Dias & Riedweg - Possiblement parlem del mateix

Kurator: Roland Groenenboom in Zusammanarbeit mit Catherine David
Produktion: Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona

This exhibition is the first extensive European exhibition of the artist duo Dias & Riedweg, formed by Maurício Dias (Rio de Janeiro, 1964) and Walter Riedweg (Lucerne, 1955). Consisting of six video installations from 1994-2003 and a projection room with single channel projections of several of their videos, the exhibition offers a vast panorama of the poetic and polemic production of the artists. The work of Dias & Riedweg has been shown in important international exhibitions, among which the Biennales of Sao Paolo and Venice and with this exhibition it will be first shown in Spain.

Dias & Riedweg propose an activity that rethinks the connection between ethics and aesthetics through precise interventions in certain individual and collective situations. This proposal and belief calls to mind the interest of Brazilian artists Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark to expand aesthetic concerns into life's experience. The tool that Dias & Riedweg utilise is an interactive, performance-like process of specific exchanges within a particular group from society. The process focuses on perception, to which the participants' identity and specific worldview are central, while the results of such meetings – either of an individual-psychological or a collective-social order – crystallise in poetic video installations.

The work of Dias & Riedweg offers us encounters with the Other. With their interventions the artists do not want to change the life of the groups and individuals they work with but they are to be understood as meetings with the Other in which a genuine interest in and respect for the life of the Other is a central concern. The resulting video installations offer an alternative reading of our world and society, whose images mostly arrive to us heavily mediated. Their work invites us to constantly rethink our state of being, which gains even more importance in the light of rapidly diminishing local culture, of growing xenophobia and fear of marginality, against a background of a general upcoming of rightwing oriented governments promoting a culture of fear.

The exhibition reads as a journey through the complex world of alterity. It takes us from Venice, where the inhabitants of this city tell us how their fictitious deaths occurred (Tutti Venetiani, 1999) to the favela's of Rio de Janeiro, where the artists worked with street kids (Devotionalia, 1994-2003). From South Africa, where we join the local police on their nightly round through the streets of Johannesburg (Night Shift, 2001), we travel to Egypt where taxi drivers developed a language for their car horns (This is not Egypt, 1999). Beautiful Is Also That Which Is Unseen (2002) deals with blindness as another type of alterity, not bound to geography or social standards, while God's Lips (2002) is a hallucinatory collage about the power of speech and the mouth as a vehicle for speech. For their exhibition in Barcelona, Dias & Riedweg were invited by the MACBA to realise the new work Voracidad Máxima. The work focuses on male sexual workers that are engaged in gay prostitution. Dias & Riedweg interviewed them on subjects like immigration, identity and sexuality which form the central themes in this dual screen installation.