press release

Esperando unha chamada - Awaiting a Call - gathers a series of works, in which the central theme is the wait for something to happen. The announcement of a change, of an imminent action, but also the tension of a previously interrupted, detained, action. Many artists recreate these situations, approaching cinematographic aesthetics, borrowing from the universe of masters like Hitchcock, Orson Welles or John Huston; others focus on analysing the tension and its proximity to intensity, the moment in which the action is replaced by perception. Claude Chabrol's films, Antonioni's Blow up, Godard's universe and his continuous dates with painting, are part of the intellectual, sentimental and therefore emotional training of many creators.

The way in which Morandi paints the void between the objects in order to represent them as light presences, both physical and mental, almost immaterial, is not far from William de Kooning's or Bruce Nauman's thoughts when they concede that in order to represent a chair the most important fact is to measure the internal distance between its legs. After seeing, living with objects, having them by our side day after day, we believe that we know their internal order. With the same certainty with which Captain Ahab proclaimed that he was not obsessed by Moby Dick but by its whiteness: The whale's whiteness.

There are few metaphors for contemporary creation as literal as those offered by Edgar Allan Poe in his tales (alongside Hitchcock, whose work is, by the way, a constant invitation to reinterpret 20th century art from his viewpoint). If The Oval Portrait seduces us as the synthesis of the Post-Romantic gaze, A Descent into the Maelstrom presents another way of looking at things, based on a certain, perplexed and thankful, curiosity, which leads us to observation as a source of knowledge: two seamen know that at a given time they must avoid an area where the sea opens up and a whirlpool swallows and destroys everything around. One morning, however, they are surprised by the phenomenon in an unexpected place, but while one tries to save his soul by escaping from the hole and falls into the void, the other one accepts the inevitability of this imminent death and thanks God for the vision he offers, with the sea opening up before his eyes. From his curiosity, salvation arises, since he realises than certain objects spin around the whirlpool, while others disappear inside it: he just has to hold tight to one of the former in order to become a privileged witness of something that nobody had been able to tell up to that moment? New metaphors: measuring the void, perceiving the weight of a material.

The reading of A Descent into the Maelstrom reminds us of the words some artists pronounced: "The ungrateful role of the creator consists of offering the world something nobody will ever thinks of demanding, but, once received, turns out to be indispensable" (André Lhote); "Plastic creation is the only way I know of understanding that which suddenly intrigues me, like finding a sentence which goes Once upon a time there was a dog who had a seaman" (Juan Muñoz)? Art as curiosity, observation, discovery: a way providing a fantasy with an image- with reality. Subtle play on references: the sentence to which Juan Muñoz refers is the beginning of a beautiful prose poem written by Herberto Helder, almost hidden in the second edition of Os passos em volta (The Surrounding Steps).

Years ago, preparing an exhibition in which Jürgen Partenheimer was involved, I came across his maelstroms, an intriguing series of drawings, both dense and linear. I made a first selection of maelstroms searching in my library and I guess that almost any curious artist or reader has been attracted by Poe's text. Some make maelstroms all their lives, even if only part of their work is titled as such, like Yamandú Canosa. I even revised my aesthetic weaknesses with regard to metaphor, finding that sense in the work of artists on whom I was working at that time: the notes in Diego Lara's agenda, the impossible mondrians by Sánchez Calderón, the intriguing series by Sophie Calle.

The history of the Maelstrom is certainly cinematographic, easily related to Bill Viola, Gary Hill, Stan Douglas or Douglas Gordon, but a work by Christian Marclay served as an axis for a possible exhibition. It is titled Telephones and was completed in 1995. A telephone rings in the hall and after some seconds a TV nearby turns on; we can see different actors picking up the phone and answering. There is no continuous sequence or closed story, only the intriguing beginning of the action, which is repeated creating the feeling of an extremely plastic music. The key does not lie in the phone call but in the wait for it, and hence the title of the exhibition. After Telephones, there were a series of photographs by John Divola on the breaks during film shootings, the fragmented Mexican social portraits by Jonathan Hernández, the multiple interrupted tales in Up in the Sky by Tracey Moffatt, the Russian films with double ending on which Tacita Dean worked, the circular narrative by Xoán Anleo, the look of Joyce or Cioran detained by Ana Teresa Ortega, the interrumpted letter by Cabrita Reis, the pictures documenting the actions by Beuys, the dialogue broken by Jonathan Monk in the series Separated, the harsh portraits made by Sergei Bratkov to young lolitas waiting for a casting, Aernout Mik's video installations, the intense movement in dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y by Johan Grimonprez or Impact 21.05.99, 11:02 by Marine Hugonnier, Patricia Hoeppe's subtle tone, the way in which feelings and humour are interwoven at a frantic telephonic pace in that series which Lorna Simpson actually calls Call Waiting? Images of an approach, of an approximation, of a way of looking at things.

Awaiting a Call recreates situations of crossover dialogue: between the characters involved in the action, between reality and fiction; it shows stories in which logic depends, to a great extent, on the spectator's complicity. Open projects that allow us to witness how the solidity of a tale transforms impossibility into certainty. (press releases)

only in german

Awaiting a Call - Esperando unha chamada

mit Arbeiten der KünstlerInnen:
John Divola, Jonathan Hernández, Tracey Moffatt, Tacita Dean, Xoán Anleo, Ana Teresa Ortega, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Joseph Beuys, Jonathan Monk, Sergej Bratkow, Aernout Mik, Johan Grimonprez, Marine Hugonnier, Patricia Hoeppe, Lorna Simpson

Kurator: Miguel Fernández - Cid, CGAC Director