CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo


Pedro Neves

An overview of the Region of Madrid's contemporary art collection at CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo from the optic of climate emergency


“In postmodernist art, nature is treated as wholly domesticated by culture; the 'natural' can be approached only through its cultural representation. While this does indeed suggest a shift from nature to culture, what it in fact demonstrates is the impossibility of accepting their opposition.”

Craig Owens

Museums are defined as spaces that hold up a mirror to society so that it can see itself; institutions charged with the task of representing people through their traditions and their past, with the purpose of helping them to shape the meaning of the present and, in consequence, a shared future. In recent years, contemporary museology has gradually introduced a number of socially-engaged narratives, adding new readings and views of public collections that focus on gender issues, on social class or the cultural effects of demographic migrations, themes once largely ignored by art but which now respond to a demand for collective representation and to the concerns of a constantly changing urban society.

The urgency of the climate crisis makes it imperative to bring on board, with all their complexity, the various perspectives of differing ecologies and critiques of the Anthropocene –the recent geological epoch of human impact, as the present period is known—as a crucial element that will enable the construction of a possible narrative for a public collection that responds to the need to understand how culture can be part of the social response to a global problem.

This task is even more pressing in a Contemporary Art Collection which focuses closely on the art practices of the present moment. As the critic and historian Craig Owens argued, the traditional opposition between culture and nature has been abolished over recent decades. One of the big challenges of today is precisely to harness the social potential of culture to preserve, to understand and to promote an exchange with nature.

No material production was involved in mounting this exhibition: all the works were transported from Móstoles to Teatros del Canal in their own individual crates and packaging, which were then used to exhibit them.

Organised: Consejería de Cultura y Turismo de la Comunidad de Madrid

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