Action, Object and Audience focus 'Presencia activa', exhibition which opens October 5 at LABoral

Coproduced by LABoral and MARCO-Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Vigo, the show includes works by 12 international artists

Published: Aug 22, 2012
Action, Object and Audience focus 'Presencia activa', exhibition which opens October 5 at LABoral

Thom Kubli. Record Attempt, 2012. Photo: MARCO/Janite

Beating the world record of the longest guitar solo ever played, performing bodybuilding in a gymnasium-installation located in one of the exhibition rooms at LABoral, or "travelling" in an enormous revolving turbine shaped like a barrel -similar to a rodent running wheel- are some of the possibilities offered by the Presencia active [Active Presence] exhibition opening at the Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón this coming 5 October.

Coproduced by LABoral and MARCO-Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Vigo [Contemporary Art Museum in Vigo], Presencia activa shows -through its works by 12 international artists, including the Asturians Gema Ramos and Nerea Santisteban- the evolution of performance art over the fifty years of its existence and its relevance in contemporary art.

Performance and installation art as artistic disciplines are a mirror image of each other. In fact, both are based on the same principle of presence; that of active presence. In performance art, the presence of the artist; in installation, the spectator’s. In this matter, when reflected onto one another, installation and performance art develop in divergent directions that are opposed but also superimposed, creating an axis between two poles–the artist and the spectator– along which there are infinite possibilities of interaction. At one extreme, the spectator is turned into a participant, and at the other one, the physical presence of the artist can vanish into thin air.

The works included in Presencia activa are installations in which physical experience is the key element.  And this will be evident over the opening weekend (5 and 6 October) during which different performances will be held and documented with the resulting material subsequently becoming part of the show.

In this way, German artist Thom Kubli will try as part of his work Record Attempt to beat the world record set at 13 hours after its stay at Marco in Vigo. Afterwards, until 25 February 2013, the competition will be open to the public visiting LABoral to respond to the challenge during the duration of the show by appointment. All performances are supervised by a notary and  will be streamed online.

Danish Mads Lynnerup became fascinated with how typical gym equipment looks and operates as objects in fitness centres. This everyday life observation helped him with the research he was carrying out to try to break open the static nature of art objects displayed in galleries and museums.  The installation Plastic Gymnastic has resulted from his interest in creating objects that can be used for a full workout and which, at the same time, make it possible for visitors to use them in the actual exhibition space, in this way changing the habitual codes of conduct in an art centre.

John Bock, a German artist notable for combining the theatre of the absurd with installations and unlikely settings, creates in Vas-y! a “dwelling” in a barrel that looks like a cross between a spaceship and a hamster wheel. As such, the wheel rotates by someone walking in it which makes it impossible to stay inside. In this piece, as in others, Bock alludes to a hilarious existence: an irreconcilable quandary between setting, its function and human aptitude.

The works making up Presencia activa are situated along the performance-installation binomial. At one end you find more theatrical-like proposals in which the spectator has a passive role and at the other end, those in which the public gets totally involved. In the middle, you find the different possibilities of relations between the two, and the space and environment comprising the work. With the exception of the pieces by John Bock and La Ribot, the rest of the works are new productions specific to this project.

The exhibition at LABoral includes the Asturian artists Gema Ramos and Nerea Santiesteban Lorences. Focused on the current crisis situation and calling democratic systems into question, Gema Ramos aims to reflect on the powers of imagination to understand and participate from a conscious and unconscious state in this world. In Lo que estoy viviendo [What I am Experiencing] Ramos questions reality as a fallacy, getting people from outside the art world involved in order to explore the separation between the real and illusion of art and show how life may seem removed from culture or its manifestations and, yet,  it continues to be present in our interpretation of reality.  A reality detained here in a programmed present -a parenthesis in a moment of our lives.

The work by Nerea Santisteban Lorences uses an installation that blurs the boundaries between sculpture, painting and performance to reflect on the contamination and feedback between our body and what is foreign to it, showing how the nature of the landscape shapes the civil population, and conversely, how its communities give shape to the landscape. Lorences sees her work as a regenerating activity which transcends in real time the action performed in the exhibition space, articulating an ordinary and unique city that lives and breathes that forces us to think about problems that are artistic and sociological and also urban.

FACT SHEET

Dates: 05.10.2012-25.02.2013
Curators: Sergio Edelsztein, Director, Center for Contemporary Art, Tel-Aviv and Kathleen Forde, Chief Curator, EMPAC-Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Troy
Artists: Maja Bajevi, John Bock, Gary Hill, Thom Kubli, Mads Lynnerup, Alastair MacLennan, Sergio Prego, Gema Ramos, La Ribot, Carlos Rodríguez-Méndez, Nerea Santisteban Lorences and SUE-C+AGF
Coproduction: LABoral and MARCO-Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Vigo [Contemporary Art Museum in Vigo]
Space: Galería de exposiciones [Exhibition Gallery and Hall], Sala de Proyectos [Projects Room] and LABoral

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