IMAGINING WRITING HISTORY
14 MAY – 6 SEP 2009
Curators Sergio Rubira and Mónica Portillo
Guided tours Sat 12.30 pm and Sun 6.30 pm
“It explores the dynamics, which presupposes movements in every direction, tensions, rhizomes of determinisms, proven anachronisms, unresolved contradictions.”
“They are not immobile images, but rather stills charged with movement that are taken from a film we do not have. They need to be returned to that film.”
he Imagining_Writing History exhibition is designed to complement and reinforce the issues that will be addressed during the international seminar. It also provides an opportunity to present a dialogue between a selection of works by the artists participating in the lectures, pieces from the CA2M Collection and historic works from the collection owned by the Regional Government of Madrid. Comprising a rich variety of visual and conceptual themes and resonances, the exhibition is articulated around the following issues: image in the formation of memory and history, as a space of presence and absence, as a field of thought; image as the place of family and domestic history, and its fortune as something that makes history, is placed in a museum; image as the origin of new, voiceless histories, as a review of official Histories; the historical document as a place of the imagination; the image re-organised: editing and the film structure as a vehicle for histories.
Imagining_Writing History invites us to explore image as a structure that is inseparable from the processes involved producing memory, history and identity. It proposes certain formal strategies of discontinuity and juxtaposition as a methodology for thinking about image. Operations such as the choice of a detail, a change of scale, reframing and the spatial proximity of heterogeneous but non-contemporary sources create a degree of estrangement that prevents automatic attributions and interpretations. They also reveal the trickery of image in the construction of histories, and suggest that all visual language is a shared and constantly evolving convention.
The image of history. That which remains and its absence
Imagining_Writing History evokes the museum space as a place with ongoing building remodelling, as an experience in time in which places, objects and people who have disappeared remain as representations. The exhibition addresses image as phantasmagoria, as a historical object that freezes a motif at the boundaries between a formal style and a technology. It presents the artist and art historian with new - contemporary - stories about aspirations and preoccupations that have died away, or that perhaps live on with a new voice, through other images.
Imagining_Writing History suggests that the visual documents of the past exist as places in ruins, which when exhibited reveal what they are missing, and which call for a speculative leap – a thought for image, imagination – to be interpreted. The historical avant-gardes regarded concealing image, or the more radical act of destroying it, as a genuine political act, because the destruction of images inevitably produces new and different representations of the world as a shared space, as an imagined community.
Voiceless histories. Other histories through image
Amid the ruins of modernity and its great exemplary stories, familiar images emerge as privileged places for shedding light on the past and voicing new histories that deviate from the official ones. When there are no points of reference or the images preserved represent a time best forgotten, the desire to tell history requires the re-examination and re-interpretation of the inherited representations and symbols, often to alter them and reveal the falsehood of the official history that aspires to be writ large and that goes hand in hand with the established power and the norm.
Representations of power that have survived for centuries are associated with other visual languages – non-western, popular culture – and used by contemporary artists in complex compositions that constitute political commentaries, transforming images of statement into images with an inherent question.
Historical places, places in the imagination
Landscapes, cities, monuments or insignificant backwaters have an enormous strength as the depositories of memories in which reality and fiction are constructed mutually. If films appropriate historic settings to invest them with imagined narratives, then the exhibition Imagining_Writing History focuses on the imperceptible discontinuities in conventional films; the photographic series evokes film stills and suggests movement, but sabotages the possibility of embracing a closed history, instead inviting the spectator to produce and imagine it himself.
An exhibition of histories within histories, of times within times,
Imagining_Writing History presents a collection of pieces that use historical documents, artworks and images from different pasts and contexts to re-organise these remains and demonstrate how the way in which these objects lend themselves to the spectator's gaze, as eloquence intertwined with silence, can open a space of thought that allows the spectator to construct the meaning, to actively participate in the production of histories.
Imagining_Writing History includes works by Bleda y Rosa; Svetlana Boym; Juan Dávila; Tacita Dean; Hans-Peter Feldmann; Dora García; Rogelio López Cuenca; Basilio Martín Patino; Antoni Miralda; Carlos Pazos; Pedro G. Romero; The Otolith Group; José, Luis, Raimundo and Ricardo de Madrazo; Santu Mofokeng; Fernando Sánchez Castillo; Amie Siegel; Francesc Torres and Aby Warburg.