Tag Archives: Spain


13 Mar



Dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. All real, all serious, all horribly written. I apologise in advance for any foreign or jargon words that I accidentally pronounced correctly. This time, an artist expresses his utter disdain for and rejection of the fetishised, unique art object and the mystique of the all-powerful curator by working with a curator to create and display unique, fetishised art objects at a gallery in Barcelona. Under some of the pretentious self-importance there’s actually quite a lot I agree with in the text that follows. However, I rarely go to the trouble of writing lengthy screeds against certain practices or attitudes only to immediately turn around and take part in them with gay abandon. At least not knowingly.

You can play along with your Artbollocks Bingo card, and you can watch more Artbollocks Theatre here on the blog or on my Vimeo channel.

“Beneath the dark and pestilent surface of the current state of affairs sunken in corruption and despair, frivolousness and aesthetic vanity, there is an emergent narcotic period in which almost no one bothers to assess and understand the process behind a work of art.”

Why should they? If an artist’s process is the most interesting thing about their art, then their art is probably not very interesting and neither are they, as artists or as human beings.

“The frivolousness is not Manzoni and his Artist’s Shit (which it turns out was not even artist’s shit) but crosses the world in a network of interests, favoritism and opportunism that inform debates and openings. 

Gillo Dorfles predicted that the critic would end up substituting for the artist. Perhaps he only erred in the nomenclature, for the word that describes him has gradually been replaced by others, such as curator or cultural administrator. Emmanuel Lévinas, who is more self-effacing, tells us that not only the name, but also the figure, as seen in the previous century, has now disappeared.”

Unless the people to whom you refer genuinely are cultural touchstones that any educated person in the world could be expected to know, either (briefly) explain who they are, or at least provide a proper reference for the source of your quote or paraphrase. Otherwise you’re just name dropping.

Continue reading


21 Mar

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism every week, except when I don’t do them every week. This week we erase the lasting and iniquitous effects of colonialism by vandalising high school textbooks. Who knew it was so easy? Somebody should have told Gandhi. Montezuma? The fool should have just done some cut ups with the Conquistadors’ books and everything would have been OK.

Bonus: play Artbollocks Bingo with me!

The ongoing exhibition and production project titled Margin of Error, now opening as a show at Tasneem Gallery in Barcelona, constitutes Magnetic Declination’s first public intervention, and premieres the first instalment of the group’s planned cinematic work, which will include further releases in the future.

Magnetic Declination is a research and production group formed by theorists, curators, and visual artists. DM’s work is based on post- and de-colonial approaches that seek to dismantle the imagery and the discourses underpinning Spain’s mainstream historical narratives. In parallel, DM (note: their own abbreviation of Declination Magnetic, which is lucky because I’d have been really bored and annoyed having to say it repeatedly) also explores hybrid methodologies arising from the intersection of different artistic and research strategies in the field of practice and knowledge production.

Intervention– DING! Postcolonial– DING! Decolonial– DING! Discourses– DING! Narrative– DING! Hybrid– DING! Methodologies– DING! Intersection– DING! Research– DING! Strategies– DING! Knowledge production– DING!

No plan can involve further releases in the past because this is a logical, semantic and chronological impossibility unless you’re a time traveller. Which they aren’t. The third singular present tense of the modal verb “will” already indicates something to come. Therefore the whole sentence is redundant from the final comma onwards (“…which will…”), because we’ve already been told it’s the first instalment of planned work. 50% of the entire first sentence-paragraph is filler.

DM’s main line of work at the moment comprises a series of short audio-visual productions where different fictional, non-fictional, and essay-like styles and formats are mobilised in a re-examination of Spain’s (and Europe’s) colonial background as it unfolds historically into the present, especially in the light of the current global crisis.

Margin of Error is a critical re-assessment of past and present-day coloniality focusing on the dominant narrative construction of historical events such as the ‘Discovery’ and the Conquest of America, as they are reflected in text-books used in schools in Spain. Besides deconstructing the assemblage of graphic discourses, visual materials and textual constructs found in official school books, the project also surveys alternative uses of the same educational resources, as new possibilities arise through an exploration of group dynamics involving secondary school teachers and students.

“Group dynamics involving secondary school teachers and students”? First time I’ve ever heard it called that. Continue reading

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