Paper playing a part
21 de abril, 2017- 21 de abril 2042. LACA Los Angeles Contemporary Archive & 56x45x25
We have based a project with Enric on Los Papeles del Siglo, just when they no longer exist as a subject (except for some still hidden, such as that of the Antoni Tàpies Library). We plan to do an exhibition in Los Angeles, filled with ideas and enthusiasm. We spent several meetings working on this.
The first was held at the Bar de los Pericos -as Enric calls it. There we began the planning, over a stew and some red wine. We had two ideas, to make an exhibition for dogs, but really for dogs, only to be detected by them; or, the reconstruction of the facts, that is, to use a simple example, the paper used for a tortilla recipe is exhibited by the tortilla itself, putting us in the middle of a circular story which is both fully simulated and false.
At the second meeting, we began to see for the first time the materialization of the roles, when we find the paper. An envelope marked with another paper that it once contained and which the light has perpetrated, or an envelope which is brown, but when opened, does not contain anything. At the third meeting, completely skipping the precepts which gave rise to 56x45x25, Enric will start looking for tickets to Los Angeles on his mobile. A trip to inaugurate nothing, but which nevertheless also involves the transfer, through Enric himself, of the strength, encouragement and energy of the place where the project began; a direct mediation, except for the translation, which is that of the artist with his interlocutors in informal and experiential encounters.
Exhibiting nothing is nothing new in contemporary art. Keith Arnatt wondered in 1970, Is Possible For Me To Do Nothing As My Contribution To The Exhibition?, a question that would end up being a work, which, paradoxically, is currently part of the Arts Council Collection. Previously, Lucy R. Lippard had an exhibition in 1969 where emptiness and works were confused. Or Robert Barry, in this conceptual framework, The Marcuse Piece: Some places to which we can come, and for a while “be free to think about what we are going to do” in 1970. However, the goal here isn’t so much to overcome the limits imposed by the context and artistic definitions; or a political vindication that tries to deny the commodification of the object; but while for the minimalists that market is appropriated from the work and partly made by seeing the failure of a project – that is not the case here.
In 2009, the Pompidou Center showed us the exhibition Vides (Vacios), a tour of completely empty rooms, where they tried to collect projects that have shown us nothing. In the sample we found from Yves Klein’s Zone de Sensibilité Picturale Immatérielle from 1958, a gap which in this case was demonstrated through its sale. The Air Conditioning Show by Art and Language, where the construction device comes from the air and the change in temperature. The emptying of the institution by Stanley Braun; Robert Irwin and his exhibition held at the ACE Gallery in 1969; Maria Nordman during her exhibition in Krefeld in 1984; or Bethan Huws and her work Haus Esters Piece; all show us gaps that try to make us aware of the qualities which the exhibition normally inhabits. Laurie Parsons in 1990 at the Lorence Monk gallery or Maria Eichhorn in 2001 at the Kunsthalle Bern, use the void as an act of vindication of the conditions of the constant demand for production which the work of an artist is subjected. And Roman Ondak finished with More Silent than Ever (2006), in an attempt to make us aware that there is always something more than what we are allowed to see.
In 2012, the Hayward Gallery also presented Invisible. Art about the Unseen 1957-2012, however, the exhibition is not a tour through a lot of soulless rooms, as in the case of Vides, where the poster shows us where we are and what we should refer to, which is a significant difference from our project. Vides categorized us as a type of spectator: a) one who, without recognizing what the poster is indicating, found himself in a disappointing experience capable of plunging him into the consciousness of an ignorance that seems like a difficult slab to move; b) one who reaffirms his knowledge and exalts himself in egotistical rejoicing.
All the viewers of Realizar un papel are unaware of Enric Farrés Duran and his project Los papeles del siglo, they do not have a situated perception of what we are showing them, and worse still, we know nothing of them either. But we also have a poster. A technical description that tries to orient the stimuli found in a room that has little to do with a white cube, and that reveals the bluff.
Paper playing a part is an immaterial device that produces a fun experience. As a prelude, it presents a dark passage, a preamble to increase expectations before reaching an empty place. The artist, works as a reservoir to manage the frustrations of visitors who wander around the room stopping at the many cracks in the wall, switches, imperfections … until the quickest one discovers the cartouche. At the end, Enric, with a few beers and a publication in hand, will try to ensure that this fuss does not end badly and, like a magician of deception, he will once again win the sympathy of the visitors who have had to drive more than an hour and a half to reach 56x45x25.
The publication, the material device, functions independently of the exhibition. It complements the work but it is not essential. Neither the publication nor the exhibition reveal all the mystery, which is only complete after Enric’s intervention. The publication travels, transfers a story in which there are no tools with which to compare anything, displaces the preamble of a story that remains unfinished, and not only because the exhibition lasts twenty-five years (April 21, 2017 – April 21, 2042).
Twenty-five years is also the age of the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA). To understand this we have to move to Establecer un principio de procedencia, a project which Enric created in the context of Generaciones 2016, at the Casa Encendida, and where the exhibition space becomes a theater, a scenography in which Enric meticulously reproduces the conditions of an archive, taking as his model the Archive of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA). The use of conservation materials for storage, the delimitation of a space with controlled temperature and humidity, the handling of documents with gloves, the cataloging criteria, the classification table, digitization … all protocols are replicated in an attempt to convert a collection into an archive, providing a principle of origin conditio sine qua non -for the definition of an archive, which refers to the integrity of the original organization generated by its producer-. When, in one more twist, in Cualquier objeto excepto un Papel, in that same year, Enric disposes of the papers, there will continue to be a remnant, which is all the continents that housed the Farrés archive which will be sent to Los Angeles and after going through numerous customs inspections, will become a deposit at LACA, as a gesture of what it was, which is what makes it what it is now while also disabling it as such. An empty space which covers a large space in an archive in Los Angeles and which you can still visit, if you stop by sometimes during the next twenty-five years.