Barcelona Gallery Weekend
L’Hospitalet del Llobregat
29.09 – 02.10.2016
With works by collector gallerists, by artists such as Ignasi Aballí, Alexander Calder, Jordi Colomer, Barba Corsini, Rodney Graham, Yves Klein, Robert Mapplethorpe, Muntean/Rosenblum, Jean Prouvé, Andrés Serrano, Julião Sarmento, Sean Scully o Andy Warhol.
And finally, when after sneaking from dresser to closet he had found piece by piece all he needed and had finished his dressing among the furniture that bore with him in silence, and was ready at least, he stood, hat in hand, feeling rather embarrassed that even at the last moment he could not find a word which would dispel that hostile silence; he then walked toward the door slowly, resignedly, hanging his head, while someone else, someone forever turning his back, walked at the same pace in the opposite direction into the depths of the mirror, through the row of empty rooms which did not exist.
Bruno Schulz, ‘Mr. Charles’
Entering people’s homes and peering at what they have on their walls is an occupational illness among people like me. Based on an initiative of Àlex Nogueras and Ana Mas, this exhibition is a small sample of the private collections of the gallerists taking part in Barcelona Gallery Weekend. A selection of the city’s galleries as eclectic as it’s possible to have under one roof. For that reason we have articulated the exhibition on the basis of the initial idea: to open the doors of the house. To see what artworks they live with and get them to share a space.
The selection of the works was made in accordance with their original location and with a special interest in those that have to do with the house in a broad sense – from de/construction to cohabitation and intimacy. Given the particularities of the space, with an architect friend we devised a floor plan taking the different parts of a hypothetical house, which we symbolically traced on the floor, marking out the itinerary around the exhibition.
From there, taking at least one work from each house to bring them all together in one has been like an architectural exercise in reverse: unmaking the various rooms to make only one, lowering the walls between them to make them coexist in a single space. Looking through the walls as someone might look through a keyhole and see Dogville, a homemade version of that metaphor of a small town that was Lars von Trier’s film. The result is a house made up of pieces, of appropriated corners. Hundreds of square metres concentrated in a miniature home, and also the opposite, a microcosm that overflows the intimate space and the people who inhabit it over a weekend.
Beyond the privilege and curiosity aroused by seeing what is normally closed off, this exhibition also and above all entails a new look at the figure of the gallerist. New because it shows the most private and intimate face of those who work face on in the gallery. And at the same time, a look at what is most common. Think about it: it’s like looking at the shoes a shoemaker wears.
That gallerists buy and sell art is a fact. But the fact that sometimes they buy art and keep it, just because, regardless of market values, often even for no reason, is something that sets them apart. And at the same time, as we said, something that brings them closer to all of us, to the collector each of us has inside. According to what criteria do we collect? What makes one person go for postcards and another for keychains? And why do we take these things home and keep them as if they were treasures? ‘I like round things, I don’t know why,’ a gallerist told me. ‘I saw it and I bought it … I don’t remember who the artist is but I like it,’ said another.
But it’s more than just a matter of taste, which we already know comes in many varieties. Sentimental value and the desire to possess are widely shared. The interesting thing here is to find out what gallerists live with every day, what they have around them before and after work. What is the first thing they see when they open their eyes, what do they look at when they are sitting at the table (other than the TV), and what greets them when they come home (other than a mirror). Beyond decorative qualities, it’s a matter of stopping to look at the artworks that stay in one place. The only ones – at least for a gallerist – that, being in sight, get dusty. The ones that are so internalized that they may at some point have stopped being seen.
And see them again. Because while the gallerists have been dispossessed of these works for a couple of days and suddenly surprised to see them in a new context, the exhibition stands as a timeless construction. A mise en scène that reveals the artificiality of the exhibition apparatus.
Indoor plants do not exist. They were invented by humans who wanted to live with nature. Art, on the other hand, was born and has grown in artificial light. From the caves to the museum, its domestication has undergone increasing refinement, while the movements of art have followed a series of currents that coexist today, with more or less familiarity, as interior isthmuses.