Project Room

Video programme


Southern Stars: Contemporary Video Art from the Iberian Peninsula

Commissaire : Carolina Grau

As part of the Iberian Peninsula focus, the Project Room provides a forum for video art produced in Portugal and Spain by artists from different generations who will show us the changes which occurred culturally, politically and historically, transforming our society. The videos selected have been produced in the last eight years, some of them are shown for the first time in France.

We look at the past history of Spain with the video of Patricia Esquivias (1979) 111-119 Generalísimo / Castellana (2016) which revolves around a series of tenuous coincidences surrounding a specific apartment block that dates from the late 1950s. The building has decorative tiles on its facade and balconies, featuring a different pattern for each apartment. Each mural depicted a different European city in order “to help spread the mood that Spain was a more open and international country” during the repressive regime. Through performative and processual narration she investigates the circumstances of the buildings’ architect, his relationship to the muralists, and the mythologies that have been handed down from generation to generation.

Spain’s economic crisis began to unravel into political unrest in 2012 as economical cuts were implemented and new cases of corruption kept coming out.In the middle of August the artists Jorge Galindo (1965) and Santiago Sierra (1967) organized an unauthorized parade along the main avenue of the city centre with seven black Mercedes-Benz like in a funeral procession. On top of the car’s roofs were placed the big portraits of the Spanish King and the six prime ministers in the recent Spanish democracy. The black and white video, Los Encargardos (The ones in charge), combines the captured images of the action with the audio of the populist Polish song Warszawianka - a signature anthem of the anarcho-unionists in Spain. The video points to responsibility of the ones in charge of the worrying situation as the economic problems continue in Spain.

During the last summer seasons temperatures have been raising due to climate change. Portugal has been devoured by multiple fires with the loss of wild forests, homes and even human lives. The Portuguese artist Nuno Cera (1972) visited one of the main areas burnt in the district of Viseu north of Portugal . The video V (2018) is a visual exploration of the natural landscape that seeks to enhance its forms and its symbolic, poetic and allegorical elements. The video reveals spaces of memory and conflict, places of mystery and tension, in search of the elements of a natural order.

The concept of masculinity in the Spanish society has been the issue researched by the artist Núria Güell (1981) who met with prostitutes in different geographical areas of Spain. The result is presented in the video De Putas. Un Ensayo Sobre la Masculinidad / Off Whoring. An Essay on Masculinity (2018) a compilation of the different interviews done. Her goal was that these women explained, through their experience and knowledge, their idea about masculinity.

Reflecting on the constant displacement, the Portuguese artist Rui Calçada Bastos (1971) has returned to his hometown, Lisbon. While having arrived, he cannot escape the very impulse, making a virtue out of homelessness. The video Spectateur Éternel (2016) take us on a journey in the confines of his room. We never see the wandering inhabitant, but the lens of the camera shows us the sensations of the room, the armchair, the play of reflections of the moving sun on the walls and only occasionally venturing to the window, contemplating the fleeting shadows cast by passing airplanes.

Looking into a possible future of the art world is the theme developed in Boothworks (2017) by the Spanish artist Cristina Garrido (1986), the video describes an international art form consolidating around the 2010´s. This new art form took the gallery booth as an artistic medium and the art fair as its exhibition space. Booth art, as she called it, was nomadic, portable, `anti-gallery´, ephemeral, performative, site-specific and attempted to resist commodification… However, the narrator problematizes this challenging art form questioning its relationship to capitalism, its social impact, the shift of focus from the art object to its context.

The absurdity and chaos of society is explored by two videos. The first video is Not I (2018) which takes its title, and starting point, a 1972 theatrical (and filmic) play by Samuel Beckett. The title comes from the insistent repetition of the female voice: "Everything I'm saying didn't happen to me". Lúa Coderch (1982) recorded in close up a woman mouth reciting a fragmented monologue made up syncopated phrases about an individual, dealing with issues related to the idea of speech. A sequence of contemporary parables are incessantly described and melt into each other. The second video belongs to Francisco Queirós (1972), a collage of found images and animation sketches building a visual universe which is characterized by its strangeness and singularity. Cosmic Death (2015) plays with the construction of narrative related to the children’s world of fantasy but subverted by perverse actions borrowed from the world of adults.

Grand Palais, Promenoir Nord
Continuous screenings for the duration of the fair.

With the support of :

Jorge Galindo & Santiago Sierra, Los Encargados (The Ones in Charge), Gran Vía, Madrid, Spain, August of 2012, single channel video, 5'55', Courtesy Jorge Galindo & Santiago Sierra
  • Jorge Galindo & Santiago Sierra, Los Encargados (The Ones in Charge), Gran Vía, Madrid, Spain, August of 2012, single channel video, 5'55', Courtesy Jorge Galindo & Santiago Sierra

Presented artists and videos:

Rui Calçada Bastos
Spectateur éternel, 2016
Single channel HD video, black and white, sound 16:9
5' 50"
Courtesy of the artist, Bruno Múrias Gallery and Irene Laub Gallery
Editing by Sandro Aguilar

Nuno Cera
V, 2018
Single channel HD video, black and white, sound, 16:9
8' 51"
Courtesy of the artist and Miguel Nabinho Gallery, Lisbon

Lúa Coderch
Not I, 2018
Single channel HD video, colour, sound
Courtesy of the artist and Àngels Barcelona Gallery

Patricia Esquivias
111-119 Generalísimo/Castellana, 2016
Single channel HD video, colour, sound
10' 14"
Edition of 5
Courtesy of the artist

Jorge Galindo & Santiago Sierra
Los encargados, (The ones in charge) Gran Vía, Madrid, August 2012, 2012
Single channel HD video
5' 55"
Courtesy of the artists

Cristina Garrido
Boothworks, 2017
Single channel HD video, black and white, sound, 16:9
13' 27"
Edition 5/5
Courtesy of the artist and The Goma gallery

Núria Güell
De Putas. Un Ensayo Sobre la Masculinidad Off Whoring.
An Essay on Masculinity

Single channel HD video, colour, sound
57' 56"
Edition of 5
Courtesy of the artist and ADN Gallery

Francisco Queirós
Cosmic Death
Single channel HD video, colour, sound
20' 42'"
Edition of 3
Courtesy of the artist

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