 - Mar 12, 2021

Curated by Anna Manubens.

 

 

→ A L I E N T O #1

→ A L I E N T O #2

“At some crisis times like this one” writes Lauren Berlant, “politics is defined by a collectively held sense that a glitch has appeared in the reproduction of life. A glitch is an interruption within a transition, a troubled transmission. A glitch is also the revelation of an infrastructural failure.” [1] Recent events have exposed weak structures and in facing their flimsy nature, it is becoming urgent to summon a form of infrastructural imagination that would be applied to the repair or rethinking of what holds and regulates our forms of life in common.

The dialogue between Céline Condorelli and June Crespo is an attempt to call for the type of imagination that brings infrastructure to the fore. Their work functions as a poetics, an aesthetic and a politics of support. What is to be seen is what sustains, that which holds together, the conditions that make a relationship possible, either in a literal sense – a material confluence – or in an affective or conceptual sense.

Céline Condorelli’s work includes an ongoing and careful inquiry on the notion of support in a broad sense. Perhaps the most paradigmatic example would be her long-term project Support Structures (2003-2009). But her attention to forms of support has also led her to design exhibition structures for third parties, to review projects of participatory architecture or to think of friendship in terms of support. The Company she Keeps, a book edited by the artist that is part of the exhibition, brings together a series of conversations around friendship whilst being an expression of friendship. For Condorelli the latter is not only a form of relationship but also something that drives her work at an  infrastructural level: “Friendship is perhaps a condition of work in my practice—even though it may never be the actual subject of the work, however close it is to a long term object of my practice, support—but a formative, operational condition that works on multiple, simultaneous levels.” Friendship is a methodological preference; a mode of thinking and engaging. It is a relationship that lasts over time with friends of course, but also with objects, thoughts and references that one befriends and keeps in close dialogue. The title of the book is taken from Hannah Arendt ‘s description of culture which quite accurately corresponds to how the artist understands friendship; “the company that one chooses to keep, in the present as well as in the past”.  [2]

The sculpture presented at NoguerasBlanchard, Structure for Communicating with the Wind belongs to the series titled Additionals that brings together objects made from prop-making techniques. Each of the objects has a pseudo-functionality; communicating, listening, preparing, reading, and public speaking. They were conceived to enable different relationships between the characters that appear in The Tiger’s Mind, a score by experimental Bristish composer Cornelius Cardew. The sculpture in display is conceived so as to enable to communication between Tiger and Wind, two of Cardew’s characters. The movement of the curtain recalls the sound of trees in the wind and in the same gesture makes the tinest air circulation visible. The sculpture becomes an interface that both creates and makes visible the conditions for a conversation.

The couple of sculptures presented by June Crespo arise at the intersection between two previous projects. In 2019, in Mexico she worked on the space generated by seismic movements between buildings. The resulting sculpture showed the positive space between the walls. The title, Espacio de ti a mi [Space from me to you], forces an overlap between architectural space and affective and bodily space. Also in 2019, for an exhibition curated by David Bestué in Plaza de Can Colom, very close to Nogueras Blanchard, the artist made horizontal concrete blocks with concave hollows conceived to surround a lying body. Drawing on features from both projects, the sculptures presented in the framework of A L I E N T O are the trace left by a an encounter and at the same time that which made it possible or will make it possible. It is the testimony of a past convergence, or the space to encourage an upcoming one. In any case, the concrete is what holds the volumes. Insisting on this idea, the title of the pieces, Core, refers to the trunk, the part of the body that supports the rest.

June Crespo speaks of her moulds as something that begins as a record but is later modified in an operation she calls “editing”: “I started making moulds of the spaces where I lived or worked (…). Later, I started editing them, adding flowers, mud … deforming them ”. Perhaps the common denominator between both artists is this edition of encounters: their intervention in infrastructural conditions that can prompt or protect interactions. In two highly contrasted versions, the one light and flexible; the other rugged and immovable, both are shifting the connotations of materials that are usually used to compartmentalize and isolate. Here, on the contrary, they lead to forms of encounter and relationship. Materials that tend to be associated with segregation and emergency here stand for a structural and sensual perception of coming together.ç

 

[1] Berlant, Lauren ‘The commons: Infrastructures for troubling times’. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Nº34. (2016)

[2] Hannah Arendt, “The Crisis in Culture: Its Social and Its Political Significance”, Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought, Faber and Faber, london, 1961, p. 226.

 

With many thanks to Vera Cortês (Lisbon) and CarrerasMugica (Bilbao).

 

About A L I E N T O [3]

There are exhibitions that sweat, leak or condense what happens around them. They stem from the opposite of what Ursula K. Le Guin would describe as “working the way a cow grazes”[4]; without any yearn or urge. A L I E N T O is a series that opens with Beatrice Gibson’s voice saying: “I can still feel my body except it’s like the skin has gone. It’s all nerve. Edgeless. Pulsating. There’s intense breathlessness.” It is fairly accurate and sensory image of an adrenaline rush, a hormone that sharpens the senses and tightens the muscles in order to make a reaction possible in extremis.

The development of this exhibitions series overlapped with the global state of emergency and its opening coincides with a month of September that should feel like a return but which, far from looking familiar, is made of pure uncertainty and improvisation. Habit has emptied itself from its recognisable features. Something glitches in this disquieting and slowed down normal. The programme is grounded in the discontinuity; in the break that opened with the state of alert and in the adrenaline that ran through the physical, social and political body/ies. A L I E N T O dwelled and now hosts the urgency to devise a plan for a viable future, in extremis.

The exhibitions are made of strategies for coping, modes to move forward, words to hold on to; forms of imagination and action that help the way out from shock and allow us to catch our breath so as to start thinking about what is to be done. It feels like opening space between the letters of a word. Like lowering the rhythm and surrounding oneself with images, voices and presences that enable an exercise of imagination towards the future. The intention is to wrestle with problems rather than proclaiming solutions. Solutions have a universal vocation that makes them grandiloquent and even oppressive. By contrast, this series is inevitably situated when presenting what is seen as encouraging or inspiring and finds in these adjectives[5] a middle point between innocent trust in the future and a cynical giving up.

The four exhibitions that compose the cycle share first of all the need to think about support structures. There is in them an impulse to summon voices and companions –literal, material or metaphoric– to move on.

Another transversal element in the series is poetry. In the current context of semiocapitalism, in which the accumulation of value and adhesion depend on signs, words and storytelling, poetic writing and thought (applied to language, image or sculpture) emerge as capable of stretching imagination through worlds that speak otherwise or images that think other ways. Poetry is also a space for the analysis and exorcism of the semiotic and somatic load embedded in words, images or materials. The responsibility of handling words is part of the conversations that surround the exhibitions and in this sense it worth noting that there are racial implications associated with breathing that cannot be ignored, and which cannot be diluted in the possibility of thinking about a generalized shortness of breath. I don’t mention this to do something on it –coopting the voices of others–; nor in spite of it – saying it as a means to ignore it de facto -; but with it. That is observing and remaining in the discomfort of the whiteness of my voice and in the awareness of its anchorage in a language in which the connotations of “aliento” are not the same as in its not-so-accurate translation into the English word “breath”.

Finally, A L I E N T O looks at the claim for a viable future from the eyes of the mothering subject. The need of horizon that an incipient live demands makes the urgency to devise futures all the more pressing. The series is also an attempt to take on the creative and intellectual blush related to maternity, which does not enjoy artistic or discursive sex-appeal, which seems a cluster that can only interest those involved in it and which seems almost like what Bourdieu would call a “fault of taste” according to the distinguished cultural patriarchy.

A L I E N T O reclaims what Maggie Nelson ponders as an inherent queer trait of pregnancy “insofar as it profoundly alters one’s “normal” state, and occasions a radical intimacy with—and radical alienation from—one’s body. How can an experience so profoundly strange and wild and transformative also symbolize or enact the ultimate conformity?”

The artworks that compose A L I E N T O relate to each other poetically rather than analytically and together function like a survival kin, in the Harawayean sense –urging to “make kin”. The artists were brought together as a chosen tribe to face dystopia.

Anna Manubens (Curator of the series)

[3] The Spanish word “aliento” translates into “breath” and more importantly here, it is also the root for the adjective “alentador” which translates into “encouraging” but literally means “that which gives breath/air”. Maybe a translation that would be more attuned to the Spanish original in that context would be “inspiring”. Half way between trustful naivety and cynical despair, this series of exhibitions finds in “alentador” the tone from which it speaks. Wrestling with problems rather than intending to solve them.

[4] Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Fisherwoman’s Daughter”; Moyra Davey (ed.), The Motherhood Reader (Seven Stories Press, Nueva York, 2001)

[5] “encouraging and “inspiring” are standing for the Spanish word “alentador” (See footnote 1)

 

CÉLINE CONDORELLI (CH, IT, UK) lives and works in London and Lisbon. Condorelli combines a number of approaches from developing structures for ‘supporting’ (the work of others, forms of political imaginary, existing and fictional realities) to broader enquiries into forms of commonality and discursive sites.

Recent exhibitions include Deux ans de vacances, FRAC Lorraine, France (2020), Céline Condorelli, Kunsthaus Pasquart, Switzerland, Equipment, Significant Other, Austria, Host/Vœrt, Kunsthal Aarhus,Denmark, Ausstellungsliege, Albertinum, Germany (2019), Zanzibar, permanent installation for the Kings Cross Project, United Kingdom, and exhibition at Vera Cortes, Portugal (2018), Proposals for a Qualitative Society (spinning), Stroom Den Haag, Netherlands, Corps à Corps, IMA Brisbane, Australia, including a sculpture garden which won Australian Institute of Architects Art and Architecture Prize (2017), Gwangju Biennial, Liverpool Biennial, Sydney Biennial, and Concrete Distractions, Kunsthalle Lissabon, Portugal (2016), bau bau, HangarBicocca, Italy (2015), Céline Condorelli, Chisenhale Gallery, United Kingdom, Positions, Van Abbemuseum, Netherlands, with Bookworks (2014).

Condorelli is one of the founding directors of Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK; she is the author and editor of Support Structures published by Sternberg Press (2009), and her first monograph, bau bau is published by Mousse (2017).

JUNE CRESPO (Pamplona, ES, 1982) has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country in 2005 and participated in the De Ateliers residency program (Amsterdam 2015-2017). Her individual exhibitions include: Helmets (2020) in Artium, Vitoria-Gasteiz; Voy, sí (2020) Heinrich Ehrhardt gallery, Madrid; No Osso (2019) at Uma Certa Lack of Coêrencia, Oporto; Ser dos (2017) and Cosa y Tú (2015) at CarrerasMugica gallery, Bilbao; Chance Album nº1 etHALL gallery (Barcelona 2016) and Kanala en MARCO (Vigo 2016). She has participated in group exhibitions such as: En caída libre, CaixaForum (Barcelona 2019); Una Dimensión Ulterior in the Patio Herreriano Museum, (Valladolid 2019); La Plaça (Hospitalet de Llobregat 2019); Parentescos at the Nordenhake Gallery, (Mexico City 2019); ahorgarse en un mar de datos, Casa Encendida (Madrid 2019); internal view, Stereo gallery (Warsaw 2018); foreign bodies in the gallery P420 (Bologna 2018); escucho tus pasos venir Heinrich Ehrhardt gallery (Madrid 2018); Generación2017 at La Casa Encendida (Madrid 2017); fluxesfeverfuturesfiction in Azkuna zentroa (Bilbao 2016); Wild Things at The Green Parrot (Barcelona 2014); Hitting it off in P-exclamation (New York, 2014); Pop Politics at CA2M (Madrid 2012); Antes que todo at CA2M (Madrid, 2010).

 

ANNA MANUBENS (1984) is an independent curator and producer with a preference for hybrid roles at the intersection between writing, research, programming, project development, institutional analysis, and exhibitions. She was Head of Public Programs at the CAPC musée d’art contemporain in Bordeaux until 2017 and previously combined her independent activity with teaching at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra with regular work at the artist-run organisation Auguste Orts (Brussels). Her recent exhibitions include Wendelien van Oldenborgh. tono legua boca (CA2M, Madrid, 2019), ), entre, hacia, hasta, para, por, según, sin (EACC, Castellón, 2019); Visceral Blue (La Capella; Barcelona, 2016); Hacer cuerpo con la máquina: Joachim Koester, (Blue Project Foundation, Barcelona, ​​2016); and Contornos de lo Audiovisual (with Soledad Guitiérrez, Tabakalera, San Sebastián, 2015).

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Instalation views

A L I E N T O

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Selected works

June Crespo
CORE I

2020
Reinforced concrete, pigments, flowers, webbing
34 × 168 × 35 cm (13 38 × 66 18 × 13 2532 inches)

June Crespo
CORE II

2020
Reinforced concrete, pigments, flowers
168 × 34 × 35 cm (66 18 × 13 38 × 13 2532 inches)

Céline Condorelli
Sculpture for comunicating with the Wind

2012
Metallicised space blanket, curtain tape
400 × 6000 cm (157 1532 × 2362 316 inches)

Céline Condorelli
Superfluous Object

2020
Two colour silkscreen on Nubuck Brown paper
61 × 44 cm (24 132 × 17 516 inches)

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