MUSAC - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León / Avenida de los Reyes Leoneses, 24
ES-24008 Leon

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MUSAC’s independent project space, the Laboratorio 987, presents on 25 June the third show of the Amikejo exhibition series, by occasional collaborative pair Uqbar Foundation [Mariana Castillo Deball (1975, Mexico City, Mexico) & Irene Kopelman (1976, Cordoba, Argentina)]. Amikejo: Uqbar Foundation explores the notion of “collaborative process”, of working together understood as a chemical reaction between two elements, or two parallel universes that branch and meet at certain stages. These reflections are expressed metaphorically in the show through the principal of chirality or ‘handedness’, a property of an object that is not superimposable on its mirror image (being Human hands perhaps the most recognizable example of chirality). Quoting the artists, “[we will] take this phenomenon as a metaphor of two organisms working together, reflecting on each other’s mechanisms, mirroring each other; and at the same time being completely different and alien to each other”.

Amikejo is a series of four exhibitions at the Laboratorio 987 of MUSAC curated by Latitudes (Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa) and structured around relational and spatial twinning. The four artist pairs part of the Amikejo exhibition series are Pennacchio Argentato (29/01/2011- 03/04/2011), Iratxe jaio & Klass van Gorkum (09/04/2011 – 12/06/2011), Uqbar Foundation [Mariana Castillo Deball & Irene Kopelman] (25/06/2011 – 11/09/2011), and Fermín Jiménez Landa and Lee Welch (24/09/2011 – 15/01/2012).

Uqbar Foundation is an occasional collaboration between artists Mariana Castillo Deball (born 1975, Mexico City, Mexico) & Irene Kopelman (born 1976, Córdoba, Argentina) initiated in 2006. Its practice has led to sculptural installations, seminars and publications, and frequently involves the cooperation of individuals outside the artistic field, including scientists and writers. Uqbar’s projects are often sparked by an oblique investigation into a particular repository of knowledge, and following Jorge Luis Borges (whose fictional place Uqbar lends its name to the foundation) they approach a world through an abundance of possible of meanings and possible histories. Fuga di Un Piano (2009) for Manifesta 7, Rovereto, Italy, for example, took the International Center for the study of Futurism as its point of departure, by presenting in part a future archive of some imagined sculptural creations of a speculative creative automaton.

For Amikejo, Uqbar Foundation will explore the idea of working together as a subject in itself. The “interchanges, mutations, transmutations, metamorphosis and contaminations that working together entails ... the hybrids we create together, not belonging to one or the other but rather creating an in between zone”, as the artists have described. The collaborative process could be understood as a chemical reaction between two elements, or two parallel universes that branch and meet at certain stages.

The exhibition at Laboratorio 987 will be based on the principal of chirality or ‘handedness’. Chirality is a property of an object that is not superimposable on its mirror image. Human hands are perhaps the most recognizable example of chirality: the left hand is a non- superimposable mirror image of the right hand; no matter how the two hands are oriented, it is impossible for the forms of both hands to coincide. Cases of chirality can be found in many different organisms in nature, such as in the twisted petals of certain orchids, shells and fish scales. It can be observed at a molecular and microbial level, in the formation of left-handed or right-handed crystals, and even in rare cases in humans who are born with the heart on the right side of the body. Chirally opposite objects have the exactly same shape, and yet are also completely different. Uqbar Foundation will “take this phenomenon as a metaphor of two organisms working together, reflecting on each other’s mechanisms, mirroring each other; and at the same time being completely different and alien to each other. The exhibition will be composed of a pair of spiral structures, similar to staircases, which will serve as a hosts for other artifacts and objects. Uqbar will create a psychedelic chiral ecosystem, featuring hanging papier-mâché epiphyte sculptures and enlarged stone microfossils, as well as “Banyan tree drawings, a video of a chemical reaction, fables among non-humans and drawings of hybrid creatures”.

Uqbar Foundation projects include Principle of Hope, Manifesta 7, Rovereto, Italy; Zeno Reminder, Cabinet Magazine Space / Performa 09, New York (2009); Principle of Hope, Manifesta 7, Rovereto, Italia (2008); Transacciones Filosóficas, Museo Astronómico de Córdoba, Argentina (2007); Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge, 10th International Istanbul Biennial (2007); A for Alibi, Utrecht University Museum, Utrecht & De Appel, Amsterdam (2006–8).

On Amikejo Amikejo is a series of four exhibitions at the Laboratorio 987 of MUSAC that is structured around relational and spatial twinning. This is most evident in the fact that the artists of each installment are formed by two collaborating individuals, as is Latitudes, the curatorial office formed by Max Andrews & Mariana Cánepa Luna invited to conceive the season. These artistic pairings involve various modes of binomial friendships – couples in life, dedicated duos, intermittent work partners, as well as new allies. The artist partnerships involve an overall 50–50 split of male and female practitioners, as well as Spanish-speaking and foreign origins.

The series encompasses a further register of doubling prompted by a critical reflection on the conditions and expectations of a ‘project space’ such as Laboratorio 987 within today’s contemporary art museum. Such a site is typically annexed from a hosting institution, independent yet attached, with the understanding that different, more ad-hoc and agile laws apply. Nonconformist and at the same time authorized, and following spatial theories such as Michel Foucault’s ‘heterotopia’, a project space is a typology that is neither here nor there. Shadowing Robert Smithson’s concept of the ‘non-site’ (an indoor artwork physically and mentally paired with an outdoor site), the Laboratorio 987 space has been assigned a relation with a specific remote location for the 2011 season: Amikejo.

Amikejo was an anomalous in-between state which never entirely existed, and was founded on a desire to foster more effective international communication through the synthetic language Esperanto. Following treaties of the early 19th Century, a tiny 3? km2 wedge of land between the Netherlands, Belgium and Prussia was established as a neutral area because of an important zinc mine. In 1908 the 2,500 identity-less citizens of Neutral Moresnet, as it was known, declared it to be the world’s first Esperanto state: Amikejo (‘place of great friendship’ in Esperanto). A national anthem was constituted and stamps and a flag were designed. Yet in the wake of the first World War, Germany relinquished its claim to the disputed territory, and Amikejo-Moresnet disappeared from the map as it became part of Belgium, although border markers still exist to this day.

This episode-place, and ultimately, failure, was a unique synthesis of cartography, language, nationhood, politics, economics and subjectivity, and is entreated as a twin site to Laboratorio 987 by lending its name and conceptual borders to the exhibition series. This association not only implicates the spatial functions of the ‘neutral’ spaces of art – how they endorse otherwise unremarkable things with a ‘special’ status – yet also establishes a similitude with the desire to institute a shared and effective means of communication, between participants and with the world.

On Latitudes Latitudes is an independent Barcelona-based [41º 23’N, 2º 11’E] curatorial office initiated in April 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna. Latitudes collaborates with artists and institutions in the conception, organisation and production of exhibitions, public commissions, conferences, editorial and research initiatives across local, pan-European and international situations. Latitudes is on the editorial board of Archive Books, Turin/Berlin, is a curatorial advisor for APT Intelligence, collaborates with Vena (por la), is part of Plataforma Curatorial as well as being on Hangar's Programming Committee 2010– 12. Latitudes

Among Latitudes’ recent projects are the edition of the publication ‘LAND, ART: A Cultural Ecology Handbook’ (2006); the co-curatorship of the group show ‘Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities’, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino (2008); the curatorship of an exhibition project in four parts with Lawrence Weiner, ‘THE CREST OF A WAVE’, Fundació Suñol, Barcelona (2008). They have taken part in the two editions of ‘NO SOUL FOR SALE. A Festival of Independents’ in X Initiative, New York (2009) and in Tate Modern, London (2010), as well as the development of ‘Portscapes’, an accummulative series of newly commissioned projects in and around the extension of the Port of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, (2009), that culminated in an exhibition at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rótterdam (2010). Recently, Latitudes participated as associated organization in the exhibition ‘The Last Newspaper’, at New Museum, NewYork (2010–11). Additional information:

Laboratorio 987, MUSAC’s project space

Laboratorio 987, MUSAC’s project space, is an annexed venue that develops its own independent programme. The first artist to show in here was Silvia Prada (Ponferrada, 1969) with her site-specific project Hot or Not, between April and May 2005. Next came a video project by Fikret Atay (Batman, Turkey, 1976) under the title Sonidos Lejanos / Distant Sounds. In September and October 2005 Abigail Lazkoz (Bilbao, 1972) developed her project Esconde la mano (Hide your hand). Ryan McGinley (New Jersey, USA, 1978), held a photo exhibition Between us / Entre nosotros, in November and December 2005 while Wilfredo Prieto (Santi Spíritus, Cuba, 1977) projected his installation Mucho ruido y pocas nueces II (Much ado about Nothing II) between December 2005 and March 2006. Monika Sosnoswka (Ryki, Poland, 1972) took over in March 2006 with her installation Untitled. Philipp Fröhlich (Schweinfurt, Germany, 1975) authored a painting exhibition Exvoto. Where is Nikki Black? from September to November 2006. Pauline Fondevila (Le Havre, France, 1972) showed her installation November Song between November 2006 and January 2007. Clare E. Rojas (Ohio, USA, 1976) exhibited Sympathetic Magic from January to March 2007. Later, Marc Vives (Barcelona, 1978) + David Bestué (Barcelona, 1980) carried out their Imágenes del Fin del Mundo (Images from the End of the World) from March to May 2007. In May 2007 Joao Maria Gusmao (Lisbon, 1979) + Pedro Paiva (Lisbon, 1977) carried out a site-specific project. In July 2007, Matías Duville (Buenos Aires, 1974) set up his picture installation Cover, which remained on show until September 2007. Ivan Grubanov (Serbia, 1976) and Ángel de la Rubia (Oviedo, 1979) opened the new season in March 2008 with Después de todo / Afterall. In May 2008 US artist Dan Attoe (Bremerton, Washington, 1975) took over with American Dreams. Nicolás Paris (Bogotá, Colombia, 1977) and Ignacio Uriarte (Krefeld, Germany, 1973) held Tan sencillo como una línea o un círculo / As simple as a Line or a Circle from July to September 2008. By the title of Gallo rojo, gallo negro / Red Cock, Black Cock, Antonio Ballester held a compelling exhibition of drawings from 27 September to 16 November 2008 and Regina de Miguel showed her models between 21 November 2008 and 11 January 2009 under the title El aire aún no respirado / The air not yet breathed. Between January and April 2009, Laboratorio 987 hosted Deriva, by Colombian artist Mateo López (Bogotá, 1978). The most recent project displayed was Un NO por respuesta (NO for an answer), including works by Javier Arce, Menchina Ayuso, Josechu Dávila, Joan Morey, Tere Recarens, Antonio de la Rosa, Riiko Sakkinen, Miguel Ángel Tornero, Un Mundo Feliz and a performance by Aitor Saraiba. July 2009 saw the opening of the first solo exhibition in Spain by French artist Cyprien Gaillard (Paris, 1980). In October 2009 Danish artist group A Kassen opened a site specific project under the title Window to the World. During the first semester of 2010 the following proyects were showed:Pre-Bellevue, by Greek artist Yorgos Sapountzis; and the group show Bringing Up Knowledge (Alexander Apóstol, Simon Fujiwara, Fran Meana, Moris, Warren Neidich, Jenny Perlin, Diego del Pozo, Pedro G. Romero, Maria Ruido, Danh Vo). Last but but not least, as part of the project MODEL KITS, all of MUSAC’s exhibition program was devoted to Latin America during 2010. In relation to this, the following shows were programmed: Para Ser Construidos (Marcelo Cidade, Marcius Galán, André Komatsu, Nicolás Robbio, Carla Zaccagnini) and CGEM: Notes about Emancipation (Isabel Carvalho, Carolina Caycedo, Carla Fernández, Adriana Lara y Judi Werthein).

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Uqbar Foundation
Kuratoren: Latitudes  (Max Andrews & Mariana Canepa Luna)

Uqbar Foundation  (Mariana Castillo Deball & Irene Kopelman)