Art is a privileged means of resistance against the present

From 22 June, LAB presents the work by Karlos Gil “The Moon Museum”. We analyse its multiple readings and we delve into the construction of his message.

Published: Jun 24, 2013
Art is a privileged means of resistance against the present

Unmaking The World

By Laura Cano (@Via_di_uscita), La Caja Revuelta


“In addition to the pleasure of the eye, the succession and apparent contradiction of schools of art has made us conscious of a passionate quest, a recreation of the universe in the face of Creation. After all, the museum is one of the places that give us the highest idea of man.”                                                                                   
André Malraux, The Imaginary Museum



In 1947, André Malraux, French writer, proposed a different notion of the museum. In this imaginary museum there is no such thing as space or time. It is transportable (like a photo album) and a place where ancient works can be mixed with those of emerging artists, everything treated subjectively through the tastes and preferences of the creator.


The imaginary museum, unknowingly or perhaps without having Malraux in mind, reached its ultimate expression in 1969 when the artist Forrest Myers, in collaboration with Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) and also with the artists John Chamberlain, David Novros, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol, created a small ceramic chip on which they pre-produced six diagrams made expressly by each artist for the space mission Apollo 12 to leave a replica on the moon’s surface, and by doing so create the first museum on the moon. The first artistic and extraplanetary time capsule.


This fantastic story - fantastic in more than one sense since it is impossible to corroborate the truth of this - has served as a point of departure for the work by Karlos Gil,The Moon Museum”, which is on show at LABoral from 22 June until 22 September 2013.


The Moon Museum” was the winning project of the “DKV Seguros-Álvarez Margaride” grant. With this Karlos had the opportunity to complete this project in Plataforma 0 at LABoral during his two-month stay. Once again, thanks to DKV and LABoral, young artists are given the opportunity to produce their projects, being provided with the materials and necessary technology, and the chance to show their work for the first time in the art centre.



Karlos Gil, who was born in Toledo in 1984, already has an impressive career behind him. He studied at the School of Visuals Arts in New York and in the faculties of Fine Arts of Madrid and Lisbon. His work has been shown in galleries and art centres such as CA2M, Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (Móstoles), La Casa Encendida and Matadero (Madrid), CCCB (Barcelona), MMOMA, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Moscow), HKW (Berlin) and Centre Pompidou (Paris).




Karlos conceives his work as a great puzzle in which fragments of existing stories, embedded in culture and the collective imagination have to be put together by the spectator. This gives rise to new readings, reflections, paving the way to reconsider or deconstruct art or the museum, even the time concept, as knowledge generators, and making it possible for the spectator to create new stories on the basis of the preceding ones where subjectivity encourages creation, as was the case for the Imaginary Museum. In the words of Karlos himself:


I approach art creation through the selection and reinsertion of numerous past references in a rhizomatic configuration of “now”, expanding the temporal notion of the present to the point of vanquishing and eradicating any historical conception of temporality”.



The Moon Museum” is made up of different formats and materials: neons, audio locutions, sculptures, televised images, ceramic chip reproductions, etc. All of this has been drawn together in six landmarks that lead us to wander around the exhibition room, elaborating our own story on what was and what today the Moon Museum can mean for us, redesigning messages, weaving valid relationships for our reality. These six pieces are:


-Untitled (Haunt It, Haunt It again), audio recording (selected phrases):


Look at this image, it is an image of the future, a hypothesis.

A self-conscious image”.

“It is an artificial museum, an alternative museum”.


1969: between wars and cultural revolts, the world stops to admire how human beings walk on the moon”.


Every selection process encapsulates a form of desire”.


A museum is a means of capturing social interests. Multiple relations, and at times contradictory, that connect with the spectator”.


Art is a privileged means of resistance against the present


- Unmaking the World, video: reflection on the relationship between perception and experience. Between materiality and immateriality, taking as a direct reference the book by Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind.


- Output Functions, through fragments of 3D-printed organic mechanisms designed from open code models, the work presented here gives material solutions to immaterial needs.


- Redundancy (Figuring Future Figures), fragments of advertising neon signs that were taken out of their original context suggesting a new reading.


- Pattern Recognition is a series of three sculptures which takes its title from the cyber-punk novel by William Gibson. They present a formal analogy with Forrest Myers’ contribution, establishing a visual play inherited from the formal Minimalism of the 1960s. The structures may be downloaded from the LABoral website, allowing anyone to make infinite variations of them.


- Moon Dance alludes to the different routes through which the story ends up becoming a message.  The monitors show the “bumpers” and “intros” of the many TV channels from the 1960s and 70s which broadcasted news about the Apollo 12 mission in West and East Germany. This aims to underscore the importance of the corporate decisions taken at the height of the Cold War in relation to TV logos and the hidden messages they contained.



The Moon Museum” is, therefore, a work with significant theoretical weight, full of references and literary, historical and technological allusions that invite us to play and to discover. It is a large puzzle with no answers given in advance. The spectator is turned into the constructor of the message while following the clues, as if at a gymkana in the exhibition space.


It is a definitive new twist on the concept of a museum outside a museum. The museum that travelled to the moon and returned to be placed in the premises at LABoral. The museum within a museum.

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