press release

Martha Rosler. If you lived here
"Si tú vivieras aquí"
26.07.2019 - 13.10.2019

Opening: 25 July 2019

The exhibition is inspired by the translation of Martha Rosler’s book, If You Lived Here… written in 1989, which examines the processes of gentrification and social impoverishment during the Reagan administration (1981-1989). The work looks at the capitalist model and the way it includes art at a historic time of great change in many parts of the world; the end of the Cold War and the dictatorship in Chile, for instance. This turns into a genealogical reflection on the macrotheme of identity in the American context, a process of questioning which is still highly relevant today.

The ironic allusion to possible dwelling spaces is taken from an advertising campaign for a real estate company targeting the middle class, and in fact denounces the growing number of homeless in North America at the time. It shows how museums and artistic institutions have played a vital role in the process of gentrification, which involves raising house prices in zones formerly inhabited by more vulnerable groups which are now undergoing different processes of transformation.

The name of the exhibition, deliberately translated into Spanish, opens up the concept to input from the Latin American context, host to other narratives which symbolically refer to the issue of housing as a political and physical space defined by time. In Chile, this refers specifically to current human displacement and the creation of a national identity in the aftermath of the dictatorship.

The dynamics of migratory movements today adopt different characteristics in local context and raise a question about the final meaning of identity in terms of gender, race and nationality. If you lived here… thus implies movement, transit from one place to another, from one body to another, the hypothesis of transformation and movement which does not always materialize. To transit, is after all the etymological passage from one point to another without stopping, mirroring the potential of existence.

The invitation to Martha Rosler, an artist of such stature and a well-known activist in the North American context, is born of two reasons: firstly, the need for a genealogical view of political and social issues relating to major change at a time of great uncertainty tinted with the hue of conservative protectionism, provided by a broad selection of her works on gender, conflict and displacement. Secondly, there is a mutual desire to create a dialogue between local artists from different regions and generations.